In it's third series now, Teachers has become one of those must watch programs. This year in the Designer Magazine Best of 2003 issue it received the accolade of becoming runner up in the Best TV Show of 2003 with only Bo Selecta taking the top spot by a nose. To celebrate we caught up with Vicky Hall, who plays Lindsay in the show, to talk about the programs success, the team spirit that lives on after Andrew Lincoln bowed out and also her much kept secret as a popstar in waiting.

Q: I guess first of all we've got to let you know that Teachers has got the 2nd Best TV Show of the year with only Bo Selecta beating it for the top spot. Why do you think Teachers has been so popular and on it's 3rd series just seems to be getting better and better?
A: I think personally there are so many young people going into teaching and it's not so much the fact that they are teachers, it's about their character and personality more than anything else. The jobs are really a hilarious set-up for it.

And I just love the fact that it's so not politically correct. Nobody gives a shit whether it offends anyone, they kind of just know it's funny and we'll all go with it. I love the fact that it's quite irreverent and nobody escapes. I know a lot of actors would get really upset or really uncomfortable about doing a part where they got taken the piss out of. But the fact is everyone gets taken the piss out of in that show whether you're gorgeous or whether your minging it doesn't matter. I remember when it first came out everyone was saying it's really terrible they call you fat, I was going but I am. If I was ginger they'd say I was ginger. You can't pretend you're something you're not and I just take it with a pinch of salt. Nav who plays Kirk, the asian guy, they call him scrawny and completely unattractive to women and he's gorgeous, I fancy the arse off him. If they call him minging and I totally fancy him then I don't care what they say about me - I might be minging to some people. I might be lush to others!!!

Q: There's a real team spirit there. I'd imagine it was the same off the camera as on as well. Is it?
A: Completely. It is just like being a student at school ripping the piss out of each other. "Shut up fatty", "Well, yeah you shut up ginger" - it's that kind of juvenile and I love that (laughs)

Q: You used to be a drama teacher didn't you.
A: I still do it. I made a promise to the kids I'd stick with them for a couple of years. I think they kind of expected me to go when I got Teachers, but I kept up the teaching every weekend. I used to get the train at 5 in the morning from Bristol into London and teach for that Saturday and then come back and start filming again on Sunday. To be honest it was a bit stupid as I was knackered and I won't be doing it this time round. But I kept it on because I feel I do have a bit of responsibility to them, I have to say i'm not a bit like Lindsay in that respects.

Q: I know a few people who are teachers and the program is pretty close to real life isn't it?
A: Oh man yeah. In fact some of them get up to worse stuff. I've got a friend called Ravin who's a teachers and in his school they run a book on which celebrity is going to die next. He won a mint on the Queen Mother.

I think people watch it and think if you love sex be a teacher. But i've just heard a vicious rumour that my character isn't going to get much in the 3rd series, so i've put in a serious complaint to the writers last night.

Q: Could you survive it if you had to drink with Brian and Kurt every night?
A: God no, I'm a rubbish drinker. We went to this Channel 4 party last night and I thought it was fruit punch and it turned out to be sangria. I had 3 glasses of that and in the end I had to go home. Well, they sent me home.

Q: How similar to Lindsay do you think you are?
A: Very dissimilar. Other than sharing the same body there aren't really any similarities. I don't drink. I've never smoked to this series actually, I never even tried it when I was 14. And on set on the first day I said i've never smoked before and Jimmy who plays Matt was like "Oh really, have one of mine" and his little devil horns came out. "Can I light it?" he said really sinister.

Q: Taking it back to when people would have first seen you - you started off your career in Byker Grove didn't you. What is it about the show that breeds these stars?
A: It was many moons ago. Looking back at it, it was a great start. I was only 14 so it was a cool place to start. Jill Halfpenny who is in Eastenders at the moment, I was in it with her at the time and she's a lovely girl. It's hard to keep in touch with all the guys, but you end up running into them at things and I'm still kind of best mates with Kathryn Monaghan, who was in Footballers Wives playing Donna, and she was in Byker Grove for a short time. She was my Bridesmaid actually in September when I got married.

Q: So give us a brief history from Byker to Teachers?
A: I did all the regular Newcastle stuff like Crocodile Shoes and Spender, baring in mind I was only about 16 then. Then I did loads of plays and stuff till I was 19 and I decided to go to drama school and when you're there you can't work, you're just focusing on the training and stuff. I was there until I was 22 and when I left I did a couple of episodes of the Bill and Casualty, a full scale musical tour of the Wizard Of Oz and did some backing singing for some friends.

When I found i'd got the job for Teachers i'd been dieting and lost a load of weight and the first thing the writers said was please don't lose anymore weight and could I try and gain what i'd lost. Bloody typical that the one time I'd gone on a diet and lost weight and now someone wanted me to regain it. So at Xmas all my family and friends were dripping me in lard so I didn't lose the job and actually on the job all the caterers were constantly trying to give me massive portions.

Q: Teachers is one of those rare shows that seems to get better with each series rather the constant thought that this will be the end.
A: I know. I was a massive fan when I got the job, so that's probably why I lost even more weight because I was so nervous about starting it. It's so cleverly written and brilliantly acted. I never watched it and thought I could be in that, like you know when you watch something and go "she was shit, I should be in that", so I was totally amazed when I found out I was.

Q: The fourth series starts in 2004. What else can we expect from you?
A: To be honest I worked last year from January to August constantly with not a single day off, so the good thing is i've kind of made enough so I don't have to work again until I start Teachers again. It's quite nice to just be not really doing that much, just meeting friends for coffee and doing things like that is lovely when you haven't done it for so long. And with just getting married it's really nice to be able to spend time with my fella.

I'm doing little extra things though. I write music as well so I work with some singers who are recording and I write stuff for them. I working with a woman at the moment called Susie Atherton who is an amazing singer and she's asked me to write some of the tracks on her new album. Keep your eyes open for her cos she's really good.

Q: Are you going to ever have a single out?
A: I can't see it happening. I can't see my fat backside selling records. But I do like to be involved in that business cos it's something I'm really into. As long as I'm involved someway I don't really mind. Writing is something I've only really done over the last couple of years, but I was a backing singer for a while with Dina Carroll. Originally I wanted to be a singer, but didn't know how to go about it, so I joined a drama group thinking we may do a musical and I kind of floated into acting accidentally.

Series 1 & 2 of Teachers are available on DVD
The CD Soundtrack 1 /2 are also available
The new series of Teachers is expected in May
For more info and schedule dates

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