RG Wickham (played by Roy Kinnear)
The headmaster of Hardwicke House possesses genuine kindness and consideration but is often taken advantage of. He would certainly wish to run an efficient, productive school that provides a bright future for its pupils but has long given up hope of that. He has little real control of the school and basically has to just muddle through each day as best he can. It's an uphill struggle for him due to the unconventional teaching staff he has to contend with. He is not respected by any of them but is actually quite useful to them because they can get away with pretty much whatever they like.
His main aim is to try to cover up blunders and at least minimise the chaos. He finds solace in alcohol, a secret stash of which he keeps in a cupboard in his office. It is also revealed that he is married; in a scene in the opening episode he receives a telephone call from his wife. Other than that, little is known about his private life and he is never seen at home (which is the same with all the characters).
Paul Mackintosh (played by Roger Sloman)
The deputy headmaster sports an unconvincing wig and views himself as a man of great integrity and competence, attributes which in reality he lacks. He is openly antagonistic to the headmaster, rarely missing an opportunity to needle him or make himself look impressive at his expense. However, he does often side with the headmaster in attempts to cover up blunders.
Paul is also something of a deviant miscreant and has an infatuation with Donna, a sixth form girl. Although he appears to slyly coax her in a discreet manner, he is never actually seen doing anything more than persuading her to dress in alluring outfits.
Due to his deviant nature, this character is probably the one who would cause most offence but when placed in context, he is no worse than a character from a "Carry On...." movie.
Herbert Fowl (played by Granville Saxton)
The English teacher is a cruel tyrant in the style of strict school masters from the Victorian era. He clearly has no affection for children and revels in opportunities to strike fear into them. He takes great delight in other people's misery and misfortune and seems to model himself on infamous dictators (in the second episode he is seen reading a biography of Franco, the oppressive ruler of Spain from 1938 to 1973). He particularly enjoys teasing and ridiculing Miss Crabbe, the French teacher.
He is a braggart, dubiously claiming that he has had 'elite military training' and that he could have been an outstanding actor in his youth. He considers himself to be superior to just about everyone, though he does pathetically try to ingratiate himself with the headmaster in order to enhance his own status.
Despite his intimidating presence and ruthless attitude, underneath Herbert is quite a snivelling coward. In the fifth episode, he is terrified at the prospect of facing two fearsome former pupils who he had sent to a borstal, and in the sixth episode he unashamedly grovels around a school inspector.
Erik "Moose" Magnusson (played by Duncan Preston)
The maths teacher is actually an exchange teacher from Iceland. However, his own school (and his country for that matter) do not seem to want him back and so he is essentially stuck at Hardwicke House. Why he isn't wanted back is a mystery.
He is rather loud and brash, and is really quite a dimwit, almost childlike. He has a likeness for eating raw fish and is happily ignorant of how he is perceived. There are no airs and graces about him.
Despite his comic potential, Moose remains a relatively minor character throughout the series, an unfortunate drawback of having such a large regular cast.
Dick Flashman (played by Gavin Richards)
The history teacher is a smooth-talking charmer with an eye for attractive ladies. He dresses as though he is a flashy playboy but it's doubtful he actually has the life of a playboy; he is too coarse for that. But what he does have is a sharp wit and a cunning mind. He can get away with just about anything and no one can fool him.
He is blatantly lazy, doing little actual teaching and is not hesitant to goad the pupils into doing everything for him. He likes a nice, easy life and knows just what buttons to push with different people for his own advantage.
Harry Savage (played by Tony Haygarth)
The PE teacher is Scottish and is something of a neanderthal. He is gruff, rugged and almost unintelligable. He is not particularly bright and his reading ability is questionable. He considers manliness and toughness to be vital traits, and his passion is clearly for football.
Interestingly, he is never seen taking a PE class during the entire series. Like Moose mentioned above, Harry is another character that unfortunately remains quite minor even though he has considerable comic potential.
Peter Philpott (played by Nick Wilton)
The geography teacher is a newcomer, having just graduated from teacher training college. He is hopelessly optimistic and brimming with enthusiasm. Sadly, he has no ability to control the pupils and his classes are utter mayhem. He is seen as having no authority or confidence and is browbeaten relentlessly. But despite being downtrodden, he keeps trying. Only Dick Flashman displays any sympathy, offering words of encouragement and advice.
He would dearly love to conduct a class that not only behaves itself but also shows a keen interest in the subject he teaches. From the beginning it is obvious that will not happen.
Towards the end of the series, this character takes an interesting turn. In the sixth episode, he is dejected when all his colleagues expect him to fail an assessment by a school inspector and his dejection is actually genuinely doleful. In the seventh episode, he finally snaps during the shambolic school play and shows real conviction in speaking his mind. But he is interrupted when he is about to announce to the audience what the school is really like, and then his fellow teachers round up on him. As this is at the end of the series, what happens next is open to interpretation.
Cynthia Crabbe (played by Pam Ferris)
The French teacher is a militant fanatic who often uses her classes to organise various protests, including constructing banners and placards. She attempts to manipulate the children into supporting her beliefs, rallying them to her cause, though she creates little passion or interest. She is certainly a left-wing socialist who backs many different causes, and usually seems to be planning a campaign about something or other. Her heart is in the right place and there is no doubt that she is sincere, but her extremism simply irks everyone.
She is easily offended and is often the butt of snide remarks by Herbert Fowl, whom she particularly despises. She also never hesitates to speak her mind and stands by her strong principles. But despite this, even she can succumb to the charm of Dick Flashman, who can coerce her with his sly flattery.
Slasher Bates (played by Kevin Allen)
The resident school bully is a mindless, violent buffoon. He is revealed to be twenty-three years old, yet is still at school, presumably because he has to keep re-taking his final year. His first name is Julian, which he dislikes, and he is easily provoked. He is openly rebellious and has his own small gang, who are even more gormless and dopey than he is (which is quite an achievement).
Even though he terrifies other pupils, he does not directly go up against any teachers, with the exception of Peter Philpott. He may be a buffoon but he knows where to draw the line. As far as the other teachers are concerned, he is viewed as a lost cause and as long as he doesn't act against them, they leave him to his own devices unless he goes too far.
Spotty (played by Paul Spurrier)
Spotty is the school's head boy and his nickname predictably comes from the fact that he is plagued by boils and pimples. He is the quintessential geeky nerd, and is meek and puny. He is a prime target for bullies such as Slasher Bates and therefore he aligns himself closely with the likes of Dick Flashman and Herbert Fowl; if he gains their favour by gratifying them, they will hopefully look out for him.
He is smart and means well, but this only makes him an oddity amongst the rabble that make up the other pupils of the school.
Donna (played by Cindy Day)
Donna is the school's head girl and it is doubtful that she gained such a status by any academic accomplishments. She is a foxy, sultry temptress who knows how to use her looks and her physique to have males wrapped around her little finger. She is actually only seen in two episodes (the first one and the last one) but she certainly makes an impression.
There is a strong indication that she is no 'dumb blonde'. It may appear that cads such as Dick Flashman and Paul Mackintosh are manipulating her but in fact it is she who is manipulating them. In her appearance in the seventh episode, she is not quite readily accommodating.
Agnes Higgins (played by Liz Fraser)
The school secretary has her own office and spends most of her time typing letters. She faces constant interruptions by the teachers and has little time for them, especially Herbert Fowl, who is often insulting to her. She is quite level-headed and is not easily fooled or afraid to stand up for herself. She is openly defiant to her boss, the headmaster, and is fully aware of his secret alcohol consumption (but it doesn't seem to bother her as long as it doesn't interfere with what she is doing). Occasionally, she is cajoled into sorting out various mishaps.
She is married to Ernie, the head caretaker.
Ernie Higgins (played by Mickey O'Donoughue)
The head caretaker is a rather uncouth, abrasive loafer. He acts as though he is a hard-working, dedicated employee who is burdened with a huge workload, though he never actually seems to be doing much at all. He is short-tempered and shows little respect or patience towards anyone, freely issuing insults. He considers himself to be the most important figure in the school. He has his own office which is kept in a terrible mess and is decorated with pictures of nude women.
He is married to Agnes, the school secretary.