The main cast of Bromwell High. From left to right: Latrina, Keisha and Natella.
|Directed by||Pete Bishop|
|Country of origin||
|No. of episodes||13|
|Running time||22 minutes approx.|
Teletoon Original Production|
Hat Trick Productions
Channel 4 (UK)|
BBC America (USA)
|Original release||1 February 2005 (Teletoon) and 19 August 2005 (Channel 4 - incomplete)|
Bromwell High is a British-Canadian adult animated series about a British high school in South London. It first aired on Teletoon in Canada and Channel 4 in the United Kingdom (incomplete run). It is a co-production between Hat Trick Productions in the UK and Decode Entertainment (now DHX Media) in Canada. It was originally to be entitled Streatham Hill, but was renamed Bromwell High in January 2005. Streatham Hill is a real London suburb, while Bromwell is fictional.
Subsequent international purchases have seen the show screened in the United States on BBC America, on The Box in the Netherlands, dubbed to Spanish and Portuguese on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim in Latin America, on the ABC in Australia, on TVNZ's TV2 in New Zealand, and also dubbed in French for the Canadian Télétoon network.
It stars three trouble-making girls, Keisha, Latrina, and Natella as they wreak havoc on their impoverished school and its teachers.
The show was designed by David Whittle, who is also responsible for illustrating the popjustice icons series of books.
The show represents a caricatured view of contemporary British society. For example, the majority of students at Bromwell High School are immigrant children from the Caribbean and Asia, and some of the male teachers are aging 'chavs'. Many of the characters on the show speak a very poor form of English, including the headmaster, Iqbal. Most of the teachers have an affinity for biscuits.
Because the show was intended for both British and Canadian audiences, the characters sometimes use Canadian terms which are different from those one would hear in Britain. This can sometimes confuse viewers, especially on the occasions when Bromwell is referred to as a "public school"; in Canada, this means a provincial school, open to non-fee paying students, but in the UK, the term refers to a fee-paying, private school which attends the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference. In fact, Bromwell would be correctly termed as a state school in Britain.
There are some other differences between the UK and Canadian versions of the show, notably that the UK version has a longer and slightly different version of the opening credits and theme, and the UK broadcasts were in the 16:9 (widescreen) aspect ratio, while the Canadian versions are cropped to a 4:3 picture.
The show is directed by Pete Bishop (who also directed and co-created with Steven Appleby and Frank Cottrell-Boyce the Captain Star TV series) and was created by Anil Gupta, Richard Osman, Richard Pinto and Sharat Sardana (with Osman, Pinto and Sardana also contributing as writers to the show).
- Natella Tendulkar Gavaskar Srivastavah is the youngest child in a family of twelve as well as the only girl. She is an errant Asian prodigy who uses her stunning intellect to manipulate pupils and staff alike. She is extremely articulate, ambitious and somewhat arrogant (but often rightfully so). She often tries to overcome depressing situations through reasoning, yet passionately abandons this when she finds out that the situation is either worse or better than originally thought. In any normal school Natella would be top of the class, but at Bromwell High — happy home of the underachiever — her cerebral prowess is considered nothing short of astonishing.
- Keisha Marie Christie has a strong voice and big personality, with a tendency to shoot first and ask irrelevant questions later. She suffers from attention-deficit disorder and likes anti-establishment activity and physical violence; often assaulting people with little or no justification. She comes from a broken home, and blames society for treating her badly because she is black.
- Latrina is a poor chav girl who is supposedly good looking. She is quite dim-witted but Latrina doesn't worry about grades. She is promiscuous and unsophisticated, but she acts with good intentions. She dismisses many things, such as "tolerance", "wheel chair access" and "not having babies", as "for gays".
- Iqbal bin Ibrahim Maurice Kandallah
Five years before his appointment at Bromwell High, Iqbal had escaped from Parkhurst where he was serving time for an unspecified crime. He subsequently met Mr. Bibby in Angola where together they operated a diamond smuggling business and also "dabbled" in human trafficking. After being forced to leave Africa in a U.N. helicopter gunship, Iqbal arrived in England with nothing but the shirt he wore on his back, a faded five pound note in his pocket, and a Bedford van's exhaust chamber full of state of the art hydroponic equipment and marijuana seeds with the potential street value, when cultivated, of £80,000 (equal to £81,000 today). With these simple tools, he ran a mini-cab company and built an empire that today covers many thousand square feet.
Although he had no formal academic qualifications (he does not believe in science, which he calls "hocus-pocus"), Iqbal rose quickly through the ranks to become Headmaster on the night he won Bromwell High in a poker game.
Since he began his tenure, Bromwell High has consistently succeeded in avoiding closure — testament, surely to the quality of leadership he had provided.
Gregarious and larger than life, Iqbal is not a conventional Headmaster by any stretch. His language is colourful though his understanding of basic grammar is non-existent. He tries to make money any way he can, which often involves illegal and unethical practices. He holds very long meetings and assemblies that are often filled with irrelevant and/or ridiculous anecdotes or performances (known unofficially as "Item 53", due to the fact that in each episode the bizarre story/act is promptly followed by Iqbal saying, "Next on our list, item 54..."). He can be manipulative and cocky but beneath the rough exterior lurks a conscience and occasionally Iqbal surprises everyone with (rare) moments of humanity and pastoral excellence.
Iqbal's Bromwell High file number is 1. He is voiced by Simon Greenall (of I'm Alan Partridge fame).
- Roger Bibby
Roger Bibby read geography at Oxford University, where he won a Greco-Roman wrestling scholarship and had to pick an "academic" subject to graduate in.
In his first year, Mr. Bibby came under the spell of an emeritus professor, whose study Mr. Bibby accidentally wandered into one night thinking it was his own bed. It turned out that it was his own bed and that the "professor" was quite seriously mental. A friendship began that night, which eventually resulted in Mr. Bibby turning into a geography teacher.
Mr. Bibby is the Deputy Head of Bromwell High and the Geography teacher. He is extremely articulate, knowledgeable and has a very professional bearing. However, he is very stern and insensitive, and sometimes evil just for the sake of being evil (he has been known to be friendly with demons, and along with Iqbal has links with the slave trade and diamond smuggling in Angola). In one episode, he slapped Iqbal in the face just for crying. He is extremely manipulative, and therefore able to commit unethical acts with the consent of the Headmaster.
Like the Headmaster, he is insatiably greedy and tries to make money through unethical practices. However, unlike the Headmaster, he is far more calculated when he implements his plans.
Mr. Bibby's Bromwell High file number is 159. He is voiced by Graeme Garden (of The Goodies fame).
- Martin Jackson
Martin read mathematics at Cambridge (though never graduated). He was physically and sexually abused by his tutor, the head of the mathematics department, the rest of the mathematics department, the rowing club, the varsity football and rugby teams and the Christian society.
He spent three years as a research project for the School of Medicine—his blood pressure was found to be high enough to clean car wheels. He did not die however, but instead whined continuously. Research on Martin led to the development of Prozac.
In spite of the fact that he was, and still is, the only mathematics teacher in the school, it took Martin five years to gain promotion to Head of Mathematics Department. His teaching has been described by Ofsted as 'cocking shite'.
Martin must always be watched. He has the kind of nervous disposition exhibited by people who take high velocity rifles up clock towers in order to pick off passers-by. He is a spineless and ineffectual teacher who hates children, his job and himself. In his late thirties, he is cripplingly middle-class and hides it by living in a Victorian terraced house in the shadow of a council estate in south-east London. He is the bane of Carol's life.
When he teaches, he does not discipline his students when they act contemptuously. He is also extremely neurotic, and panics at the thought of anything going wrong for him. He does not have a proper teaching qualification; he only has a certificate in plumbing technology. He often cheats on his wife, Carol Jackson, although he claims that "using a prostitute is not cheating."
When Martin messes up or does something wrong he often hits himself on the head and says "fuck" even when students are present.
Iqbal's nickname for him is "Mongo" (a variant of "mong", an offensive term implying mental retardation, derived from the original name given to Down's syndrome).
He was born Martin Shitely, but took his wife's surname after marriage.
Martin's Bromwell High file number is 657. He is also voiced by Simon Greenall.
- Carol Jackson
Carol graduated from Hedgehog College, University of the Lake District, then attended teacher training college at the Above Burger King School of Teaching, Oxford Street, London.
She then spent five years at the Amnesty International London office, waiting outside the main entrance. No one let her in but she did receive free psychiatric help and eventually accepted that she didn't work for Amnesty International and was in fact a nut.
She later met and married Martin Shitely, who took her name.
Carol is now an English teacher at Bromwell. She is in her 30s, wears organic clothes and reads the Guardian. Carol understands people of all races and creeds—except her husband, Martin. She is discontent with the lack of intimacy and romance in her marriage, and, probably as a result of that, competes with Melanie Dickson for the affection of handsome men. When Martin does something stupid or wrong she usually replies, "Oh, Martin, you idiot".
Carol's Bromwell High file number is 287. She is voiced by Doon Mackichan (from Smack the Pony).
- Melanie Dickson
Miss Dickson graduated from the University of Pudwacker Salt Flats with a First Class Honours degree in Chemical Biology.
She immediately gained bar work in London and very quickly rose up the ranks to become Bar Manager of "Alcoholiday", an Aboriginal themed bar in London's Leicester Square.
She moved to Bromwell High thinking it was another themed bar, but within a year she realised that she was Head of Sciences at an inner city school.
She is an attractive but very rude woman who shows a lack of proper teaching skills. She often taunts and teases people who aren't as pretty as she is, especially Carol.
Originally from Australia, Miss Dickson now teaches all the subjects at Bromwell that nobody else wants to (History/Science/Music/Etc.), and does so very poorly. She often does not care about the subjects she teaches and chain smokes, sometimes even during class. She competes with Carol Jackson for the affections of handsome men, mainly because she has an insatiable libido.
Melanie's Bromwell High file number is 349. Her voice is provided by Tracy-Ann Oberman.
- Mr. Phillips
Mr. Phillips grew up in the quiet, crack-addled village of Chomping Frenum, on England's west coast. He went missing at age 10, after chasing a worm into the forest. He strayed into an army firing range and was hit by three medium-sized surface-to-air missiles. Fortunately they passed straight through his skull, though he did lose 80 percent of his brain matter.
On his way to an interview for a post at Bromwell High, Mr. Philips was caught in the crossfire of a gang war shoot-out. He lost 80 percent of his remaining brain matter.
Mr. Philips is Bromwell High's Physical Education teacher. He is often unaware of his surroundings or current situation, and is therefore utterly ineffective as a teacher. Iqbal refers to him as "the stupid one".
Mr. Phillips' Bromwell High file number is 999. He is voiced by Stephen Merchant.
- Gavin Beale
Gavin was born in a crossfire hurricane. His mother was a tailor and his father was a gambling man. These circumstances made him turn to Christianity, which he hoped would provide some stability in his life.
He studied Theology at Durham University where he obtained a trombone scholarship.
He was ready to enter the church by 1990, in a poor, east London parish where he felt he could help ease the suffering and assist the poverty stricken. He decided to defer a year and backpack around Thailand instead.
He claims to have written the novel "The Beach", the manuscript of which he says he left in a Bangkok dance bar, possibly in a Bangkok dancer. No one believes him because he has absolutely no proof and is generally considered to be "a lying twat".
Returning to the poverty stricken parish in the East End he was struck by how disgusting it was so he got a job teaching.
Gavin is now the Religious Education teacher at Bromwell High (he considered being a journalist for NME but became a Christian Fundamentalist without having to change his taste in acoustic based rock). He acts casual in an effort to connect with his pupils, but this is a thinly veiled attempt to convert his students to Christianity. He consistently offends followers of all other faiths.
Gavin's Bromwell High file number is 742. He is voiced by Stephen Mangan.
- Ms. Jenny Gosby
Ms. Gosby graduated from Oxford Mobile University in 1986. There are no records of her before this. There are, however, records for a Mr. Bruce Gosby, who seems to have vanished during his gap year before attending university.
Bruce was an accomplished rower who took first place in both coxless events. He enjoyed being coxless, as if he were waiting all his life to be without cox.
After teacher training, "Ms." Gosby taught sciences to inmates of Lezzborough Prison, Little Beanflick, Dykeshire. She was dismissed after her involvement in a rooftop protest.
Convicted of inciting a riot, Ms. Gosby was tagged by the police and considered dangerous and psychologically unstable.
She has since been appointed to Head of Biology at Bromwell High, and is also the lunchlady.
It has been hinted by other characters that she may be a transsexual.
Ms. Gosby's Bromwell High file number is 123.
Considered "cool" and attractive by many of the girls within Bromwell High. Although he is depicted as being intelligent, he is usually rebellious within school, and rude to teachers and prefects alike. During the episode "1x06: Valentines's Day", the girls within Bromwell High witnessed him placing a valentine's card into Keisha's and Natella's box. It remains the episode's plot to see who the card is meant for. Although Davis and Aisha have many similarities, Davis has never mentioned that he likes Aisha. His "cool" status comes from his contempt for teachers and his skills in speaking. He is also apparently quite attractive.
Davis' best friend, although he is considerably less popular with the girls of Bromwell High. He is also considerably less intelligent, but less rebellious in school. Latrina has mentioned that she did make out with Jamal.
T'Shawn is incredibly short, and has a high pitched voice. He is also depicted constantly wearing an orange jacket, regardless of location, weather, and temperature. It is apparently these three qualities which makes him horribly unpopular with the children of Bromwell High. It has been established he has feelings of affection for Keisha, although she strongly dislikes him. T'Shawn's catchphrase is, "Oh, baby!"
Similar to Jamal and Davis, Belisha and Aisha are best friends. She is large, strong, and constantly has an angry expression. For this, Aisha is feared by many of the students of Bromwell High, albeit mostly for her scary appearance. Because of this, most of her bullying comes from intimidation, and not actual physical violence. Aisha strongly dislikes Natella and all of her noble causes.
Belisha is loud and brash. Unlike her best friend Aisha, though, she does not bully students exclusively through intimidation. She is quite willing (even happy, it seems) to physically harm students and damage property. Although she is relatively slim, and only slightly tall, she is feared by all the girls, should Belisha ever decide to attack them, for she is very violent, and more than willing to fight (it can only be assumed that she is quite experienced in a fight, in order to make up for her small figure). She is rarely seen manipulating Miss Dickson in order to leave school.
Kylie is a shy girl with bright red hair and bad acne. She is viewed as unpopular with the students of Bromwell and is picked on by Keisha, Aisha, Belisha, and many of the teachers.
A representative of the LEA (Iqbal believes this to be a secret organization, and her name to be Pussy Aplenty). She is rather cruel and manipulative individual, using the school, pupils and staff for her own and the LEA's rather shadowy ends.
In December 2005 a DVD release in Australia featured the first five episodes out of sequence, i.e.: Tolerance, Keisha's in Love, Police Story, No More Teachers and — billed as a "bonus" - Fire Drill. The DVD received an 'M' censor rating, and of the five episodes on it, only Keisha's in Love and No More Teachers were screened in the UK. No further episodes were released in Australia.
A UK DVD release was originally planned for early 2006 - in connection with which a 15m 23s Making of Bromwell High short was certified by the British Board of Film Classification as a '15' on 31 January 2006 - but was subsequently cancelled. The thirteen episodes were certified as '15' on 30 August 2006, apart from Keisha's in Love, which was classified as a '12', for the release of the complete series as a two-disc set on 2 October 2006. This release contains all 13 episodes (seven of which have never aired in the UK, and which appear on the second disc erroneously labelled as "Season Two"), and extras include the previously-prepared Making of Bromwell High short, deleted scenes and outtakes, commentary on the episode Sweets, and the original animatic storyboard for Baby Boom.
An uncensored Canadian DVD set was released on 19 August 2008 from Phase 4 Films / kaBOOM! Entertainment as Bromwell High / Polyvalente Baptiste Huard — The Complete Season / La Saison Complète. It featured all episodes on two discs, with a rating of 18A under the Canadian Home Video Rating System.
Titles in other languages
- Portuguese: (Brazilian Portuguese) Colégio Bromwell
- French: (Québécois French) Polyvalente Baptiste-Huard
- Spanish: (Latin American) Secundaria Bromwell
- Russian: Shkola Bromvelya (Bromvell) (Школа Бромвеля (Бромвилль), Bromwell School)