Written by Margaret Simpson. Tx 27th January 1981
The rumour that school uniform might be brought back is naturally not viewed with much enthusiasm by the pupils. Trisha, as one of the prime-movers in ensuring it was made optional is particularly perturbed. Amongst the first-years it’s also discussed, but here it’s used more as an excuse for Pogo to bait Richard Marks.
Marks, like Benny Green before him, comes from an impoverished background and would therefore struggle to afford to buy a school uniform. There’s something rather disquieting about watching Pogo bait Richard, partly due to Pogo’s unflattering nickname for him (“Pongo”) but also for the reactions of the other members of the class – who are all happy to laugh along with Pogo at the unfortunate Richard.
But this is a scene where Miss Mooney shows a little steel. Up until now she’s been portrayed as rather a scatter-brained and ineffectual teacher, but after Richard leaves the room (she asks him to take the register to Mr Keating) she rounds on the remainder of the class. “Well I must say I’m appalled at what I’ve just heard. I can think of nothing more small-minded than getting on to a boy or a girl because they come from a poor home.” And she reserves most of her ire for Pogo. “What a spoilt, smug little boy you are Douglas Patterson. Have you ever stopped to think for a moment what it must be like to come from a home less privileged than your own?”
Cathy’s continual lateness and lack of attentiveness has become something of a talking point among both her friends and the staff. Lyndy Brill is rather good in these scenes – she manages to give Cathy just the right amount of insolent disdain, even when she’s talking to her favourite teacher Mr Sutcliffe.
But whilst Cathy exhibits little interest in any school affairs, her best friend Trisha is the complete opposite. She becomes the third year school council rep and persuades Justin to take the vacant boys position (which has remained empty since Michael Doyle’s dismissal at the end of series three). And as the next school council meeting has a motion tabled by Mrs McClusky to reintroduce school uniform it’s possibly just as well that Trisha was present. Mrs McClusky’s irritation at not being able to immediately have her own way is quite evident and she’s then further dismayed when everybody votes to use several empty classrooms as common rooms.
The mystery of Cathy’s lateness is explained – along with Gerry, Ruth and a couple of boys they’ve restarted their group and so spend all their available spare time rehearsing. Miss Peterson offers to see if she can find somewhere for them to rehearse during the lunchtime – and that way Cathy might be able to concentrate on her lessons.