Grange Hill. Series Six – Episode Sixteen

grange hill s06e16

Written by Jane Hollowood. Tx 25th February 1983

Roland’s (pretend) sprained ankle means that, to his great delight, he’s unable to take part in any more activities with the others.  Instead he’s set another task – to bake some Welsh bread, cover it with Welsh jam and butter, eat it on a Welsh hillside and then compose a poem.  Mr Price stumbles across the dozing boy, who’s baked a very decent loaf of bread but hasn’t got very far with the poem.  Maybe, Mr Price says, that’s because he’s used New Zealand butter!  It’s another nice scene for Roland and it does suggest that the trip has been a positive experience for him.

Diane also eventually enjoys herself, as she tackles the canoeing with gusto and she’s also on hand to spot that Zammo’s in difficulty and raises the alarm.  This is another example, though, of how lax the supervision is.  Simon spends his time nattering to one of the other children about a hole in their canoe, totally oblivious to the fact that Zammo’s floundering about in a capsised canoe.

But it’s a well-directed sequence by an uncredited Kenny McBain (who also directed the previous episode).  Since McBain was also the producer he didn’t receive a directors credit – a not uncommon thing to happen on BBC credits at the time.  With the camera placed close to the stricken Zammo, there’s a real sense of how dangerous and unforgiving even a fairly shallow piece of water can be.

It also has to be observed that Miss Mooney filled out a wetsuit very well, to the obvious amusement of Mr Baxter!  This was to be Lucinda Gane’s penultimate episode as Miss Mooney.  After GH she’d pop up in a few more series (notably as a regular in Mapp & Lucia) before dying at the far too early age of 55 in 2005.

The others are sampling the delights of abseiling from a great height – although Mr Baxter is far from keen.  It’s another nice comedy moment for Mr Baxter who knows he can’t back down – the loss of face would be more than he could bear – but his genuine terror is also quite apparent.  In the end he plucks up his nerve, goes for it and is clearly relived when he’s back on terra firma.  A nice touch is when Janet asks him if he was scared.  He tells her he wasn’t scared, he was terrified.

The disco in Mr Price’s barn allows Miss Mooney and Mr Baxter to show the young ‘uns how it’s done as they strut their stuff to Wot by Captain Sensible.  It’s a memorable end to the episode as the music and dancing plays out over the closing credits.

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