Written and directed by Hannah George, S-Band is a web series inspired by her time at school on the Isle of Wight. In 2014 her old headmaster gave her access to one of the island’s schools over a week at half term and after auditioning over 35 teenagers for the four main parts. With a £400 budget and the help of friends and family, Matt and Hannah created the S-Band web series.
S-Band follows the lives of the staff and students of S- Band; a class at Northwood High School for students with behavioural problems, bad attitudes and a penchant for setting fire to things.
Once upon a time the S-Banders would have been labelled remedial, but in a politically correct world they have now been labelled ‘S-Band’, which just means other students have to be slightly more imaginative when bullying them. Northwood High is the lowest achieving school in the area – with the latest Ofsted report labelling it as ‘piss poor’.
The teachers and the S-Banders act as a dysfunctional family, most of the kids have come from unstable backgrounds, so they find their own family in S-Band, which means dealing with all the arguments and emotions being part of a family throws at them.
STACEY is the naughtiest kid in school. He probably wouldn’t have ended up being so awful if his parents hadn’t given him a girls name, but when you’re boy with a girls name in a rough school – what choice do you have? All the teachers are scared of him and he once beat up another student for using his rubber too loudly.
Stacey comes from a rough estate, and his parents are still together but only because they can’t be bothered to get a divorce. Stacey’s a bully, but he’d call it self preservation – he’s nasty to people as he’s been brought up to believe most people will be nasty to him if given the chance. It’s bully or be bullied. Stacey likes life in S-Band – it’s easy. He’s never expected to do much work, so he rarely does. In S-Band, Stacey is the boss.
DESTINY has very little patience for anyone. A new mother, Destiny has recently given birth to her first child aged 14. She makes up for her lack of intelligence with her street smarts – if there was a GCSE in gettin’ respect, Destiny would get an E (because she has too much smarts to turn up to the exam). Destiny’s loud and brash exterior is a cover for a scared and vulnerable girl who doesn’t know what to do with herself now she’s a mother. Having grown up in care, Destiny never knew what it was like to have a real family, so she’s determined to get parenting right. She fundamentally lacks the common sense gene and has no idea what’s going on half the time. Her baby’s dad remains a mystery to all but Destiny, and even she’s not quite sure.
ANNA-ROSA isn’t a naughty kid. She’s in S-Band because she has a personality disorder that means she struggles to interact with others. Indeed for several years didn’t speak at all until she eventually found herself in S-Band. Anna-Rosa doesn’t understand why people do half of what they do, and she isn’t interested enough to find out. In many ways Anna-Rosa is similar to a cat – she’s quite happy to just sit alone, stare into space and judge you. However, when Anna-Rosa does speak, she will often ask incredibly blunt and personal questions. ‘Why are you so fat?’ ‘Do you have a sweat problem?’ ‘Does fake tan come in a bottle?’ This occasionally leads to people opening up to her, but more often ends up with a slap.
Anna-Rosa’s parents smother her, convinced she’ll come out of her shell with the right amount of love and affection. She won’t.
MATT MARTIN is never without a wide grin. His array of medical problems, including ADHD, mean he gets incredibly hyperactive extremely quickly and on all the other S-Banders’ nerves. Not that he’d know it of course, as Matt finds it very difficult to read people and assumes they are always as happy as he is.
He can be quite camp and all the students call him gay – but Matt doesn’t mind, he doesn’t know what gay means. He’s a carbon copy of his parents who are just as ADHD as he is – only ADHD hadn’t been invented when they were children so they’re just thought of as eccentric. Matt takes a daily cocktail of pills to stop him getting over-excited. A long way away from puberty, Matt is one of those kids that will still look exactly the same when he’s thirty. Matt is in S-Band mainly because he gets bullied in the other parts of school for being different. He does well in class and is probably the most intelligent of the S-Banders, which is about as much of an achievement as being the least sluttiest in the Pussycat Dolls.
MR JON THOROGOOD is S-Band’s Student Support Officer and has an incredible emotional investment in the kids and will never give up on them, no matter how many reasons they give him. He’s an incredibly emotional man and has cried at every single Jennifer Anniston movie. Having been in a ‘special’ class when he was at school after being misdiagnosed with a personality disorder, (it turned out he was just being friendly) Mr Thorogood believes many of the kids in S- Band are just misunderstood and that they deserve a second, or in some cases seventh or eighth, chance. Friendly, enthusiastic and earnest, the kids in S-Band do actually quite like Mr Thorogood, but they wouldn’t admit it to him as no one wants to see a grown man cry.
More often than not, Mr Thorogood tries too hard and will lie about his own experiences if he thinks it’s going to help him connect with the students. Luckily most of them are too dim to work out he’s probably not got an eating disorder, or period pains.
MRS KAREN THOROGOOD is the school nurse and wife of Mr Thorogood, she has a kind and caring nature as you’d expect a nurse to have, but she also enjoys winding her husband up, who will always try too hard to respect her. She’s kept busy by the S-Banders who constantly get into fights and need their various medications. Mrs Thorogood takes health incredibly seriously and sees her body as a temple.
Quite the opposite of her husband, Mrs Thorogood doesn’t care if the S-Banders like her or not. She does, however, care about the kids health and well being and will sometimes stick her nose in where it’s not wanted in an attempt to help a kid out. Mrs Thorogood’s greatest fears are cellulite and nits.
A strong, independent woman, Mrs Thorogood is always the big spoon in bed.
MR ANDREW BARRETT the formidable gym teacher, is always on hand if the kids get out of line as most of them are, rightly, scared of him. He has never had any other job than being a PE Teacher and is institutionalised.
The only year he spent outside of a school was when he went on a gap year to Africa. To build a school. He takes PE very seriously and will not stand for anyone bunking off his lesson – with a particular dislike of obese kids, Mr Barrett doesn’t believe there’s any cause for it other than greed. He’s obsessed with his mother, who calls him most days. He’ll often bring her up in class, as an example of a perfect woman.
MISS ANGELA GRAY is a teacher with more emotional problems than most of the pupils. Happy to wear her emotions on her sleeve, Miss Gray doesn’t care if her Science class know she’s just gone through a break up, or if her form class know she’s “riddled with cystitis”.
Never staying at a single school for more than two terms, Miss Gray allows the pressures of modern teaching to get to her and quits her teaching posts willy nilly and is always threatening to leave Northwood High, but never does. On a permanent diet, Miss Gray cheats on her diets in the same way her husband cheated on her – frequently and with anything available. After the breakdown of her marriage 5 years ago, Miss Gray hasn’t really been the same – jumping from therapist to therapist like she’s on an emotional pub crawl.