Written by Phil Redmond. Tx 1st March 1978
Episode four was the first (but certainly not the last) time that Grange Hill found itself courting controversy. This centered around the unsupervised swimming lesson which saw Tucker and his friends running amok in the pool.
Given that there were two teachers, Mr Mitchell and Mr Malcolm (Christopher Coll) on duty, it does feel slightly contrived that both of them were absent. The reason why one of them had to leave (a boy injured his foot) is reasonable enough, but when he only suffered a fairly small cut, did they really both have to carry him away?
Tucker, Benny and Alan decide to throw some of the benches into the pool and have a race – whilst being cheered on by the other boys. The only one who doesn’t join in is Justin (who’s no doubt still smarting from the fact that Tucker stole his trousers during their previous swimming lesson). He runs off to find the caretaker and when Mr Malcolm returns he has his own way of dealing with the miscreants.
His punishment (a ban from swimming for three weeks and a detention) does seem incredibly lenient though – anything could have happened in his absence and it’s remarkable that there’s no further action taken. Perhaps this is because Mr Malcolm is well aware that he and Mr Mitchell were at fault and considers it to be best to leave things as they are.
Tucker would later turn into something of a loveable rogue, but he’s simply a rogue here. His wild behaviour would continue in episode six, but the events there seem to finally bring him more into line.