Philip Gilbert is a fictional character from the E4 coming-of-age British sitcom The Inbetweeners. Portrayed by Greg Davies, he made his first appearance during the pilot episode "First Day", broadcast on 1 May 2008.
Gilbert is an archetypal head of sixth-form in a comprehensive school. Misanthropic and permanently bitter, he has no interest in his work and treats his pupils with utter contempt. As head of sixth form, he answers to the headmaster of the school. Physically, he is very tall and strongly built, which everyone finds quite intimidating, being described by Will as a "lunatic giant". He has a biting wit and sarcasm, which he uses to convey his hatred of his job and the children for whose care he is responsible. Will attempts to endear himself often with Mr Gilbert and is rebuffed. Mr Gilbert evidently wants a quiet life and rather than ensuring fairness between the children he merely defuses situations and moves on, often leaving things unresolved. He takes a particular dislike to Will from day one. In The Inbetweeners 2, Mr. Gilbert becomes engaged to Will's mother Polly McKenzie, which leaves Will shocked and horrified.
Physically he is very tall and strongly built which everyone finds quite intimidating, being described by Will as a "lunatic giant".
Mr Gilbert has a biting wit and sarcasm which he uses to convey his dislike of his job and the children for whose care he is responsible. Will attempts to endear himself often with Mr. Gilbert and is rebuffed – even on the one occasion when they both agree on something.
He hates his job and the students. He shows no interest in their education and welfare. On the few occasions he acts to stop wrongdoing (such as Mr Kennedy grooming Neil), he tends to defuse the situation without resolving the problems that caused it. He is sadistic towards students who get on his nerves, giving them unfair punishments or threats. An example for this was in the season 3 episode Will's Dilemma when Jay and Neil spotted Gilbert at Waterside shopping centre looking at cute, cuddly toys in one of the card shops. Jay could not resist calling out to him, and although they both ran away immediately afterwards (thus avoiding any immediate altercations), the pair deliberately dropped a hint about what they saw when Gilbert walked past them the next day at school, by muttering the word "Waterside" at him. Gilbert immediately gave them both a week's worth of after-school detention but ultimately rounded it up to four weeks when they protested. On a side note, this made Neil late for own his birthday party, which was later that very day.
Unlike most British schoolteachers, Mr Gilbert calls the students by their surnames ("McKenzie!"). This was once common in decades past, but today would be considered rude. He takes offence to being called "Phil".
Mr. Gilbert joined the long line of men and boys interested in a relationship with Will's mother when he heard she was internet dating an old friend. He remarked to Will that he might end up calling him "daddy" - an example of his psychological warfare with the children. In the second movie, Will's mother announces that she and Mr. Gilbert are in a relationship and at end of the movie she reveals that they are engaged.
Mr. Gilbert evidently wants a quiet life and rather than ensuring fairness between the children he merely defuses situations and moves on often leaving things unresolved. In Series 1, Episode 5, He even extends this reluctance to punish the guilty by accusing Will of being a "grass" when Mark Donovan tied him to a chair and put a bin around his head. He was about to tell Mr. Gilbert who was responsible when he cautioned Will that the correct response to the question "How did this happen?" was "I tripped".
The school has a problem teacher that is rumoured (and certainly appears) to be a homosexual pedophile. Mr. Gilbert keeps an eye on Mr. Kennedy to keep him out of trouble. It seems that he is less concerned about protecting the children than he is about protecting himself and the school from scandal, hissing at him "I'm putting my fucking neck on the line for you John" when he was caught trying to undress Neil after the fashion show.
When Will is bullied by his work-experience employer, Mr. Gilbert is confronted about it by Will's mother and Neil's father. During the meeting it is clear that he has trouble controlling his laughter when given the details - at one point having to excuse himself from the room so he can laugh out-loud. As an aside here; In this meeting, Neil's father does himself no favours in quashing the commonly held belief that he is gay.
During one of the summer exams, Mr Gilbert stops letting Will go to the toilet after he requests a toilet break for the fourth time in an hour. He then escorts Will out after Will soils himself. He also catches Jay bringing his phone into the exam hall. In a rare act of kindness, he opts not to disqualify Jay after checking the phone, even though he would have had the right to do so.
In Series 3, Episode 5, Neil, Jay and Simon playing the Wii when Will's mum says she's going away for the weekend with her college friend called Fergus on Facebook. Will was talking about his mother internet dating to the group when Mr. Gilbert walks into the common room. He asks Will if he could set her up with him and then calls him to his office about vandalism of the roundabout flower display (it said "welcome to our village" before the vandalism and it now says "we cum tit village"). He asks Will to find out who did it by Monday or else he will fuck up his UCAS form and the only university that will accept him is the University of Lincoln. He finds out who did it was Jay and Neil but is persuaded by Simon to not grass them up.
In the final episode, Neil tells the others it looks as though he is about to become a father and has no idea what to do or who to talk to. Will suggests that he talk to Gilbert about it, arguing that for all his flaws he is not a bad person and it is his duty to help the students with their concerns. Gilbert, however, proves to be as unhelpful as ever whilst simultaneously proving Will completely wrong. After Neil has explained everything in gory detail (much to Gilbert's clear discomfort) the moment he learns that this incident did not take place on the campus or with a fellow student he promptly tells Neil to "turn around, get out of my office, and we'll pretend this conversation never happened!" He scoff's at Will's comment about his duty and makes it very clear how much he despises his job. This reinforces Will's negative opinion about Gilbert even further.
In the movie, an early scene is of his farewell speech to the departing sixth-formers. Rather than a pep talk, it amounts to a selfish parting-shot to remind the children that he has no regard whatsoever for them now his legal obligations to them are fulfilled with a chilling warning that should his wish for no further contact be disregarded, he “can be one, truly, nasty fucker”. The final sentence of this speech crystallizes precisely his selfish view of his job: “Good luck with the rest of your lives – and try not to kill anyone. It reflects very badly on all of us here”.
The only time he is seen again is at the end of the film (after post-credits scenes) driving a quadbike drunkly in the streets of Malia, in a John Rambo style.
In a deleted scene, he is seen by Will and Simon wearing red skinny speedos and a school tie, drinking loads of beer like a stag, Will attempts to approach him but Gilbert waves his finger sideways before drawing his finger against his own throat, which implies if he gets near him, he will deliver his words to what he said at the end of the sixth form assembly.
Phil is only seen at the far end of the film, where he announces that he has been sleeping with Will's mother and in a relationship with her, much to the horror of Will and the amusement of Simon and Neil.
In the post-credits scenes, Polly shows Will a ring to which means she is getting married to Phil, Will then runs back to the terminal squabbling against the security to get back onto the plane to Vietnam to which he is easily wrestled to the ground by security.
Phil Gilbert is a recurring character on the show and has appeared in the following episodes;
- First Day (first appearance)
- Bunk Off
- Caravan Club
- Xmas Party
- The Field Trip
- Work Experience
- The Duke of Edinburgh Awards
- Exam Time
- The Fashion Show
- Will's Dilemma
- Home Alone
- Camping Trip
- The Inbetweeners Movie
- The Inbetweeners 2 (last appearance)
- In Home Alone, Mr. Gilbert overhears Will talking about his mother internet dating to which he expresses his delight for her and that she is his type, he openly mocks him by saying that one day Will could end up calling him Daddy.
- This is proven to be true, at the end of the second film, it is shown that he and Polly are engaged to be married to which Gilbert is now going to be "Will's Daddy".
- Greg Davies was a teacher once in real life.
- The character is named after a friend and colleague of series creators Iain Morris and Damon Beesley. The real-life Phil Gilbert is a TV producer who went on to work with Beesley and Morrison on several shows for their production company Bwark. As of 2017, he is working with their new company Fudge Park as the producer of "White Gold" starring "Inbetweeners" cast members James Buckley and Joe Thomas.