In sitcom Whack-O! Professor James Edwards (popular comedian Jimmy Edwards), headmaster of Chislebury School, rules his pupils with an iron hand, and his hand normally had a cane in it. Edwards is also always looking for ways to make money, especially if it involved confiscating his charges pocket money. Other teachers on the staff included Oliver Pettigrew (Arthur Howard), Mr Trench (Peter Glaze) Mr Cope-Willoughby (Frank Raymond).
The character had long been part of the Edwards stage act and was clearly related to Will Hay’s similar schoolteacher persona.
The BBC revived the series on BBC-1 in 1971 for 13 further episodes, the title changed to Whacko! and it reworked some of the original episodes. In this series Julian Orchard played Pettigrew.
The show was popular enough that a feature film (called Bottoms Up) was released in 1960.
There was a short special as part of Christmas Night With The Stars on 25 December 1958 that technically wasn’t Whack-O! as it was set in a courtroom and not the school.
Cast: JIMMY EDWARDS as Prof James Edwards; ARTHUR HOWARD as Mr Oliver Pettigrew (1956-1960); JULIAN ORCHARD as Mr Oliver Pettigrew (1971); KENNETH COPE as Mr F.D. Price Whittaker(Season 1); PETER GLAZE as Mr R.P. Trench (Seasons 1-3); FRANK RAYMOND as Mr Cope-Willoughby (Seasons 5-7); JOHN STIRLING as Lumley (Seasons 1-3); GEOFFREY PAGET as Rawlinson (Seasons 6); DAVID LANGFORD as Parker (Season 6); BARBARA ARCHER as Matron; NORMAN BIRD as S.A. Smallpiece; GARY WARREN as Taplow (1971); PETER GREENE as Halliforth (1971); HAROLD BENNETT as Dinwiddie (1971); GREG SMITH as Potter (1971)
Writers: Denis Norden, Frank Muir / Music: Alan Yates (1956-1960), Dennis Wilson (1971) / Producers: Douglas Moodie, Eric Fawcett, Douglas Argent
UK / BBC / 60×30 minute episodes / Broadcast 4 October 1956 – 27 December 1960 and 27 November 1971 – 26 February 1972 Eight seasons