Bad Education’s Jack Whitehall on Harry Enfield, cheating in exams and meeting the Chuckle Brothers

"I had a text the other day from David Walliams. He said he’d like to come on Backchat with Dale Winton. Winton, Walliams and Whitehall"

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Jack Whitehall’s secondary school-set sitcom Bad Education is back on BBC3 tonight for its third – and potentially final – series. We sat down with the 26-year-old comedy star before the show returns to our telly screens to find out where he stands on… 

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Bad Education series three: 

We’ve got everything from sports day to a teachers strike – and an exam that Alfie has to sit with the kids because he missed out on getting one of his GCSEs. Alfie quits and goes to work at Homebase. Then he comes back. Lots of fun things occur.

His favourite moments from the new series: 

Alfie had to sit the exam with the kids. It’s a 15-minute thing where I’m in the exam with them, Roger Allam plays the examiner and it’s me versus him. I’m trying to cheat and it’s all silent because it’s an exam. That one was really fun.

In episode one, Alfie tries to control his class by threatening to write down names of characters who die in the forthcoming series of Game of Thrones, because he’s read the book. That’s something I’d seen in an article – I thought it would be a nice thing to throw in. 

What he was like at school: 

I think maybe elements of lots of the kids. A bit of Mitchell, a bit of wise ass. Maybe a dash of Stephen’s flamboyance. I didn’t have an Emo stage. I think I wore guyliner once maybe and it sort of hurt to put it on so I didn’t do it again. 

Alfie and Miss Gulliver’s happy ending: 

They end in quite a good place. We thought it would be fun this series to start in a really nice place – a strong starting point – and then watch it just deteriorate over the course of the series. That’s been fun to plot. 

Acting opposite Harry Enfield:

He’s an absolute joy to work with. He’s one of my heroes so it’s so amazing to be able to do stuff with him. He sort of spends most of the time ridiculing me in front of the crew but he’s fun. There are elements of my dad thrown into Martin as a character – that inability to self-censor and comprehend that telling stories of a certain nature might embarrass or upset your child…

Working with his dad, Michael Whitehall:

He always complains about the wine in the green room when we film Backchat. That’s his big pet hate, that the wine is always of a really poor standard. He brings his own wine now. And sort of has big arguments with producers and me about the wine. He was like, ‘Right, there’s a problem. Can you come to my dressing room?” and we all go to his dressing room thinking, ‘Oh s***, it’s probably something in the script or one of the guests.” No. Always the wine. 

And with his mum Hilary: 

She’s in Bad Education. She has a little cameo in episode six. It’s always nice to work with her… although, to be fair, that episode I have taken some Viagra by accident. I have an erection at sports day and I’m doing the assault course as part of the teachers vs parents race and she plays one of the parents. It was a bit weird, spending the day with your mum and, erm, having an erection. It was an oversight really. 

Being star struck: 

I met Paul Chuckle of the Chuckle Brothers at the Royal Variety Show and I absolutely lost my s**t. I was so excited. That was probably the most starstuck and most nervous I’ve been to meet anyone. 

His dream guest list for Backchat: 

I really want to get David Starkey because he looks like my dad and sounds like my dad and they both like history. But I suspect when we film it there will be people that might want some slightly sexier names. The Chuckle Brothers and David Starkey. That is a really good idea. Though someone said they did a show with the Chuckle Brothers and the initial joy of having them very quickly dissipates and it all becomes a little bit awkward. 

I like the idea of eclectic mixes of people – that’s when the show works best. I had a text the other day from David Walliams. He said he’d like to come on with Dale Winton. Winton, Walliams and Whitehall. 

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Bad Education returns tonight at 10:00pm on BBC3