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EDITIONS
Friday, 15 November, 2002, 18:11 GMT
Revealing celebrity school reports
Dame Judi Dench
Dame Judi Dench: Out-of-this-world performance
A bad school report may be no bad thing, if the old reports of talented celebrities like Stephen Fry and Woody Allen are anything to go by.

A compilation of school reports - Could Do Better, edited by Catherine Hurley - reveals imagination and character were often frowned upon in days gone by.

Stephen Fry
Stephen Fry was expelled from school

"Judi would be a very good pupil if she lived in this world," said the head teacher of actress Dame Judi Dench, who stars alongside Piers Brosnan in the latest Bond film, Die Another Day.

Comedian and actor Stephen Fry was expelled from Uppingham School, having clearly tried the patience of teachers.

"He has glaring faults and they have certainly glared at us this term," his head master wrote.

And a six and a half year old Harry Enfield clearly had the gift of the gab.

"Very talkative. Unfortunately what he has to say is not always relevant," said one teacher.

Woody Allen
Woody Allen was advised to seek counselling

"It would seem that Briers thinks he is running the school and not me," said the head teacher of actor Richard Briers, who became a household name with the BBC series The Good Life.

"If this attitude persists, one of us will have to leave."

The verdict on Eric Morecambe by the head teacher of Lancaster Road Junior School was even more harsh: "This boy will never get anywhere in life."

He was later awarded an OBE.

Counselling

University tutors of director and actor Woody Allen suggested he consider therapy.

"While cautiously holding out some hope of readmission, suggested he seek counselling for his inability to take life seriously," wrote the reviewing board at New York University.

Sir Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Churchill: "A constant trouble"
The criticism does not stop at "luvvies".

Former Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill also received poor school reports.

"Is a constant trouble to everybody and is always in some scrape or other," said one of his primary teachers.

"He is so regular in his irregularities that I don't know what to do," wrote one of his teachers at Harrow.

Prophecies

But some of the school reports unearthed by Catherine Hurley proved truly prophetic.

"Carol has a masterly hold over mathematical computation which should prove profitable later on," observed the teacher of an eight-year-old Carol Vorderman.

Jeremy Paxman
Jeremy Paxman's stubbornness was obvious at a young age
The housemaster of BBC Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman said: "His stubbornness is in his nature, and could be an asset when directed to sound ends."

And his housemaster kindly offered the following advice: "He must learn tact while not losing his outspokenness."

When he left Quarry Bank School in Liverpool in 1957, one teacher conceded that a certain John Lennon may turn out "a fairly responsible adult who might go far".

Could Do Better is published by Simon and Schuster.

See also:

06 Sep 02 | Newsmakers
28 Oct 02 | Entertainment
06 Sep 02 | Entertainment
12 Dec 00 | Entertainment
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