Hope and Glory (TV series)

Hope and Glory is a BBC television drama about a comprehensive school struggling with financial, staffing and disciplinary problems, and faced with closure. It starred Lenny Henry as maverick "Superhead" Ian George, enlisted to turn around the school's fortunes.

Hope and Glory
DVD cover
Created byLucy Gannon
Directed byJuliet May and others
StarringLenny Henry
Amanda Redman
Clive Russell
Gillian Kearney
Theme music composerNick Bicât
Country of originUnited Kingdom
No. of series3
No. of episodes16
Executive producer(s)Mal Young and Lucy Gannon
Producer(s)Nicolas Brown
Running time50 minutes
Original networkBBC One
Original release22 June 1999 

5 November 2000
Related showsWaterloo Road

It was created by Lucy Gannon, who had previously created Soldier Soldier, and was inspired by a real head teacher named William Atkinson, who had turned around a secondary school in London which had been placed into special measures.[1][2][3]


Ian George, the head of an exclusive school, is asked to take a look at Hope Park Comprehensive School, which is in special measures, and asked to confirm its closure. When he visits the school, he's greeted by disaffected students and teachers alike. The sixth form centre was derelict after it was torched a few years previously, and the music room is full of expensive equipment, unused because the school could not attract a music teacher. The outgoing head (Peter Davison) breaks down during his farewell speech and delivers an emotional rant against the students, telling them how worthless they are.

After meeting staff and pupils at the school, in particular pupil Keeley Porter and teacher Debbie "Debs" Bryan, Ian George believes there is some hope for the school. He is offered help by the chair of governors, whose son died young and would have been at the school. Ian turns down a Governmental job to take over as the new Head.

With the help of Deputy Head "Debs" (Redman), George rectified these issues. He identified the talents of rebellious students, and the music equipment was finally used.

Romances developed between Ian and Debs, and Tony (Lee Warburton) and Sally (Sara Stephens).

Philip Whitchurch played Derek, the chair of governors, who was desperate to save the school. The refurbished and replenished library was subsequently dedicated to his dead son. The Chief Education Officer was played by Richard Griffiths.


Bushey Hall School in Watford, Francis Coombe School in Watford and Langleybury School in Three Rivers, Hertfordshire, were used as locations for the school.[4]

Classical music featured throughout the first series, and a compilation CD was released.[5] An animated title sequence was introduced in series 2, with theme music composed by Nick Bicât and performed by the London Chamber Orchestra.

Gannon wrote the series with the intention that it would be transmitted at 8.00pm, before the watershed; however, the BBC instead scheduled it at 9.30pm.[6]

Episode guide

Series 1

Episode numberOriginal airdateWriter#
122 June 1999Lucy Gannon1
Ian George (Lenny Henry), the head teacher of a successful private school, delivers a speech at a conference attacking government intervention in schools. Ian is tasked with inspecting Hope Park, an under-performing inner-city comprehensive school which has been recommended for closure. After spending time with staff and pupils, George also recommends closure; the chair of governors (Philip Whitchurch) offers George the headship, which he initially declines. However, when he witnesses the outgoing head teacher (Peter Davison) have a breakdown in a farewell assembly, Ian declares to the staff and pupils that he is their new head teacher.
229 June 1999Lucy Gannon2
With the new term approaching, Ian George and his team work to install new equipment and desks, the latter without the governors’ permission. Deputy head Phil Jakes (Clive Russell) takes charge of installing a computer network, but is too proud to admit that he lacks the required technical knowledge. Having been impressed with her attitude and teaching, Ian appoints Debbie Bryan (Amanda Redman) as acting deputy head.
36 July 1999Lucy Gannon3
Ian George undergoes cardiac therapy to treat his heart condition. Geography teacher Jan Wooley's (Pippa Guard) timekeeping and attitude towards students is causing problems. In particular, she clashes with pupil Keely Porter (Sarah French), who requests to be moved to a different form group. When Debbie Bryan approves this transfer, Ian George protests that procedure had not been followed and insists the decision is reversed, even though Keely has been engaging well with drama teacher Sally Bell (Sara Stephens). A concert is held for parents, which Keely eventually plays a part in.
413 July 1999Lucy Gannon4
The romance between teachers Tony Elliott (Lee Warburton) and Sally develops. However, as they discuss their relationship in a storage room, commotion develops on a staircase, resulting in a child being injured. The incident coincides with Phil Jakes being in charge of the school while Ian George is off site. In transpires that Jakes had taught the father (Rob Jarvis) of the child who was injured, and had been responsible for his exclusion from school, leading to limitations in opportunities.
520 July 1999Lucy Gannon5
Jan Wooley's personal life continues to affect her performance at work. While invigilating an exam, she leaves the candidates unattended; Ian George invokes disciplinary procedures. Jan is delighted to discover that she pregnant; however, her husband (Peter Sullivan) is less enthusiastic and suggests not only abortion but also their separation. By mutual agreement, Jan leaves Hope Park. Following a staff social night, Ian and Debs kiss; the next day they agree that it would not damage their working relationship.
627 July 1999Lucy Gannon6
With Hope Park School still in special measures, the staff prepare for an inspection. Ian's plan to refurbish the school's unused library perturbs governor Dennis, since the current library was dedicated to his deceased son. When realising this, Ian arranges for the new study centre to retain the dedication. Meanwhile, Ian bumps into his ex-fiancé, Di (Cathy Tyson), who is now unemployed following poor career decisions that had been influenced by Ian. The inspectors conclude that the school is making good progress.

Series 2

The four episodes of the second season were transmitted before the summer holidays (27 June – 18 July 2000), with the third series and final six episodes transmitted in the autumn of the same year (4 October – 5 November).

Episode numberOriginal airdateWriter#
127 June 2000Lucy Gannon7
New English teacher Kitty Burton (Gillian Kearney) is proving popular with staff and pupils, to the extent that a pupil, Liana Andrews (Senya Roberts), from her previous school applies to transfer to Hope Park. Ian and Debs revise the school's timetable to accommodate Liana's mobility issues. However, LEA officer Leo Wheeldon (Richard Griffiths) challenges Ian's decision to accept Liana, who is black, when he previously rejected applicants who happened to be white. Ian resents the accusations of racism.
24 July 2000Ann Marie Di Mambro8
Staff become concerned about the welfare of pupils Gary (Russell Tovey) and Stephen Bailey (Ben Brazier); it is discovered that their stepfather has left home, leaving Gary to look after his younger brother and sister. Phil Jakes continues his search for another teaching job, and receives a series of rejection letters. Following a stressful day, Ian and Debs kiss.
311 July 2000Lisa Hunt9
Pupil Martin McConnell (Peter Morton) is causing problems with his poor attitude, which is agitated by his more academic sister, Chloe (Jade Williams). Phil engages Martin, encouraging him to do mechanical work on the teacher's old Mini. The pupil is enthused, but later illegally drives the car on public roads. At home, Phil's wife, Jude (Julia Deakin), raises concerns about their marriage.
418 July 2000Lucy Gannon10
It's exam season. Phil is discovered to have mislaid a packet of examination papers, and resigns from the school. Ian is angry that Debs had not informed him earlier about the incident.

Series 3

Episode numberOriginal airdateWriter#
14 October 2000Lucy Gannon11
New deputy heads Matt Bennett (Gresby Nash) and Annie Gilbert (Phyllis Logan) clash over funding for their relevant departments. After work, Ian and Matt have a heated argument in a pub, resulting in their arrests. Matt has identified that his pupils have been having substandard private music tuition from Mrs Watson (Menna Trussler); only after he distributes letters to parents advising against this tuition, he learns that the tutor is on the committee which is due to decide whether to grant his department additional funding.
25 October 2000Lucy Gannon12
Pupil Gemma Wilson (Lesley-Ann Garland), who is the daughter of Annie's partner, exhibits behavioural problems both at home and at school. When Gemma causes problems at school with fellow pupil Paul Jenson (Jamie Luke), his mother Clare (Suzette Llewellyn) visits the school and herself begins a relationship with Ian George. Meanwhile, Leo Wheeldon's introduction of an electronic registration system does not go according to plan.
311 October 200013
418 October 200014
52 November 200015
65 November 200016
A teacher has a breakdown in a classroom, keeping the children hostage.


The series attracted mixed reviews. Writing in New Statesman David Jays says that Lucy Gannon's characters are sharpened by indignation, and "sorrow rounds them in the Dickensian manner".[7] He also praises the show's use of classical music, rather than "second guessing youthful tunes and getting it cringingly wrong".[7] The Observer's Caroline Boucher praised Gannon's "speedy character establishment" and Henry's "convincing" portrayal.[8] Adam Sweeting in The Guardian was more critical, suggesting it is "old-fashioned melodrama", unfavorably contrasting Gannon with celebrated writers such as Jimmy McGovern and Alan Bleasdale. The use of classical music was "disorienting", and Sweeting suggests that "maybe education is too pressing and prickly an issue to be liquidised into soap opera, with its inevitable clichés and illogicalities."[9] Writing in the Financial Times, Christopher Dunkley says the drama has "moments of interest",[6] although Joe Joseph in The Times was very critical of the first series.[10][11]

Home media

All three series were released on DVD (Region 2 and 4) on 15 May 2006.[12] A compilation audio CD featuring some of the classical music used in the first series was released on 1 October 1999.[5]


  1. Cassidy, Sarah (26 August 2005). "Poor pupils funded by tycoon secure top grades". The Independent. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  2. Atkinson, William (17 January 2006). "A loss of courage, will and faith". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  3. Taylor, Cyril; Ryan, Conor (2013). Excellence in Education: The Making of Great Schools. Routledge. p. 179.
  4. Evans, Richard (17 October 2001). "Langleybury: Council Reveals Plans To Sell Old School Site". ThisisLocalLondon.co.uk. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007.
  5. "Hope & Glory — Various". Find-CD.co.uk.
  6. Dunkley, Christopher (21 July 1999). "Channels make a crisis out of drama". Financial Times (Print)|format= requires |url= (help). London (UK). p. 14.
  7. Jays, David (28 June 1999). "No laughing matter". New Statesman (Print)|format= requires |url= (help). p. 40.
  8. Boucher, Caroline (20 June 1999). "Review". The Observer (print)|format= requires |url= (help). p. 138.
  9. Sweeting, Adam (23 June 1999). "Lucy could do better". The Guardian (Print)|format= requires |url= (help). p. A22.
  10. Joseph, Joe (23 June 1999). "School drama that fails to make the grade". The Times (Print)|format= requires |url= (help). London. p. 43.
  11. Joseph, Joe (28 July 1999). "The end-of-term school report: could do better". The Times (Print)|format= requires |url= (help). London. p. 45.
  12. Hope and Glory — The Complete Collection Find-DVD.co.uk
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