Grange Hill. Series Seven – Episode Seven

grange hill s07e07

Written by Frances Galleymore. Tx 24th January 1984

Following Jeremy’s death there’s an episode of reflection.  This is more than we had after Antoni Karamanopolis plummeted to his death from the shopping centre roof – his fate was discussed in a very offhand manner in the subsequent episode.

It’s Jeremy’s unpopularity which is uppermost in the minds of N3 as it causes several of them to wonder if they were somehow to blame for his death. Diane, because of the prank he played on her in the science lab whilst Fay is upset because he died after diving into the pool to retrieve her necklace (true, he was the one who had thrown it in in the first place, but grief and logic don’t always go hand in hand).

Zammo, Kevin and Annette have yet to turn up and it’s interesting that Fay declares she’s never going to talk to Annette again. It’s true that if Annette hadn’t caused Miss Hartley to leave the pool then the tragedy might not have happened, but this is just another example of the children’s attempts understand a situation that was outside of their control.

Janet, sensible as ever, declares that talking about it can only help, whilst Miss Gordon – who had been listening outside the classroom – agrees. She tells them it was nobody’s fault, Jeremy had s weak heart and he simply stayed under the water too long.

Wild rumours are sweeping the school though (lurid tales that he committed suicide) whilst Mrs McClusky comments that there are (unseen) reporters outside the school gates. From Grange Hill’s point of view the upcoming enquiry will be a formality – had they known Jeremy had a heart problem then he would never have been in the pool in the first place, but no blame seems to be attached to the teaching staff.

If the lesson had been supervised than at the very least Jeremy would have been extracted from the pool a lot quicker. Would this have saved his life? Impossible to say, but it’s slightly remarkable that Mrs McClusky doesn’t seem to draw this conclusion from the sad events.

Mr Baxter feels responsible and tenders his resignation, which Mrs McClusky refuses. Good playing from Michael Cronin during this episode. It’s also a nice moment when Fay and the others try to raise his spirits. As Julie said earlier, they all have to stick together in times like these.

Zammo wasn’t present to hear Miss Gordon tell the class that no-one was to blame. He’s at home with a stomach-ache and no doubt thoughts and regrets whilst Annette seems to be totally unaffected. She breezes into class as if nothing’s happened, a sharp contrast to the subdued attitudes of the others.

But Annette’s brave face is nothing more than an act and she later breaks down. It’s another nicely played moment in a reflective episode that ranks as one of the strongest of series seven. It often seems to be the way in soaps that whilst the deaths of characters are dramatic high-points, it’s the aftermath that really allows the actors to shine.

And to lighten the mood a little we learn that Precious isn’t very good at cutting hair ….

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