Doctor Who and the history of Coal Hill School

BBC3's new Doctor Who spin-off series Class will be set in the school where Clara Oswald taught, but its history extends right back to the beginning of space and time...

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Doctor Who spin-off series Class is coming to BBC3. Focusing on the pupils of Coal Hill, where “incredible dangers are breaking through the walls of space and time”, it’s the latest chapter in the 50-year life of a seemingly ordinary London school that has become a fixed point at the heart of Doctor Who history…

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Back in 1963, in An Unearthly Child, Coal Hill School teachers Barbara Wright and Ian Chesterton were drawn into their first adventure in space and time after they followed pupil Susan to the scrapyard around the corner where they met her grumpy grandfather with his strange blue (well, grey) box…

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Twenty-five years later (but still in 1963) the Doctor was back at Coal Hill (in his seventh incarnation and with a new companion, Ace) to prevent a group of Daleks (including the formidable Special Weapons Dalek, pictured) from getting their plungers on powerful Time Lord artefact the Hand of Omega. 

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Skip forward another quarter of a century to 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor and the 11th Doctor’s companion Clara Oswald is a teacher at Coal Hill while, according to the sign at the school gates, I Chesterton is the Head of the Governors. Even Unearthly Child writer Anthony Coburn gets a nod…

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In series eight of Doctor Who, with Clara now teaching English in between her adventures in space and time, Coal Hill becomes a frequent fixture. A flashback to Clara’s first day at the school appears in opening episode Deep Breath and in episode two, Into the Dalek, viewers are introduced to maths teacher, former soldier and prospective love interest Danny Pink…

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But it’s episode six, The Caretaker, in which both Coal Hill and Danny really come into their own. The entire story is set there as the Doctor dons a work coat to take on the deadly Skovox Blitzer…

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…before Danny himself springs into action, quite literally, to show the Time Lord that he’s not the only one capable of looking after Clara…

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And now, to continue the legacy of Coal Hill School, it’s over to the Class of 2016…

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