Grange Hill. Series Seven – Episode Ten

grange hill s07e10

Written by Barry Purchese.  Tx 3rd February 1984

Although Mr Smart started series seven by pledging to be more approachable, he doesn’t seem to have made much progress.  Mr Howard and Miss Gordon look on as Mr Smart frog-marches Zammo and an older boy into the corridor.  He caught them fighting and it was Zammo who threw the first punch.

Mr Smart, with his usual tactic of bellow first and ask questions later (if at all), isn’t prepared to listen to what Zammo has to say.  Lee Macdonald does a good job of showing Zammo’s distress – the boy is visibly panting and unable to articulate clearly.  The reason for the fight – the older boy made a joke about Jeremy – stops the teacher in his tracks and as Miss Gordon takes charge of Zammo, Mr Howard attempts to smooth things over with Mr Smart.

Mr Smart is aware that yet again he’s made something of a hash of things.  But Mr Howard is exactly the wrong person to try and gently point this out – since he’s everything that Mr Smart isn’t.  Mr Howard is calm, friendly and approachable, which is why so many pupils – including members of Mr Smart’s form – prefer to come to him with their problems, which irritates Mr Smart no end.

Off-screen, Roland’s money-lending business has become a part of McClaren Enterprises.  This makes sense – Jimmy and Nigel are just the type of people who delight in collecting debts – and Jimmy sees a further chance to make a little money.  The upcoming sponsored walk might not be a race, but he still intends to run a book on who’s going to win.  Kilvert (Howard Selfe) is the red-hot favourite and Roland collects plenty of bets.  Unfortunately Kilvert isn’t interested in a cut of the proceeds if he promises not to finish first.  Which leaves both Roland and Jimmy with a problem …

Rumblings that Grange Hill might merge with Rodney Bennett and Brookdale are heard, but the key part of the episode concerns the innuendo directed at Fay.  What was implicit in earlier episodes is now very explicit, as Mandy, Sarah and Annette all delight in mocking the girl.  Envy might play a part – Fay is an all-rounder, good at most sports – but plain nastiness seems to be the main reason.  Mandy goes the furthest – suggesting that Fay isn’t interested in boys and likes to hang around the changing rooms in order to watch the other girls (she also mentions that she wouldn’t hang about in the showers with her).  Fay’s infatuation with Miss Howard is mentioned again, but there’s never been any evidence – it just appears that the others have put two and two together to make five.  It’s very disconcerting to see Annette, who’s supposedly Fay’s best friend, take part in this bullying, with only Julie prepared to fight Fay’s corner.

Zammo and Jackie run into Gluxo again.  It’s hard to take Gluxo  seriously because he’s such a cartoon villain, but for once he doesn’t attempt to cause Zammo any harm.  Instead, he gives him a letter for Jimmy McClaren.  An invitation for Grange Hill and Brookdale to meet and settle their differences in the old fashioned way – a big punch-up!

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