Written by Barry Purchese. Tx 5th February 1982
Annette’s especially annoying during this episode, although to be fair she was pretty annoying during the four years she spent at Grange Hill. Some pupils developed during their time at the school but Annette tended to always remain an irritant (although she was later granted the odd episode which explained that her behaviour was, in part, due to the abuse she suffered at the hands of her mother).
Here, she delights in needling Belinda. Everything about the Canadian seems to upset her – not least that Fay’s friendly with her. Annette’s extreme neediness (and the fear that maybe Fay might become more friendly with Belinda than with her) seems to be at the root of this.
The tale of the Grange Hill Phantom (who, according to the workmen, lurks in the tunnels below ground) catches Annette’s imagination and she asks Fay and Belinda to accompany her in a little investigating that evening, once everyone’s gone home. But Annette continues to annoy the world at large and this time she manages to drive Fay off, which leaves just her and Belinda.
It’s an unsurprising twist that when the two girls go underground it’s Annette who becomes the more frightened while Belinda steps up to take command which shows that Annette’s hard-woman act is little more than an act and it also gives Belinda a little leverage (as Annette will be anxious to keep her misadventures quiet). This might have been enough to pad out the episode, but Barry Purchese – somewhat unwisely – decided to throw a couple of burglars (played by John Blundell and Gareth Milne) into the mix.
They’ve been given the layout of the school by Gripper and have come to steal the cups from the trophy cabinet (which by a remarkable coincidence was discussed earlier). The pair are rather lacking in menace, and this section – as they get outsmarted by Belinda and Annette – is played for laughs, rather than drama.
The other notable part of this one is that following his first lines in the previous episode, Jimmy Flynn (Terry Kinsella) has a little more to do. Kinsella would become an instantly recognisable figure during his four years at Grange Hill – thanks to his impressive teeth – and would become a classic GH supporting character.