The school from hell is back. Buzz goes on set to investigate....
Quick history lesson: Kicking off in 1954 with The Belles Of St Trinian’s, the girls-school-from-hell chucklers managed to be oh-so shocking throughout the ‘50s, the series surviving for five films before 1980’s The Wildcats Of St Trinian’s extinguished it for good. Until now.
Reviving St Trinian’s today appears likely to arch far fewer eyebrows than back in the day – even with its gaggle of first-formers. So with one of the new brood proclaiming Trinian’s ‘07 as a film “for the Heat generation”, Buzz is slightly dreading the kitsch caper in store, not least Rupert Everett in drag as the new Miss Fritton. But, in the name of duty, we tramp through a field in Harrow, hoping to be shocked by what the alluring young actresses cast as cliques of Chavs, Emos and Posh Totty have to say.
“We’re seductresses and we’re obsessed with men,” proclaims Posh Totty leader Tamsin Egerton. “We have a sex line and a website.” How risqué is your sex-line chatter? “It’s pretty explicit!” laughs Amara Karan, currently starring in The Darjeeling Limited. “We say our nipples are erect, that sort of thing. Indirectly...” “We’re in our underwear in one scene,” chimes Antonia Bernath. Neither she nor Karan are schoolgirl age but beg for their actual yearage not to be revealed… “We need to be older,” says Bernath, “because otherwise men are going to find it a bit embarrassing to fancy us, especially if they’re sitting next to their daughters!”
Next stop: Emo queen Paloma Faith, a singer-songwriter who claims 12,000 friends on MySpace. “The Emos sell drugs that bridge the gap between the agony and the ecstasy and a strong form of Viagra called Poke.” Buzz encounters more tales of on-screen drug-taking and teen sex, but discovers there is a smoking ban in effect. Not off camera, mind, fags sparking up between takes. Brit model Lily Cole, who plays geek Polly, eyes us suspiciously when we approach: “What do you want to know?” she demands. Your views on the Size Zero debate? “I’m enjoying myself,” says Cole. “I’m taking it all lightly.”
Which is how it should be. Brits are king at saucy, self-deprecating humour and Buzz walks off feeling that if they pull it off, this modernised St Trinian’s could be a Blighty take on Mean Girls. Last word goes to the head girl, played by Gemma Arterton. “It’s more ASBO-y than the originals. But if people are expecting it to be hardcore, it’s not. It’s innocent.”