Is Channel 5's The Teacher based on a true story?

31 January 2022, 19:00

The Teacher is airing on Channel 5
The Teacher is airing on Channel 5. Picture: Channel 5

Who is Jenna Garvey and is she real? Here's what we know about the Channel 5 drama...

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Sheridan Smith is back with a brand new series called The Teacher on Channel 5.

Starring as English teacher Jenna Garvey, her character is accused of having sexual relations with one of her students.

But as she was heavily intoxicated at the time, Jenna has no memory of that night and is left trying to uncover the truth on her own.

So, is The Teacher based on a true story or is it completely fictional? Here’s what we know…

The Teacher stars Sheridan Smith and Kelvin Fletcher
The Teacher stars Sheridan Smith and Kelvin Fletcher. Picture: Channel 5

Is The Teacher based on a true story?

No, The Teacher is a fictional story and Jenna Garvey is not real. However, creator and executive producer Mike Benson based the plot on stories he had previously seen in the press.

He said: “The dramas we make tend to have a theme or subject matter at the heart of them that we know people have an opinion on.

“We’d read a lot in the press about cases of teachers who were accused of having a relationship with a pupil and it's a very provocative, complex and sensitive area.

“We thought there was something interesting we could explore there, and also in terms of how the press reacts to these cases – more often than not it’s a feeding frenzy, using very emotive language and being quite simplistic and salacious.”

The Teacher is not based on a true story
The Teacher is not based on a true story. Picture: Channel 5

Mike went on to say he wanted to create a drama that ‘gets into the complexity and grey areas of these types of incidents’.

There was one particular case that inspired much of the story, which was about a sixth form Christmas party.

“I read one particular article about a respected teacher at a state school, who went to a sixth form Christmas party, got horrendously drunk and slept with a pupil,” he explained.

“They were rightly struck off and lost their whole career and reputation, but what also struck me was the fact that they didn't remember a single thing of the incident.

“This idea that you can transition overnight from one of the most respected roles in society to one of the most reprehensible - and not remember a single thing of it - I found both horrifying and fascinating.

“There are elements of this in Jenna’s journey – the fact that she even considers she might have committed the crime forces her to call into question who she thinks she is as a person and a professional.”