Grange Hill – Series Ten, Episode Eleven

gramge hill s09e11 - 1

Written by John Godber. Tx 11th February 1986

Ziggy and Robbie are diligently collecting every scrap of chalk they can find, convinced that a grateful Duke of Edinburgh will be delighted with their efforts.  I love the way that most of the teachers – Mr King, Mr Kennedy – also swallow this story hook, line and sinker but suspicious old Mr Baxter proves much harder to convince.  It’s a small character beat, but it demonsrates that Mr Baxter has been round the block several times and doesn’t take anything on trust.

Calley’s school fanzine (or the school magazine as it now seems to be) has Mrs McClusky’s blessing, although she obviously wants some form of editorial control to be wielded by the staff.   This isn’t the sort of news that Calley, Ronnie, Laura, Fay and Julie want to hear, but Mrs McClusky – skilled politician that she is – seems to have gotten her way.  These days Mrs McClusky seems to be a more relaxed individual than the control freak of the early 1980’s, although possibly she’s just the same – it’s just that the ratio between velvet glove and iron fist has changed.  So whilst she may appear to be more conciliatory there’s still the same drive to ensure that she always gets her own way.

A little time seems to have passed since the recording of the previous episode (maybe there was a mid-season break?) as several pupils, notably Helen are now sporting new hairstyles.  But whilst Helen might look slightly different, she’s still Imelda’s yes-woman (Georgina remains Imelda’s maybe-woman).  Imelda’s latest wheeze is demanding money with maximum menaces – twenty pence from every first year and once they’ve paid up the edge of their timetable is clipped (confirming that they’ve paid).

This seems like a sensible plan, although there’s a few obvious flaws, not least the fact that some resourceful first-years clip their own timetables, thereby fooling the older girls.  This lack of forward planning, as well as Imelda’s own recklessness, spells the end for her as her scheme is rumbled and she’s suspended.  This gives the others a temporary respite, but she’ll be back …..

She did take a little catching though, as Mr Baxter and Mr Griffiths found out.  Still, once Mr Griffiths had a firm hold of her, Mr Baxter’s anger was enough to quieten her down.  This is another good episode for Michael Cronin – as we also see Mr Baxter share a few nice scenes with Ant and display disbelief that the Duke of Edinburgh would ever consider visiting a place like Grange Hill.

Georgina is distraught. Now that Imelda’s been caught she knows she will be next to face the wrath of Mrs McClusky.  What will her parents say?  Ant attempts to console her (this involves holding her close) but one again the fates are against him as Mr Bronson happens to walk by.  “In case you have forgotten, this is a school Mr Jones, not a harem!”

The viewer hardly has time to draw breath from this beautifully delivered line from Michael Sheard before the action ramps up several notches.  Mr Bronson pulls Ant from the bench where he and Georgina are sitting and eyeballs him – Ant then roughly pushes him away, causing Mr Bronson to fall over (naturally, his first action when he hits the ground is to check that his wig is still in place!)

What’s fascinating about this moment is that Ant claims that he never touched him when it’s plainly obvious that he shoved the teacher quite violently.  Ant may like to play the victim but the facts don’t always equate with this (as has been seen before).  Mr Bronson’s not best pleased as you might expect.  “You’ve done it now, Jones.  Assault, that’s what this is. Assault”.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen Mrs McClusky’s faithful, but non-speaking secretary, Janet. She has one of her finest moments here as Mr Bronson frog-marches Ant and Georgina into Mrs Clusky’s office and stammers that Ant assaulted him.  Although it’s when he divulges that Ant and Georgina were kissing that Janet pulls a wonderful face.  Lovely stuff!

Ant is given an ultimatum.  If he apologies to Mr Bronson then the matter will be considered closed.  But the headstrong Ant can’t bring himself to do so ……

gramge hill s09e11 - 2

Advertisements

Grange Hill – Series Nine, Episode Ten

gramge hill s09e10 - 1.jpg

Written by Sarah Daniels. Tx 7th February 1986

The temporary classrooms finally arrive – this spells trouble for Mr Bronson’s car which, if he doesn’t move it, is likely to be turned into a pile of scrap metal.  Mr Baxter is understandably not terribly concerned (believing that it would probably be worth more to him as scrap!) but eventually deigns to send the ever-helpful Janet up to the staffroom to warn him.

There’s obvious comic potential in the sight of Mr Bronson running to the aid of his car, which is heightened when it’s revealed that the crane driver is – wait for it – a woman (played by Holly De Jong).  Calley and Ronnie, watching from an upstairs window, debate the merits of female crane drivers (Ronnie wonders how on earth a woman could have possibility got such a job).  The reactions from the older male teachers are equally as nonplussed.  Mr Baxter blurts out “you’re a woman” to her.  She replies that yes she is, and wonders if he teaches biology!

Mr Griffiths’ hero worship of Mrs McClusky is always a joy to behold.  Here, she tells him that it’ll be some time before they can go back to the old school, so the temporary classrooms will be around for a while.  He’s not delighted at the news (“oh my god”) but the look of pleasure and pride on his face when she tells him that he’s the first person she’s told about this – ahead of all the staff – is worth the price of admission alone.  Puffing out his chest and standing straight like a soldier, he assures her that his staff will give the school their 100% co-operation.  If only everybody could be as easily manipulated as Mr Griffiths …..

Ziggy and Robbie continue their never-ending quest to gain revenge on Imelda.  This week it’s water balloons.  I don’t really need to tell you that this ends in total catastrophe for them, do I?  In other news, Robbie’s had a haircut.  Not the most thrilling nugget of information I know, but when watching the series back-to-back things like this stand out.

Speaking of Ziggy, he’s had a reply back from the Duke of Edinburgh.  Since he’s absent, Gonch asks if he can pop round to his flat to deliver the letter.  That sounds remarkably helpful, so you probably won’t be shocked to learn that Gonch plans to substitute the rather bland and non-committal reply with something much more creative – which will lead Ziggy to believe that the Duke will shortly be visiting Grange Hill and will be pleased to receive as many chalk ends from Ziggy as can be collected.

Will Ziggy fall for such an obvious falsehood?  Course he will!  To further their devilish plans, Gonch and Hollo visit a local newsagents to run off some blank headed paper with the Duke of Edinburgh’s crest, which will enable them to write their own letter.  The shop is a lovely time capsule of the period – complete with mouth-watering jars of sweets behind the counter (although they were surely an anachronism even back then) – and a friendly shopkeeper (played by the very recognisable Brenda Cowling) happy to help the two lads (she believes they’re working on the Duke of Edinburgh’s award scheme).

A slight sliver of reality is introduced when they bluff her that the Duke is interested in the travails of inner-city life.  She sympathizes with this and tells them that running a shop in an area like this is no joke, due to the amount of shoplifting that goes on.   It wouldn’t have been a surprise to see them take advantage of such a kindly woman and indeed Hollo does stuff some chocolate bars into his pocket when she isn’t looking, but Gonch (“how would you like it if she was your Nan?”) makes him put them back.  He has his standards then.

There’s a lovely visual gag as the pair exit the shop and run back to school.  They pass a church which displays an ominous sign (be sure your sin will find you out).  And since the sign handily tells us that it’s Leavesden Road Baptist Church, a quick skim through Google Maps will find the same location today.  When I’ve got the time it might be interesting to try and pinpoint some of the other GH locations from this era.

Zammo’s devious plan to convince his mother that he hasn’t sold her decanter (instead he broke it in an accident) is played out here.  Part one requires pinching a glass beaker from a lab assistant (played by Tom Keller).  Whilst we know that Zammo isn’t the most together of people these days, this is odd.  For one thing, the smashed beaker wouldn’t resemble in any way the smashed decanter and for another, it’s difficult to see how dropping the decanter a couple of feet would have caused it to break (surely for something that sturdily built it would have to have fallen from a great height).

It’s therefore more than a little interesting that Mrs McGuire seems to swallow this unbelievable story so readily.  True, she does wonder where the stopper is (Zammo, thinking quickly, tells her that he’s sold it) but otherwise Zammo’s plan seems to have worked.  Or has it?  There’s several different ways this scene can be interpreted – either Mrs McGuire does believe her son’s story or she can’t yet bring herself to confront his lies and evasions.

The disappearance of her bike (presumably stolen and sold by Zammo like everything else) is another of those moments where it’s left dangling as to whether she believes his protests of innocence or not.  What’s noticeable about this scene is that Zammo seems more together and lies more fluently than he recently has been able to do to Jackie (he also looks his mother in the eye, something he hasn’t been able to do with Jackie).  There are several possibilities to explain this – either he feels more guilty when he lies to Jackie or he’s recently been drugged up and is therefore temporarily back in control.  Nothing’s ever explicitly stated, so the viewer is left to draw their own conclusions.

gramge hill s09e10 - 2

Grange Hill – Series Nine, Episode Nine

grange hill s09e09

Written by Sarah Daniels.  Tx 4th February 1986

The overcrowding becomes chronic as Mr Kennedy is forced to conduct a drama lesson with G3 on the stairs. Most enter into the spirit of things although Laura isn’t pleased about the way having to squat on the stairs is dirtying her uniform whilst Danny just isn’t pleased. He makes it plain that he’d sooner be anywhere else but here – pretending to be a passenger aboard a spacecraft just isn’t his forte.

Ziggy and Robbie’s plan to gain revenge on Imelda continues.  They conjur up a noxious, sticky brew and are all set to deliver the killer blow.  I wonder what happens next?  Oh yes, Mr Griffiths just happens once again to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and ends up being the unwilling recipient of their hard work.  There’s an undeniable predictability about this, but a touch of knockabout farce is always welcome plus it helps to balance out the more serious themes elsewhere.

A fair amount of this episode takes place outside the school grounds. Therefore we’re presented with ample local colour as Ant and Georgina walk past the canal (with towerblocks in the distance) and elsewhere Jackie stalks Zammo down the local high street. The early series of GH had a strong inner-city feel, which has tended to fade away more recently, so these scenes help to reconnect the characters to their environment.

Mrs Reagan is convinced that all is not well with Louise’s family and asks Laura and Julia to investigate. Laura’s initially reluctant to act as a spy, but soon enters into the spirit of things.

But it’s Zammo and his problems which are dominating.  This episode gives Doug (Paul Vincent) his first dialogue – a few episodes back Jackie had spotted him and Zammo in the distance.  Just by looking at him we can tell that Doug’s bad news – and if any further evidence was needed, the way that he and Zammo rifle through Mrs McGuire’s belongings, looking for anything decent they can sell, should confirm our suspicions.

Doug finds slim pickings, but a cut glass decanter makes his eyes light up (Barry Manilow records less so). The flat scene was recorded on location rather than in the studio which means that like the previous location scenes it helps to firmly ground this episode in mid eighties London.

Mrs McGuire makes the first of her handful of series nine appearances next time.  It’s slightly odd that she’s been held back until this point as you’d have assumed there would have been a certain amount of dramatic mileage to be gained from her interactions with Zammo.  Maybe the intention was not to foreground precisely what Zammo’s problem was too soon, but it does feel slightly odd.

Zammo’s increasing isolation from his friends and family makes sense, but it’s notable that – Jackie apart – we’ve not seen anybody express concern about him.  Apart from the dramatic possibilities missed, this maybe sends out the wrong message – friends and family should be the ones primed to spot danger signs and then attempt to help. Maybe the message here is that had Zammo’s friends been more active the situation wouldn’t have spiraled out of control.

This was the first GH episode written by Sarah Daniels.  Daniels (b. 1957) came to prominence as a playwright in the early 1980’s and by the time that decade was over had penned a series of challenging plays, all of which had a strong feminist streak.  Critic Carole Woddis once called her “the only radical lesbian feminist to have made it into the mainstream”.

The same year that she debuted on Grange Hill, her play Neaptide was running at the National Theatre.  Neaptide has recently been performed again at the National as a rehearsed reading (it launched the National’s short Queer Theatre season).  It’s interesting to ponder whether the school setting of the play informed any of her work on GH.

Grange Hill wouldn’t seem at first glance to be the obvious television programme for her, but clearly she found working on the series to be stimulating, since she would go on to write sixty six episodes between 1986 and 2007.  This impressive unbroken run, stretching from series nine to series thirty (although for some reason she didn’t return for the series’ thirty first and final series), is easily her most substantial television contribution (elsewhere she penned a handful of episodes for EastEnders and Medics).

Grange Hill – Series Nine, Episode Eight

grange hill s09e08.jpg

Written by Frances Galleymore.  Tx 31st January 1986

The mark of a decent bully is how effective they are at extorting money from others.  Gripper was, of course, a past master at this – but so far Imelda has lagged behind somewhat.  So this episode gives her the chance to catch up as she decides that a piece of Gonch’s toast business would be very welcome.

Gonch is having none of this though, which makes him – and more especially his trousers – a target for Imelda and the others.  Have I mentioned that Imelda’s gang is nicknamed the Terrahawks?  That’s one up on Gripper who never had a name for his gang.

There’s possibly an article to be written about the number of times boys are relieved of their trousers in Grange Hill (although this isn’t the time or place you may be thankful to learn).  Imelda only wanted the money in Gonch’s pockets, so why she couldn’t have just reached in his pockets is a slight mystery.

No matter though as it’s an opportunity to show the usually self-reliant Gonch under pressure.  He can stand up to most people – the way he bats off the approach of Trevor and Vince (also keen to get a slice – sorry – of the toast action) is a treat – but Imelda’s a special case.

Ziggy’s also engaging in his own battles with Imelda.  Unfortunately Mr Griffiths is in the wrong place at the wrong time and becomes collateral damage (a bucket of paint on the head).  Mr Griffiths blames the innocent Ziggy for this, so there’s plenty of fist shaking and chases around the school as Frances Galleymore takes the opportunity to ramp up the comedy.  Ziggy and Robbie’s attempt to breach the girl’s changing room – all in the course of justice, naturally – is another entertaining scene. It’s also notable as the first real time they join forces – from now on the pair will pretty much be inseparable.

Prior to Imelda’s involvement, Gonch and Hollo’s toast business had been thriving although they had to deal with the odd consumer complaint (“There’s an earwig in my butter!”) Gonch attempts to pour oil on troubled waters by telling Jane that it was only a small one.

Georgina and Helen share another quiet scene. Georgina’s desire to break away from Imelda’s influence becomes ever more apparent whilst Helen continues to tread a fine line between the pair of them. Another oft-stated theme is repeated here – Georgina is keen to settle down and pass her exams, a statement which Helen reacts to incredulously. What’s the point in working when there won’t be any jobs for them after they leave school?

Mr Bronson’s cruel streak is very much in evidence.  A recent letter-writing initiative saw Roland write to Fabienne and – after he’s perused it – Mr Bronson asks the boy to read the letter out in class.  It’s somewhat personal in nature and the fact that Mr Bronson knew this but still asked Roland to proceed is a telling moment.

This is a rare visit to N5’s class. It’s not commented upon, but Zammo is very conspicuous by his absence ….

Grange Hill – Series Nine, Episode Seven

grange hill s09e07

Written by Frances Galleymore.  Tx 28th September 1986

Julia contnues to moon over Ant whilst Georgina continues to avoid Imelda.

Mr Bronson’s not a happy chappy (the overcrowded staff room is just one of many irritations). Some of the non-speaking extras are also dischuffed – banging down empty coffee containers in a petulant manner – but Mr Bronson is the one who voices the discontent many feel.

A solution to their problems has been found – portacabins.  But when they don’t turn up on time Mr Bronson isn’t terribly pleased (to put it mildly).  That he chooses Mr Baxter to be the recipient of his anger is understandable since he’s not foolish enough to tackle Mrs McClusky head on – so the pair once again lock horns in an entertaining fashion. As ever, Mr Bronson favours the direct approach, bluntly accusing Mr Baxter of using his position as deputy head to ensure that the sports department gets the best of everything whilst the rest of the staff suffer.

You don’t need to be a mind reader to work out that he’s entirely wrong (Mr Baxter has funded extra-curricular activities, like the swimming team, out of his own pocket). This is another clear sign of Mr Bronson’s character defects – if you’re going to accuse a colleague of misconduct it’s best to have clear evidence. Alas, he never seems to learn this basic rule.

Danny is the recipient of some decent dialogue which goes a little way to explaining exactly what makes him tick. Enjoying a smoke in the chemistry lab, he’s unabashed when discovered by Julia and Laura and goes on to explain his worldview. “That’s what it’s all about in an institution, breaking down independence, everyone joins in doing it”. Imelda, like Gripper before her, is the more obvious example of an uncontrollable pupil but Danny’s a little different as he flies under the radar most of the time. That he’s vocal about keeping his identity and not letting the system crush him might suggest that a close family member has recently seen the inside of a prison.

That old chestnut – two teachers squabbling over who should be in a certain classroom – gets another airing here. Mr Bronson is in possession and is disinclined to give it up in favour of Mr King. Mr Bronson crows about his victory somewhat after a passing Mrs McClusky suggests that Mr King could use part of the canteen, but his celebration is shortlived after Mrs McClusky (in her deceptively sweet way) makes it plain that maturity and tact are key to solving problems like this. Ouch!

Georgina is worried that she’ll be a target for Imelda, but Ant – continuing to play the alpha male – tells her not to worry, he’s got her back.  Bless!  If you haven’t guessed what happens next then you’ve possibly not been paying attention – Ant’s nemesis Mr Bronson once again appears at the most inopportune moment to harangue the boy – leaving Ant frustrated and Georgina forced to join forces with Imelda once more ….

Given that Mr Bronson is still smarting from the oblique rebuke he’s just received from Mrs McClusky, the arrival of Ant – seven minutes late – isn’t going to improve his temper one little bit. Ant has his familiar excuse (Mr Baxter) which serves as the trigger to send Mr B into meltdown. Michael Sheard hits the heights here (imagine this dialogue delivered by Sheard at full-throttle). “Aaaaaah, Mr Baxter! That explains everything. Every time you are late it is Mr Baxter’s fault. Why?”

Further delights are to be found after Mr Bronson tells Ant that they will settle this with Mr Baxter once and for all immediately after school. Ant, who has arranged to meet Georgina, tells him he’s not free. Sheard once again comes up trumps. “Not free? Change your social diary”. Wonderful stuff.

Ant is discovered to have been a little economical with the truth (Mr Baxter might have been the reason why he missed registration, but he still could have made Mr Bronson’s lesson on time) which means that the boy faces a double-pronged attack from both teachers who temporarily forget their own differences to turn on him.

Mr Kennedy’s letter writing lessons continue. Ziggy tells him that he plans to write to the Duke of Edinburgh. Remember this, it’ll become important later ….

Grange Hill – Series Nine, Episode Six

grange hill s09e06

Written by Margaret Simpson.  Tx 24 January 1986

Gonch has been a little quiet this year (although given the influx of new characters that’s possibly not too surprising).  But after a fallow period he comes roaring back to life here with yet another brilliant scheme – a sandwich-making business.  And Gonch being Gonch he starts off by selling shop-bought sandwiches at a profit.  Truly he is Pogo Patterson reincarnated.

But as we’ve seen so often, the life of the businessman is littered with pitfalls.  He has to find premises to maintain his sandwich production and it’s not surprising that his mother bristles at the way her kitchen has been turned into a café. So where now?

Gonch’s sandwich plan is a sound one – with no tuckshop and the canteen full to breaking point there’s a clear opening to make a little money. We drop into the canteen to see a green young teacher left at the mercy of the rather feral pupils (custard smeared on the tables and the likes of Imelda refusing to clear their table doesn’t help). The rest of the pupils also rush out – all but Laura and Julia, the goody-goodys! Tamsin Heatley, later to appear as Bella in The Tweenies, plays the very put-upon teacher.

Whilst it’s understandable that series nine is mainly remembered for Zammo’s heroin addiction, other interesting plotlines were also developed.  Possibly in any other year the relationship between Fay and Mr King would have generated more publicity, but with the blanket Just Say No campaign dominating the airwaves it’s understandable that Grange Hill’s first attempt to depict a suspect relationship between a teacher and a pupil seemed to pass by unremarked.

It’s gently teased out to begin with as we see Fay confide to Julie that she thinks Mr King is really nice (although she immediately denies that she fancies him).  Fay’s been here before of course, although her crush (if that’s what it was) on Miss Gordon back in series seven was handled in a understandably oblique manner. It’ll be a short while before this story develops, but the seed has definitely been sown.

It’s been a few years since the school magazine storyline has reared its head, but it makes a comeback here – with Calley keen to create a school fanzine.  Essentially this would be a school magazine, so the distinction between the two isn’t too clear – except there’s no doubt that she wouldn’t be inclined to run the content past the staff first.  Is this going to end well?  Hmm, I wonder.

Imelda has words with Georgina after Georgina’s relationship with Ant becomes public knowledge.  Quite what a nice girl like Georgina is doing hanging out with a nasty piece of work like Imelda is a bit of a mystery.  You can assume that she decided it was safer to be a part of Imelda’s gang rather than stay on the outside, but one drawback of S9 is the way that a number of new characters tend to rush through various plotlines.

When Denny appeared to turn his back on Gripper in S6 it carried a certain resonance as we’d seen him act as Gripper’s right hand man all the way through S5.  Georgina’s shifting allegiance doesn’t carry the same weight as we’ve only seen her in a handful of episodes.

It’s interesting that both Helen and Georgina are different – and nicer – people away from Imelda’s influence (although Helen’s still shown to be quite spiteful). They both cheer on Ant during the swimming gala (he, of course, wins his race. Mr Perfect, he is). Ant’s victory is the only highlight though, which irritates Mr Baxter no end.

Jackie’s suspicions about Zammo grow. He’s not only spent all the money she lent him but he’s gone ahead and sold his bike to Kevin anyway (she lent him the money so that he wouldn’t have to do this – or so she thought). Once again, Zammo can’t look her in the eye and this – together with his hesistant delivery – is a further sign there’s something up.

If he’s this disconnected most of the time then it’s hard to see how it could go unremarked during lesson time (unless Grange Hill’s teachers are spectacularly unobservant). But as yet, apart from Jackie it seems that nobody’s noticed there’s anything amiss with the boy.

grange hill s09e06-2.jpg

Grange Hill – Series Nine, Episode Five

grange hill s09e05

Written by Margaret Simpson. Tx 21st January 1986

The cramped, multi-class environment of the gym continues to be a stressful experience for teachers and pupils alike.  Mr Bronson stalks around from class to class, saying nothing but clearly far from pleased (signified by the way he taps his pencil in a frustrated manner).  He spends several minutes standing silently by Miss Partridge’s class and it’s instructive that although he observes that Danny is the one who’s being awkward, Mr Bronson’s ire is directed at Ant.

Miss Partridge is eventually able to convince him that Ant was blameless but it’s intriguing that Mr Bronson is clearly shown to victimise Ant without any evidence.  The way that Mr Bronson targets certain pupils is something of a running thread during his time at the school (Zammo, Ant and – later – Danny).

But if Mr Bronson’s intervention was partly due to his disdain for Ant, then Miss Partridge is convinced that it also had something to do with the fact that she’s a woman (“I wouldn’t mind but he didn’t interfere with Peter King’s class”).  Mrs Regan sympathises.  Mr Glover, a school governor, blocked her application to become head of sport, although quite how he could do this isn’t clear.

Now that Mr Baxter is a suit (deputy head) he finds himself a target as few of his colleagues are happy with the current state of affairs.  He weakly wonders whatever happened to the Dunkirk spirit, although that doesn’t seem to go down terribly well (Mrs Regan’s whispered “men” signifies what she thinks, although this isn’t really an argument that can be divided across male/female lines).

There’s a slight lapse in continuity here.  Last episode we were told that the old Brookdale building couldn’t be reopened because it had been extensively vandalised but this week we learn that it’s half way to becoming a multi-story car park.  Presumably a similar fate has befallen Rodney Bennett, as nobody ever mentions using that school on a temporary basis.

We haven’t seen Zammo since episode three.  There we learnt that he’d sold a present given to him by Jackie, now he’s on the verge of selling his pride and joy – his bike – to Kevin.  He’s clearly on a downward path – when Jackie speaks to him he’s hesitant and can’t look her in the eye – but it’s still not clear what his problem is.  Jackie is still prepared to stand by him and is happy to give him all the money she has in her post office savings account – twenty five pounds.  He’s grateful and promises to pay her back, although it seems unlikely.  It’s noticeable that they only feature very briefly across the twenty five minutes.  This may turn out to be the dominant plotline of series nine but it’s being set up in a very sparing manner.

Trevor is convinced that Julia Glover fancies him.  No, really.  This is even more unlikely than an Ant/Ronnie team up, but it sets us up for the inevitable comic reversal later.  Trevor has a brilliant plan to get a little on-one-on time with the woman of his dreams, he and Vince will rock up to Cheryl’s party, complete with a bottle of cider (lovely touch that) and blag their way in by claiming to be guests of a non-existent friend who’s already inside.  What could possibly go wrong?

This scene between Trevor and Vince is a delight.  It’s very much in the tradition of Laurel and Hardy where one – Laurel/Vince – is stupid and the other – Hardy/Trevor – is even stupider but thinks he’s cleverer.  Trevor’s promise to tutor Vince in the art of female seduction is a mouth-watering one (“watch me at the party, watch a master at work”) as is the way Trevor casually straightens his tie in a knowing manner.

With a little help from Paul Young on the stereo, the party at Louise’s is soon jumping although older sister Cheryl (Amma Asante) disapproves.  Asante must be one of Grange Hill‘s most distinguished former pupils as she’s gone on to enjoy an award-winning career as a director.  Belle (2004) and A Way of Life (2013) have both picked up numerous awards.

Luckily Kevin’s acting as a bouncer, so Trevor and Vince have to skulk off home and sadly we’re denied the opportunity to see Trev’s skills as a lothario at first hand.  Pity!  Kevin later acidly sums them up as “Meat Cleaver and Planet of the Apes”.  Harsh but fair.  Ant is more successful in gaining admittance, although given his comment (“I’m the drummer with Duran Duran, but I’m incognito tonight”) I feel that Kevin was well within his rights to give him a slap anyway.

Unable to catch Ant’s eye, Julia finds solace with alcohol instead.  It’s plain that this isn’t going to end well and so it proves with Mrs Regan forced to pick up the pieces.