Written by Alan Janes. Tx 17th February 1981
If there’s a theme to this episode it’s how existing friendships are put under strain as new relationships develop. Alan and Susi are now very much an item – which is an irritation for Tucker who finds himself rather isolated. It also annoys Alan who becomes tired that Tucker’s hanging around when he wants to spend time with Susi.
Alan and Susi head off for the lunchtime judo club and are surprised to see two new recruits – Tucker and Doyle. Doyle’s made an appearance to save himself from a detention whilst Tucker, of course, is only there because Alan is.
Both Tucker and Doyle are teamed up with experienced hands – Alan partners Doyle whilst Susi takes on Tucker. Both the newcomers are blithely confident – with Tucker stating out loud that it doesn’t seem a fair contest. Susi agrees, telling him that she’ll go easy!
As might be expected, both Tucker and Doyle find themselves on the floor several times (“come here often?” asks Tucker as the pair are thrown down yet again). But whilst Tucker isn’t perturbed about being bested by Susi (instead he’s interested in more lessons) Doyle is very keen to exact revenge on Alan.
A scuffle outside finds Doyle and Robbo in possession of Alan’s judo kit, which they sell for a small profit to Junky Meade. It does somewhat stretch credibility that not only does Alan not realise he’s lost it but that Tucker (completely innocently) later buys it. Still it does give them a chance to partner up again as they exact their revenge on Doyle.
Another friendship that’s drifting apart is Trisha and Cathy’s. Trisha remains an active campaigner for better conditions in the school – with her latest mission being to persuade Mr Thompson that if the pupils take food into the common rooms they won’t leave any mess for him to clean up. Unexpectedly he completely wrongfoots her by being very agreeable to the idea – telling her that since she politely asked his opinion he has no qualms (and that he enjoys a nice sandwich himself!). It’s a rare moment for Timothy Bateson to show a more human side to Mr Thompson.
As for Cathy, she’s still heavily involved in the pop group – along with Gerry, Ruth and the others. She’s got them a paying gig, but they’ll need to bunk off school in order to get there in time. Cathy hits on the bright idea of telling Miss Peterson that her grandmother’s died, which is fine until the teacher talks to Cathy’s brother Gary. When he tells her that their grandmother died six years ago you know that Cathy is in a heap of trouble.
Rewatching series four, it’s quite noticeable that not many episodes have a film/studio mix – instead there’s a number of all-film episodes (as with episode fourteen) and the rest are studio based (like this one). It’s quite an interesting production choice which doesn’t occur very often in the future (except for those episodes away from the school which were all location based anyway).