Transmission: 1987 - 1988
Everyone tends to get in various scrapes whilst at school. More often than not, it's down to the individual thinking they're cleverer than everyone else. When you get a little older, you begin to realise what an obnoxious and cringe worthy excuse of carbon you were capable of being between the ages of 13 - 16. Understandably, you annoy a lot of people in this time, be it your peers or furious adults. This passage of rites was encapsulated on the BBC in the form of Bad Boyes.
Brian Arthur Derek Boyes (Steven Kember) is a typical cocksure teenager creating all types of farce and mischief. Amongst his crowning achievements are: setting up an illegal home for pets, losing a chicken, framing a school bully for theft and entrapping two teachers in a boiler room. Exploits such as this, inevitably, rub people up the wrong way.
Feeling the need to wring Brian's neck are his Basil Fawlty lookalike teacher Mr Wiggis (Gregory Cox), epitome of 80s school bullies Edward 'Slug' Slogg (Warren Brian) and even elderly, cat loving neighbours Mr (Sam Kelly) and Mrs Worple (Christine Ozanne). More understanding of Brian are his Dad (Dean Harris), Mother (Susan Jameson), Eric Sykes lookalike headmaster (Christopher Owen) and robotic reader of lines and best friend Bernetta Vincent (Nicola Greenhill).
Two series of Bad Boyes aired on BBC1 between 1987 - 1988 with each series being made up of 6 episodes. Writer and creator was Jim Eldridge who also wrote for childrens shows Spatz, Woof and Julia Jekyll and Harriet Hyde. The series was directed by Jeremy Swan whose CV reveals such childhood powerhouses such as Jackanory, Rentaghost and Sooty.
Bad Boyes aired in an era where we were definitely watching CBBC, but we cannot for the life of us remember it. We had never heard of it until we were doing a routine scout of 80s kids shows. Anyway, it sounded as though it was worth a watch and, as luck would have it, three episodes surfaced on YouTube.
Steven Kember is a great child actor. He's full of verve, spirit and comic timing, but but but but but he only ever appeared in Bad Boyes and nothing else. We can easily picture him propping up a market stall in EastEnders or being a fresh faced PC in The Bill. It's a tragic loss to the world of British acting - almost as tragic as Nicola Greenhill's monotonous acting and gruesomely, gawky 80s haircut.
Dean Harris is a typical children's TV Dad and brings a likeable side to the sometimes anxious character. Susan Jameson, too, is your stereotypical children's TV Mum with a slightly wacky edge. Warren Brian doesn't have much to do apart from pulling a thuggish face, so we didn't have much to evaluate there.
Of the episodes we saw, one was great with plenty of action as Brian aims to get Slug and his teachers off his back, but the next episode seems fairly moribund with barely an antagonist on screen and we nearly fell asleep in a haze of 80s boredom - it ends with a nicely farcical ending though which raised a smile.
The final episode we saw has a bit more verve, but again it's a bit boring until the end. They never seem to settle on a constant foe or friend for Brian which makes it feel a little unfocussed at times, although it does allow for well set up situations. And how exactly is Slug in Brian's year at school? He looks about 5 years older!
We probably would have watched Bad Boyes at the time (and who knows, maybe we did), but we didn't really feel there was enough here to keep out interest satisfied. Steven Kember was the only thing that stood out for us. Oh, and we nearly forgot, it features a wonderfully 80s theme tune which calls to mind the soundtrack of a particularly upbeat Amstrad CPC game.