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David Walliams and Catherine Tate in 'Big School'
David Walliams and Catherine Tate in 'Big School'
David Walliams and Catherine Tate in ‘Big School’

BBC One are gearing up for their latest major comedy launch this week, as school-based sitcom Big School makes its debut on Friday night. The show marks the return of Doctor Who‘s Catherine Tate to British comedy after the former sketch show titan spent the last few years guesting in the U.S. version of The Office, alongside David Walliams (Little Britain) in what is also his first lead sitcom role.

Walliams, who also co-wrote the series, told the Press Association this week that he enjoyed playing a subtler character than in his previous sketch comedy partnership with Matt Lucas. “This character has got to be a lot more real because you’re going to spend a lot more time with him. I hope that people find it funny but enjoy that it’s a slightly subtler thing from me.”

Named after British children’s slang for high school, the show sees Walliams’ chemistry teacher Mr. Church enamored with the newest addition to the teaching staff, Miss Postern (Tate) — a French teacher who has never actually been to France. “I wanted to do something a bit like The Remains Of The Day,” said Walliams. “The story of these two servants who were in love with each other but can’t quite express it.”

The series also boasts an impressive supporting cast, including Philip Glenister (Life on Mars), Joanna Scanlan (The Thick of It) and Daniel Rigby (Eric and Ernie). Here’s the launch trailer:

Big School premieres Friday August 16 on BBC One.

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By Seb Patrick