Shiny Shelf


Teachers

By Eddie Robson on 14 November 2003

Next week Andrew Lincoln returns to ‘Teachers’. When he left the big question was: Can the show survive without him? Now the question is more: Where is he going to fit in?

When the show was created, Lincoln was the only cast member that most people would remember from anything else and his character strongly resembled the one he was previously best known for: Egg from ‘This Life’. In fact, ‘Teachers’ would have functioned perfectly as a ‘This Life’ spin-off if his character, Simon, had been called Egg: Simon’s subject is even the same one that Egg studied at university.

Unfortunately, the other cast members and characters were so good that they came to overshadow the rather passive Simon in a way that ‘This Life’ never allowed. Lincoln departed shortly before the end of last season to be replaced by James Lance, another actor familiar from other shows – but, unlike Lincoln, he has never found a defining role. In fact his casual, almost mocking style of acting has led some to question whether he’s just trying to mask his deficiencies.

Not so. Along with the show’s writers Lance has developed the character of Matt quietly and subtly: although given little to do in his early episodes, he has become increasingly central. He’s usually several steps ahead of the others and in recent episodes has started to manipulate them for his own amusement. It’s a shame that Susan is no longer a part of the series because he would have made an excellent foil for her, but the writers are doing the right thing by moving him closer to Lindsey.

Lance’s self-assured manner works perfectly with the character. It’s to his credit that Matt remains likeable despite his unforgivable philandering, and this is being effectively developed into a character flaw which may prove his downfall.

Despite haemorrhaging cast members between seasons, ‘Teachers’ has found its balance again very quickly and it remains to be seen whether that balance can withstand the reintegration of Simon into the show – a character whom they were clearly uncertain of what to do with for much of the pervious series. Well, if nothing else it should mean that we finally get told what happened to Susan, Jenny and JP.

Buy ‘Teachers’ series one and series two from Blackstar. You can also buy the soundtrack album from Amazon.co.uk, or alternatively just buy ‘Up The Bracket’ by The Libertines since most of the tracks will have been used by the end of the series.


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By Eddie Robson




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