CBBC’s new Demon Headmaster series has brought the evil antics of its title villain bang up to date, with a plot that sees the Headmaster (played by Nicholas Gleaves) assume control of an Academy school.
But contrary to what you may have assumed, the 2019 show is not a reboot or remake of the hit ’90s series – in fact, it’s a continuation, with original Headmaster actor Terrence Hardiman set to make an appearance in the final episode of the first series (as exclusively revealed by RadioTimes.com).
“That was something I really, really wanted from the beginning, and fortunately I didn’t meet any resistance to that,” the new show’s head writer Emma Reeves told us. “Everyone was keen to have Terrence and we were just delighted when he said yes.”
How, though, can there be two Headmasters? Is Gleaves’ version of the character supposed to be the same character as Hardiman’s Headmaster?
The full truth will be revealed as The Demon Headmaster continues on CBBC, but Reeves did provide us with some rather large hints…
“I theorise that the Headmaster is one entity – he’s the same person. We know what he got up to in the ’90s, but we don’t know how long he might’ve been trying to pull similar schemes before that… quite possibly for hundreds of years!
Terrence Hardiman as the original Demon Headmaster BBC
“We also know that he’s got incredibly technological abilities, he’s able to create a cloning machine, we saw in the original series how he built himself a new body – in that case it was identical to the original, but in this case, it obviously looks like Nicholas Gleaves!
“He’s got incredible powers in genetics and biology, as well as great computer abilities. He’s obviously an engineer – he built his tiny helicopter! (laughs) He’s got all these powers, so he is the same being… and he always comes back for more!”
But despite apparently being the same being, the two Headmasters will somehow cross paths in the new show, as actor Gleaves told us…
“It’s all one story,” Gleaves said. “I liken it to something like Doctor Who.
“You’ll understand once Terrence comes back how the nature of the Demon Headmaster can move around. The stories that Terrence’s Demon started… you will see how they are actually continuing now with this new generation of children.
“I’ve come into the story absolutely as my own Demon Headmaster but there is a myriad of exciting complications and possibilities that Terrence introduces when he arrives in episode 10. It’s not easy, this meeting between these two Headmasters!”
With a link between the two versions of the Demon Headmaster established, fans might wonder if other characters from the ’90s series could also resurface. Could we eventually see Dinah and the rest of SPLAT return to join Lizzie Warren (Ellie Botterill) and her pals in their ongoing fight against the Headmaster?
“Oh, I think there’s absolutely no reason why we couldn’t see characters from the old show re-emerging,” Reeves confirmed. “I think it’s fascinating. Our group of young heroes are trying to learn from history so that they’re not doomed to repeat it, so I think there’s plenty of scope for the two worlds to collide.
“I’m just a geek, really, trying to find ways in which everything can work within the same continuum!”
New episodes of The Demon Headmaster premiere on the CBBC channel on Wednesdays at 5pm – the first five episodes are available to watch now on BBC iPlayer