Following the success of Educating Yorkshire and its successors, Channel 4 is making a school drama, RadioTimes.com can reveal.
Written by Ayub Khan Din, the writer of the hit semi-autobiographical film East is East, ABC (working title) will be set in a multicultural school in Lancashire and will be the first Channel 4 original drama to air midweek at 8pm since the demise of the soap Brookside 12 years ago.
Promising to offer a “funny and revealing insight into the daily drama of the teachers, teenagers and families whose lives and cultures collide in the large Northern comprehensive”, it has not yet been cast but the channel has revealed that the central character is a new head teacher.
“With the wide ethnic mix of the community reflected in the corridors and classrooms, education isn’t always the first thing on the agenda for the staff and pupils of The Arnold Braithwaite College,” said the channel in a statement given exclusively to RadioTimes.com. “But if anyone can appreciate the nuances and pressures of educating a diverse flock, it’s new headteacher Emma Hussein. “
Speaking at a presentation to advertisers, Jay Hunt, Channel 4’s chief creative officer was open about the inspiration C4 has drawn from the Educating series: Educating Essex, Educating Yorkshire and most recently Educating the East End.
She said: “Our Educating franchise has captured the warmth, humour and challenges that exist every day in schools up and down the country and has produced some of the most compelling television of the year. Ayub has created a drama which has all of these in abundance, with an array of characters audiences will love spending time with.”
Ayub Khan Din added: “It’s been an exhilarating assignment to create a drama set in an urban Lancashire school where staff and pupils negotiate the cultural melting pot that is contemporary Britain. It has given me the opportunity to tell stories with heart and humour about the teenagers, their teachers and their families which are both specific to our times yet universal in their appeal.”
Another bonus for the series is the imminent demise of BBC1 school drama Waterloo Road and the new series will hope to attract fans of that show, according to C4 sources.
Production is due to start in 2015, with the number of hour-long episodes to be confirmed at a later date.