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Ex-Spalding Grammar geography teachers Steve Lane and Chris Thompson are back in action as 'Johnny English' for our photographer Tim Wilson




Two former Spalding Grammar geography teachers have become surprise celebrities after re-enacting scenes from the latest Johnny English film.

It all came about after the film’s star, Rowan Atkinson, appeared on BBC One’s The Graham Norton Show telling viewers that his character is now a geography teacher in a ‘small Lincolnshire school.’

The BBC’s Look North East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire programme got in touch with retired Spalding Grammar geography teacher Chris Thompson (59) – and asked if he’d be willing to recreate scenes from the latest film.

Geography teachers Steve Lane and Chris Thompson as 'Johnny English' at Spalding Grammar School (4913135)
Geography teachers Steve Lane and Chris Thompson as 'Johnny English' at Spalding Grammar School (4913135)

Chris agreed and on the day of filming, Steve Lane (55), who still works at the school in an admin role and covers classes when needed, was asked if he’d like to also take part.

The pair were filmed bringing to life one of the scenes from ‘Johnny English Strikes Again’, the third film in the franchise.

In the clip first Steve, then Chris, stands at the front of a class of students holding a Martini glass.

They then each repeat the words spoken by the bumbling MI7 agent: ‘You’re looking particularly beautiful tonight.’

Geography teachers Steve Lane and Chris Thompson as 'Johnny English' at Spalding Grammar School (4913153)
Geography teachers Steve Lane and Chris Thompson as 'Johnny English' at Spalding Grammar School (4913153)

The class of students then chant the words back and give their feedback on both Mr Lane and Mr Thompson’s performances.

“He’s far too sensible and I don’t think he’s suited to the role,” one student quipped after Steve’s performance.

“He’s more of a ladies’ man, more like Johnny English,” was the feedback from a student after Chris’s performance.

But both Chris and Steve took it on the chin.

The pair were both former students themselves at the grammar school and knew each other when pupils.

Chris said the whole thing came about as he used to be a union rep at the school and was contacted by his boss Ken Rustidge who said the BBC were looking for former geography teachers to film the piece.

He said: “At the time I was approached I had no idea what it was all about. But I think the piece they filmed came across well.

“I think they did a great job – but I was obviously taking the brunt of it the next day from my former colleagues who were repeating the line ‘Ching!’”

"It was just supposed to be a bit of fun.

“I have seen the latest Johnny English film and I thought it was very good – the best of the three.”

And Steve said: “I think they did a great job – but I was obviously taking the brunt of it the next day from my former colleagues who were repeating the line ‘Ching!’” (The word spoken by Johnny English when he raises his glass).

Head teacher Steven Wilkinson added: "I was called out of the blue by Look North to ask whether I'd be prepared to let them use the school for this item.

"They had already made contact with Chris Thompson through other means and, because this is where he worked for over 30 years, they thought it would be nice to use the school for the filming.

"I told them that I had a second retired geography teacher still on the staff as well, if they wanted to make something of that.

"I didn't know what they were going to do other than the editor had told me that they did have the idea that they wanted to recreate the classroom scene from the trailer. So, I had arranged a room and a group, but, other than that, we were flying a little by the seat of our pants on the day - creating props and tracking down the old school hand bell, for example.

"I certainly had no idea that I was going to be interviewed as part of the spoof!

"I'm happy we were able to accommodate Look North - it provided a bit of light relief at the end of a long and taxing term, and I think everyone involved is happy with the final result."

The piece was broadcast on BBC’s Look North East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire programmme on Wednesday evening (October 17).

Click here for the video footage of the pair in action.



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