No authority figure casts quite so huge a shadow over our childhoods as the teacher. Some of them, admittedly, were lovely people who encouraged our interests and inspired us to do better; others were humourless despots of whom we lived in mortal fear. For all those we encountered in real life, TV brought us some very memorable teachers as well.
Here are 12 unforgettable TV teachers from years gone by, who will immediately transport you back to your youth.
12. Mr. Bronson – Grange Hill
Grange Hill’s Deputy Headmaster and French teacher from 1985 to 1989, Mr Bronson (first name Maurice) is by far the most scary personality on our list, portrayed quite brilliantly by the late Scottish character actor Michael Sheard.
Sheard had a knack for villainy: he also portrayed Imperial Admiral Ozzell in The Empire Strikes Back, and no less an evil than Adolf Hitler himself in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
11. The Headmaster – The Demon Headmaster
Originally broadcast between 1996 and 1998 and based on a series of children’s books by the author Gillian Cross, The Demon Headmaster introduced us to the scariest headteacher of all time.
Played by Terrence Hardiman, who is also well known for starring as Luftwaffe Police Major Reinhardt in the 1970s TV series Secret Army, The Headmaster was an evil character who used his otherworldly powers to control the pupils he resided over.
10. Donald Fisher – Home and Away
A regular character in the popular Australian soap Home and Away for an impressive fifteen years, Donald Fisher was the principal of Summer Bay High School.
Norman Coburn’s lengthy tenure in the show earned him a joint Guinness World Record in 2002 as the longest serving cast member of an Australian soap opera.
9. Edna Krabappel – The Simpsons
Bart Simpson’s teacher in The Simpsons, Edna Krabappel was portrayed as being a heavy smoker and gambler when she wasn’t working at Springfield Elementary School.
Mrs Krabappel was often extremely honest to Bart, once telling him “I always thought there was a spark of decency in you but I was wrong. I never thought I’d say this to a child, but you are bad on the inside.”
8. Jeff Pringle – Postman Pat
A teacher at Greendale School and the father of Charlie Pringle, Jeff Pringle is also the village’s local historian.
Often requiring help from Postman Pat and Jess the cat, Mr Pringle was friendly, positive and adventurous.
7. Mr Collins – The Wonder Years
Appearing in just three episodes of the classic coming-of-age drama series The Wonder Years, Mr Collins was Kevin Arnold’s Algebra teacher.
As well as playing Mr Collins, whose first name is never revealed, actor Steven Gilborn also appeared in TV shows such as Boy Meets World, The Golden Girls, Malcolm in the Middle, ER, The West Wing, Law and Order and NYPD Blue.
6. Miss Broom – Jonny Briggs
Played by Karen Meagher, who also starred as Inspector Murchison in Heartbeat as well as appearing in Dalziel and Pascoe and Carrie’s War, Miss Broom was teacher to Jonny Briggs, our favourite Middlesbrough ruffian.
Unfortunately Miss Broom was unable to do anything to assist Jonny and his best friend Pam in their constant battles with the horrible twins Ginny and Josie.
5. Biddy McBrain – Galaxy High School
Ms. Biddy McBrain, who as the name suggests had an oversized brain, was the principal and English teacher at the super-galactic learning establishment Galaxy High School.
Voiced by Pat Carroll, Ms. Brain originally came from a planet where it was against the law for women to be smart.
4. Carrie Bliss – Good Morning, Miss Bliss
Good Morning Miss Bliss, also known as Saved by the Bell: The Junior High Years, was a comedy sitcom that aired on the Disney Channel between 1988 and 1989.
The show, which would eventually be rebooted into the far more popular Saved By The Bell, saw Hayley Mills star as the titular Carrie Bliss.
3. Bridget McClusky – Grange Hill
We wouldn’t normally allow two entries from the same TV show but there was no way we could leave out Mrs McClusky, Grange Hill’s headteacher for well over a decade.
Bridget McClusky was portrayed by Gwyneth Powell, who after leaving the show toured her own one woman show, as well as making appearances in the likes of Heartbeat, A Touch of Frost and Holby City.
2. Lydia Grant – Fame
A dance teacher at Fame’s High School of Performing Arts, Lydia Grant was played by Debbie Allen in both the 1980 film and the subsequent TV series, which ran for five years between 1982 and 1987.
Debbie Allen was a real-life dancer and choreographer, as well as a singer-songwriter, director and producer.
1. Hondo McLean – M.A.S.K.
The sequences showing M.A.S.K. head honcho Matt Trakker summoning his various secret agents to prepare for battle against the evil V.E.N.O.M. revealed that Hondo McLean was a teacher of History when he wasn’t working overtime to fight crime.
Hondo McLean drove the vehicle Firecracker, before transferring over to Hurricane when his original wheels were destroyed in an episode called A Matter of Gravity.