'Summer Heights High' TV Review

Authors Avatar


TV Comedy Reaches New Heights

Summer Heights High, BBC Three, Friday 8 January, 10.00pm

Ever since The Office so successfully captured the genre, you might think it wise for a comedy writer to steer well clear of the mockumentary format in order to avoid unfavourable comparisons, but for the Logie Award winning writer and actor Chris Lilley (We Can Be Heroes) the risk has certainly paid off for the second time in his career with his latest baby, Summer Heights High.

Based in a fictional Australian high school, Summer Heights depicts bullying, racism and homophobia along with all the other thrills and spills of a comprehensive education. With all three protagonists played by one man, Lilley brings to life the three outrageous personalities of Ja’mie, Jonah and Mr. G, each hilarious in their own unique way. The series already met critical acclaim when first premiered on Australia’s ABC network in 2007, which does leave us pondering the question of why it has taken such a long time for it to be commissioned here in the UK on BBC Three.  

Join now!

“ Lilley throws himself into the character with sheer ease... ”

Now let’s meet the three central characters. Firstly we have Ja’mie King - a character first introduced to audiences in Lilley’s 2005 mockumentary series We Can Be Heroes: Finding The Australian of the Year, in which she is one of five nominees for the award. Ja’mie is a bitchy private schoolgirl who arrives as an exchange student set to make her mark on both Year 11 and the whole of Summer Heights High. Shallow, cruel and certain of her status as the most popular and good-looking girl in school, Ja’mie ...

This is a preview of the whole essay