23rd January 2023
ReVamp is thrilled to welcome star of the brand new series of Bad Education, Charlie Wernham! Picking up where he left off after three beloved seasons, a movie, a reunion special, and now a full new series, Charlie tells us all about getting back into the mischievous character of Mitchell. Plus future goals and things to look out for in 2023.
Jumper: Askyurself / Trousers: Askyurself / Boots: Underground
Hi Charlie and welcome to ReVamp! We’ve got to start by talking about Bad Education which has just returned on BBC Three. Could you remind us a little of your character Mitchell – who he was when we last saw him and where he is in his life now?
Throughout the first series, he was sort of the class clown if you like, making jokes and having a laugh taking the mick out of his teacher Alfie (Jack Whitehall) and his classmates.
He was always pulling pranks, taking the mick, and then we see him ten years later in the reunion episode which aired in December, and not much has changed really. He is exactly the same in that regard, but now he has so much more responsibility. He has another half, and he’s about to be a father, so he’s got a job as a delivery guy and he’s trying to make some money but he still has those personality traits that everyone loves when it comes to Mitchell.
Now that the new series has aired, we see him sort of winging his way through a teaching career that just kind of landed in his lap. Although, to be honest, he’s not the best teacher. He wants to well, but that’s just because he wants that paycheque… He’s got a vested interest in keeping the job but not as much interest in educating the students.
He’s still got those personality traits that we love in Mitchell, so he’s a really fun character even though he has to sort of be more mature, if only slightly.
Hoodie + Sweatpants: Shewak Designs / Jacket: Alexandar Nikolich / Trainers: Bershka
At the end, of the reunion special, Jack Whitehall’s character leaves Mitchell and Stephen as they take over the reins at Abbey Grove. How does it feel for you, along with co-star Layton Williams, to be taking over the leadership of such a beloved series?
We were both very honoured and excited to step into the shoes of Jack Whitehall and Sarah Solemani and take over those teacher roles. Although it was very exciting, I was definitely also nervous take on the challenge - which sounds strange given I’ve played the character for a long time… I played the same part through the three series, the special and a movie.
But to go back to doing it again, I had to think about how the characters have evolved and changed over that ten-year period without actually changing the character too much that it becomes unrecognisable from what people liked in the first place.
So it was a quite a daunting task but once we worked together in the writer's room and had a little bit of a rehearsal and I knew exactly how I wanted to pitch the character, it was a lot of fun and all the sort of nerves I had disappeared and we just enjoyed ourselves and worked very hard for the seven weeks.
I enjoy working with Layton, we bounce off each other really well and we are both quite generous towards each other when we work together, especially when someone had an idea or something they want to add or change - we always support each other. I think it’s important to be working together as closely as we are in a comedy or it just won’t translate very well.
Cap: Dragonmade8 / Turtleneck: Threadbare/ Trousers: Jack & Jones / Coat: ASOS / Trainers: Bershka
Have you got any funny stories on set? You’ve worked with Drag Race royalty, Bianca Del Rio! What was that like?
It was quite daunting because you had Bianca being an icon as well (as the other queens) because they were so fab, they stole the show and had so much fun.
There was a scene where Mitchell has grassed-up Stephen to Holborn about this Drag Brunch and it all falls through so Mitchell wants to make it up to him by bringing the drag queens to Abbey Grove for a bit of an apology. But I had to drive the school minibus through Abbey Grove over these speed bumps with Bianca, the drag queens, and of course Hillary Whitehall as well… So I had a big responsibility there and all I was thinking was don’t stall the bus… Or don’t crash.
We got one take right and I didn’t crash, but I did keep stalling the bus it in front of comedic drag queens and Bianca Del Rio and I got a lot of abuse and they didn’t let me forget it for the rest of the shoot - but it was a great laugh.
And you know Bianca is known for reading people…
Oh, I know and she didn’t stop it. They’re all so talented and so funny. We did this one scene with Bianca where we put all of Class K around her and bear in mind she doesn’t know the characters she just improvised with them, she stole it and it was joke after joke, one-liner after one-liner and all these innuendos and we just learned from that.
Since the original series paused, you’ve gone on to other roles including big dramas like EastEnders. What’s your experience of pivoting between your dramatic and comedy roles? Is it challenging at all, or maybe the variety is nice?
Yeah, it’s definitely nice, it’s something I’ve done for a long time now and especially when did the original series where I would go off and do different dramas, other shows where I had to play a completely different character in a completely different genre of television.
I learned at a young age that I just had to kind of take it in my stride and just be on it. As long as your hot on your lines and you know where your character has been and your character is going then it’s not too difficult to flip between the two.
It’s very nice to go from something that’s very serious and especially my storyline in EastEnders which was very challenging and difficult and quite hard-hitting, to be able then to go and play this flammable, loveable idiot teacher where I can have a lot of fun with it is like a breath of fresh air.
But you don’t want to do it all the time, it’s nice to have some light and shade with it. I’ve done this from a very young age so it's nice to do it like I said you can have some really tough shoots but then go on to Bad Education which is physically or mentally draining cause its full-on days but it doesn’t feel like work because every scene is fun, even scene is funny. You just have to make sure you’re prepared and be on it and you’ll be fine.
Cap: Cantclothing / Turtleneck: Threadbare / Cardigan: ASOS / Trousers: ASOS / Trainers: Bershka
With such a variety of roles under your belt already, what sort of projects would interest you at some point in the future? What would a dream role look like for you next?
Well, I think a lot of the stuff I’ve done whether it’s comedy or drama, TV or film, it’s always set in the modern era. So I would like something that takes me out of that comfort zone and do something in a different period like futuristic or maybe like Dungeons and Dragons where it’s all magical and fantasy.
Just something for me to step out of my comfort zone. It will be really nice to challenge myself and try to put myself back in the 1800s or something where I have my imagination a lot more for where the story takes place.
Hat: New Era NY / Sweatshirt: Roaringwild / Joggers: Adidas / Coat: Yef Studio / Trainers: Bershka
Lastly, have you got any exciting projects coming out in 2023 that you can tell us about?
There are a couple of things that I’ve filmed that are coming out in 2023 and there are some other things that are lined up. Unfortunately, I’ve made this mistake before where I shouldn’t say what I’m not allowed to say… But there is a show I’m allowed to talk about which is going on the BBC and Netflix with Jamie Demetriou (Fleabag, Slath Lets Flats) who’s an incredible comedian and I’ve done a scene with him. I’m very excited to see that to come on screen.
Thanks so much for talking to us!
Bad Education is streaming on BBC iPlayer and on Sundays at 10pm on BBC Three.