Grange Hill – Series Ten, Episode One

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Written by Barry Purchese.  Tx 6th January 1987

As is usual with an opening episode, there are various arrivals and departures to be dealt with.  Freddie Mainwaring (Simon Vaughan) is an on-screen newcomer who quickly makes an impression.  He’s a supremely confident forth-former who thinks nothing of chatting up the sixth form girls.  He has his eye on Jackie but she seems less than impressed.  Julie is casting an interested glance his way though ….

As we’ve seen with other characters before, Freddie’s someone who’s been at Grange Hill for a while, he’s just never made it onto the screen.  So Freddie fancies Jackie who doesn’t seem interested in Zammo at present.  Jackie doesn’t fancy Freddie but Julie does (although Freddie is unaware of this) although he’s currently going out with Julia.  Meanwhile Banksie continues to fancy Jackie and, surprisingly, they’re together at present.  Got that?  Good.

Mr Baxter’s departure is explained to the audience in a slightly clumsy way.  Ziggy seems unaware that he’s left, leaving Robbie with the task of explaining that during the last assembly of term it was announced he would be departing Grange Hill to run a sports centre.  Since Ziggy was present, how has he forgotten this?  Was he asleep?  Possibly it would have been better if we’d been told that Ziggy wasn’t present when the original announcement was made, that way it wouldn’t have seemed such a gratuitous info-dump.

There’s a mixture of uniforms – both old and new – on show.  This is a realistic touch as it wouldn’t be credible, money-wise, if every parent had instantly shelled out for the new kit.  We’re told that everyone has until half-term to buy the new uniforms.

With Mr Baxter gone, Mr Bronson is the logical choice to fill the vacant position of deputy head.  Although with Miss Partridge as Head of Studies it’s plain right from the start that they approach the concept of teaching from very different positions.  For Mr Bronson it’s all about rigidity and discipline whilst Miss Partridge is more concerned about creating an atmosphere where the students can develop as individuals.  No doubt sparks will fly!

Mr Bronson is a three R’s man, ridiculing the laissez-faire attitudes of the past, where, he contends, basic concepts such as reading and writing were ignored.  Miss Partridge has a less rosy view of old-school (sorry) teaching methods.  Some things, like canes, are best consigned to history along with “learning pointless facts for useless tests which bear absolutely no relation to the world outside”.

The new sixth-form premises, a converted junior school, doesn’t meet with much approval – especially since most of the facilities are still pint-sized.  Banksie delights in wondering how Roland will manage on the very small toilets ….

We don’t see Zammo until we’ve become reacquainted with the other sixth-formers.  Given the fact that they don’t mention him it’s possible to surmise that he’s still going to be absent from school.  Therefore his sudden appearance in the common room comes as a jolt (which no doubt was intended).  The needle between him and Banksie (a running theme of S8 but virtually absent from S9) is restated here, but the new, clean, mellow Zammo isn’t interested in rising to his bait.

Gonch’s temporary absence (we’re told he’ll be away for a couple of months) has created a temporary power void which Trevor and Imelda are both keen to fill.  Had Gonch been a bully this would have been a little easier to understand (it’s hard to imagine either Trevor or Imelda indulging in any of Gonch’s money-making schemes).  Imelda has a score to settle with virtually everyone (she has a hitlist, with Ziggy’s name on top).

So whilst Imelda’s unchanged from last year (possibly a little worse) it seems that Trevor’s undergone something of a transformation. Up until now he’s been a fairly half-hearted bully at best (and virtually human at other times) but in this episode he’s rather unpleasant.  This is only a temporary blip though as he’ll revert back to his more unthreatening persona over time.  But for now he’s in bully-mode – and calls a truce with Imelda (this is confirmed by the way he leaves his former friend Vince in her delicate clutches)

Mr Scott (Aran Bell) has a baptism of fire as E3’s new form tutor.  We’ve seen teachers struggle before (Mr McGuffy, Mr Knowles) but usually it’s only been a temporary blip – within an episode or two they’ve managed to gain the respect of their pupils.  Mr Scott will have no such luck, as his struggle to maintain order plays out across the majority of series ten.  From his first appearance you can tell that he’s going to have a major job on his hands and Bell is good at showing Mr Scott’s anxiety (the way he clutches the timetable as well as his hesitancy and slight air of helplessness).  The wolfish grin that Imelda casts in his direction makes it plain that she’s going to delight in making his life a misery ….

Imelda still has the loyal Sharon to rely on (although not for much longer, as this rather undeveloped character will exit after the next episode) but where is Helen?  Georgina was the first of Imelda’s gang to leave and Helen is now the next.  At times last year it seemed that she wanted to break free but lacked the courage to do so.  Now she’s finally decided to do so.

It’s time for Harriet the donkey to rear her head again.  Mr Griffiths decides to hide the donkey on site as he can’t bear the thought that otherwise she might have to pay a visit to the glue factory.  Ziggy and Helen quickly become his loyal helpers (clearly Mr Griffiths has forgotten that he spent most of last year pursuing Ziggy for various misdemeanours – both real and imaginary).

Ziggy and Helen have a slightly rocky road before they see eye to eye – but eventually they bond over their mutual love of Liverpool FC.  Ziggy’s passion for his hometown team makes sense, but why is Londoner Helen a supporter?  Today, of course, nobody would bat an eyelid at this, but once upon a time it was considered bad form not to support your local team.  Although Ziggy seems more concerned that, being a girl, Helen obviously can’t know the first thing about the beautiful game.

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Grange Hill – Series Ten, Episode Two

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Written by Barry Purchese.  Tx 9th January 1987

The cramped sixth form common room means that everybody seems to be getting on everybody else’s nerves, although Banksie is the one who’s picking up most of the flack.  No tea, dirty cups, a spoon left in the bag of sugar and used tea bags not put in the bin are the main bugbears.  He can’t be guilty of all of these crimes but he’s the quickest to react and angrily storms off.

So far so typical then.  But later, when Banksie’s alone in the room he admits to the recently arrived Miss Partridge that he was in the wrong – he just couldn’t bring himself to admit this in front of Zammo.  The simmering rivalry between them isn’t really developing at present though, mainly because Zammo’s not interested in fighting – he’s more concerned with knuckling down and passing his resits.

Banksie’s taking a CPVE course (completely pointless vocational education as he dubs it).  Although it’s teased out that this is something he feels faintly ashamed about (some might not see it as a “real” qualification) Miss Partridge is able to explain that it offers practical, real-world experience which he may find has a positive impact.  This ties back to her comments in the previous episode, where we saw her as an advocate of this type of teaching.  Fay and Zammo, by resitting their O Levels, are placed more in Mr Bronson’s camp – where ultimate success or failure is determined by your ability to deal with the pressure of exams.

Meanwhile Mr Scott is continuing to find class control a problem.  He only has a couple of rotten apples – Imelda and Trevor – but they’re enough to cause chaos and confusion.  A male/female bully partnership isn’t something we’ve seen in GH before, which makes it a little noteworthy.  It’s obvious that Imelda wears the trousers though, leaving Trevor content to trail in her wake.

The battle between Imelda and Mr Scott is something which develops during the first half of series ten.  Here, Imelda’s very much got the upper hand – totally unwilling to acknowledge Mr Scott’s authority – and had Mr Kennedy not entered the room (keen to speak to Imelda about another of her misdemeanours) then goodness knows how the situation would have escalated.  With Imelda temporarily removed, a semblance of peace is restored but it can’t be seen as any sort of victory for Mr Scott.  He shouldn’t feel too bad though, since Mr Kennedy isn’t able to make any headway with her either.

A later staff-room conflab between the two teachers sees Mr Kennedy attempt to raise Mr Scott’s spirits.  What the younger man is going through is something that they’ve all had to deal with – it’s just a case of getting through this first, difficult period.  Many of them, he’s told, felt utter failures during their first term, but they survived and prospered.

Chicken Man gets a rare mid-episode outing as Mr Griffiths eyes up a vacant shed on the school lot.  I wonder what he’s planning?  Hmm, do you think the booklet he’s reading (How To Look After and Care For Your Donkey) has anything to do with it?  Be warned, Harriet is coming ….

With Trevor and Vince no longer speaking, the forlorn Vince teams up with an equally bereft Hollo (who’s still waiting for Gonch’s return).  There’s another changing of the guard as the previously inseparable Robbie and Ziggy are briefly split up as Ziggy, Helen and Mr Griffiths get further involved in Operation Harriet.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen computers in the school (at one point they only seemed to own a single one!).  It’s not surprising that by the mid eighties they’ve become more widespread (colour monitors as well) but the computer class is partly just an excuse for Imelda to cause yet more trouble (“she’s completely crashed the memory”).

Ziggy also uses the class as an opportunity to destroy Imelda’s hitlist by feeding it into a dot matrix printer.  No, I don’t understand this either – the printer’s not a paper shredder – but since many people would still have been fairly computer illiterate at the time I think we can forgive them this slight touch of dramatic licence.

Today’s computer class is quite a productive one as Calley then accidentally hits on a new language – by substituting ‘Andrew’ and ‘Barry’ for any time ‘A’ or ‘B’ is included in a word, what appears to be gibberish can easily be decoded (provided you know the trick).

Miss Booth attempts to convince Danny that a mural on the wall of the local community centre would be a decent project to get involved in.  She dangles the carrot that they’d both be in charge, although he’s somewhat disbelieving on this score.  For a moment it seems as if he’s mellowed, but he’s still the same spiky individual underneath, unable to respond positively to anybody (at least not to begin with).  Why Miss Booth continues to indulge him (is he the only talented artist in the school?) is a curious point – possibly she sees art as the best opportunity he has to lead a fulfilling life (academically gifted he’s not).

Although as we’ll see, Danny’s story will develop in various unexpected ways during the next few years.  A little groundwork is done here as he tells Miss Booth that he’s a twin (or was) as his brother died when he was born.  All his life he’s carried a burden of guilt – he lived, his brother died – and this trauma has convinced him that he’ll always be a loner.

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Grange Hill – Series Ten, Episode Three

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Written by David Angus.  Tx 13th January 1987

Trevor continues his hard man campaign.  He’s now attracted a posse of silent henchman who stand menacingly behind him as he carries out his low-level reign of terror.  The first example of this is when he attempts to rip Ziggy’s pools coupon.  Well I said it was low-level …..

Good old Mr Griffiths is on hand to stop things escalating, but he has an ulterior motive – he needs to inform Ziggy about the latest steps concerning Operation Harriet.  Ziggy needs his right-hand man – Robbie – involved and after some persuading the reluctant Mr Griffiths agrees.  Ziggy paints an attractive picture of Harriet to the uncomprehending Robbie.  “You’ll love her. Big ears, big teeth, hairy legs”.

Quite how Mr Griffiths has been able to sneak in several bales of hay with nobody noticing is a slight mystery and there’s a close shave when Mrs McClusky comes wandering past.  Cue comic innocence and spluttering from George A. Cooper.

Mr Scott’s attempt to take the register is once again scuppered by Imelda, although the rest of the class (apart from Ronnie of course) don’t help. This is followed by a brief scene of Robbie and Ziggy boisterously battering an unfortunate extra as they all rush down the stairs.  There’s something very early-Tucker like about this moment whilst it’s also noteworthy that the boys are characterised here in a non-verbal way (aggression) whilst the girls following them – Ronnie, Calley, Jane – proceed at a much slower pace and are articulate as they debate Imelda and the negative impact she has on their lessons.

The school magazine plotline from last year didn’t really develop, so it seems to have been quietly shelved in favour of a radio station.  In this episode it’s simply an embryonic idea suggested by Danny but since it clearly has the potential (like the magazine) to disseminate information that the staff would sooner not be made public, we’ll later see how it’s able to cover similar ground.

Quite why Danny – who loathes Grange Hill – would be keen to launch a radio station is a slight mystery.  But it’s easy to see why he wants to get his hands on the new GH staff handbook (he’s made it plain in the past that he regards the school as an organisation designed to crush and normalise the pupils).  But since it’s for staff only he’s going to be disappointed – unless somebody can somehow lay their hands on a copy …

Given that Mr Bronson would clearly be upset if they fell into the wrong hands, why did he entrust them to Vince and Hollo?  They’re reliable enough, but with tedious inevitability they run into Imelda who scatters them far and wide.  And wide enough so that Freddie can scoop one up.

The handbook – a synthesis of the differing approaches of Mr Bronson and Miss Partridge – doesn’t fill the rest of the staff with joy.  One of its purposes (no doubt this came from Mr Bronson) seems to be to increase the amount of paperwork.  As Mrs Reagan puts it.  “Who needs lessons when we can all enjoy ourselves filling in forms?”

Possibly Mr Bronson’s most contentious decision is to introduce pupil profiles (which naturally they won’t be able to see).  Both sides of the argument are then expressed.  Mr Bronson is adamant that the staff shouldn’t feel inhibited about what they decide to write about an individual pupil but the counter-argument is obvious – if the comments are fair then the teacher in question should have nothing to worry about by having the files read by pupils and parents.

It’s almost as if this has been designed deliberately to inflame relations between the staff and pupils.  Although it seems to be mainly Mr Bronson’s handiwork it clearly has the approval of Mrs McClusky.  This maybe shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise as whilst her authoritarian streak has been less pronounced in recent years, she’s never been hesitant in drawing a clear line between staff and pupils.

The episode ends with Mr Griffiths pointing at a map he’s painstakingly made, which shows the journey Harriet will have to take from the stables to the safety of the school.  No, I don’t know why he’s drawn a map either. Can he, Ziggy, Robbie and Helen pull this daring rescue operation off?  They all hurrah in a somewhat unconvincing way (not the most compelling end of episode moment ever) but we’ll have to wait and see.

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Grange Hill – Series Ten, Episode Four

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Written by David Angus.  Tx 16th January 1987

It’s been a while since we’ve observed Mr Bronson at work.  Unsurprisingly he still continues to rule his classes by fear – and today it’s the unfortunate Julia who has to shamefacedly admit that she’s made an error.  Mr Bronson stands close-by, twiddling a pencil whilst haranguing Julia about her general level of carelessness.

Danny’s had enough of this oppressive atmosphere and decides to make a break for it.  This is plainly connected to his – as yet – undiagnosed illness rather than just another example of his normal lack of disconnectedness.

I wonder what happened to Zammo and Jackie during the holidays?  Since they don’t seem to have seen each other, not a great deal, which is a slight oddity given the way we left them at the end of S9.  In the penultimate episode we saw that Jackie still cared deeply for him, she just couldn’t bring herself to attempt a visit.  Her position had softened considerably by the final episode but after that it appears that Steven Banks, for all his character faults, appealed to her as the steadier prospect.

So Jackie and Banksie are currently an item, although he – with his usual lack of self-esteem – complains that he never feels welcome whenever he goes to visit her family (although since they probably still remember the stock-car crash from 1985 that’s not too surprising).  There’s still a spark between Jackie and Zammo though, so everything seems set for a slow reconciliation between them.

Mr Kennedy, once again sharing his lunch with the pupils, is mildly intrigued by the prospect of Danny’s radio station.  He’s also able to lend a sympathetic ear to Louise’s concerns that she won’t be able to talk on a chosen subject for ten minutes.  Rather neatly, Louise decides to talk about her new family life.  This is a clever way of confirming that she’s now getting along fine with her aunt and uncle, but since it’s done during the course of a lesson it doesn’t feel like a forced question from one of her friends.

Although Mr Kennedy’s clearly a caring teacher, he doesn’t notice that Danny’s far from well during this lesson.  It’s hard to miss – his general wooziness and rapid blinking – so quite how this doesn’t get commented on is a slight mystery.  Freddie’s in the background wearing a concerned expression, but I’ve already got the feeling that this plotline has been stretched about as far as it can go.  Surely by now somebody would have spotted the signs?

Let’s check in with Operation Harriet.  After Mr Griffiths loads the donkey aboard his van, there’s no room for Robbie and Ziggy who are forced to run back to school.  At one point the boys hear a loud braying from the van (“well it’s not Griffiths is it?”) and dash over to investigate.  They pass a couple of bemused bystanders who I think were genuine passers-by rather than extras.  Some of the other baffled old-dears they pass might have been extras though, given the amount of head-shaking they do.

So none of them considered the possibility that a donkey might want to make donkey-like noises?  Okay.  Bear in mind that we’re only at episode five and Harriet doesn’t take her final bow until episode twenty, so we’ve got a long, long, way to go ….

Ant’s back.  He’s only visiting, although his visit takes him and Danny straight to Harriet’s stable.  Why did he decide to poke about in that particular shed?  Some sort of sixth sense?  I’m trying to be generous but the saga of Harriet is already beginning to wear a little thin.

Still, the sight of Mr Griffiths attempting to manoeuvre his van containing the donkey past Mrs Reagan’s netball team is a mildly amusing one.  That Harriet obligingly moves into the frame as Mr Griffiths is circling the playground was either a stroke of luck or a nicely directed moment.

For the second episode in a row we close on the four musketeers – Mr Griffiths, Robbie, Ziggy and Helen – although this time they’re toasting their success.  It’s as oddly directed as the previous episode closer though.  This time, Mr Griffiths and the others burble on for a few seconds about nothing (a brief spot of improvised chatter maybe?)

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Grange Hill – Series Ten, Episode Five

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Written by David Angus. Tx 20th January 1987

We saw several times last year that Zammo appeared to have kicked his drugs habit, only for his (fairly transparent) lies to be quickly found out.  So when Jackie sees him handing over money to Howard and Doug she naturally thinks the worst.

Zammo – for once – is blameless, but convincing Jackie isn’t easy.  Although given that she and Zammo are no longer an item, neither should be that bothered about what the other thinks.  Except it seems inevitable they’ll get back together (had they not, it would have been something of a surprise) so this scene serves as evidence that Jackie – despite her previous polite indifference – still cares deeply for Zammo.

He’s more blatant, telling her that he can’t cope without her. But such obvious emotional blackmail doesn’t cut any ice with her. Not yet anyway …

Danny’s continuing to have regular swooning fits.  And still everybody is slow to react.  To be fair, the staff – with the notable exception of Mr Bronson – are beginning to wonder if something is wrong (although somebody really should have done something by now).  Unsurprisingly Mr Bronson simply believes the boy is displaying his usual inattentiveness and contempt for authority and places him on report.

Mr Scott’s hanging around the staffroom, five minutes after the bell has gone, clearly wishing he could be anywhere other than Grange Hill. You can’t blame him – since Imelda, sporting a portable(ish) radio is intent on causing trouble. And Mr Scott’s plaintive “not in here Imelda” isn’t going to cut any ice with her.

Mrs McClusky shows her human side by offering Zammo and Fay, revising for their resists in the library, some moral support. They’re both feeling a little low – as they’ve effectively dropped down a year they now feel isolated from the rest of the sixth-formers. Or maybe it’s just that both are still pining for their lost loves – Jackie and Mr King respectively.

Donkey Watch. Harriet isn’t the quietest of beasts (which the milkman – making his early round delivery – notices). Ziggy dreams of being a manure king – but unlike Gonch (who would have been concerned only making a profit) Ziggy plans to sell it in order to buy more food for Harriet. It’s the perfect circular solution.

Exercise is going to be something of a problem though, so Ziggy and Helen knock up a disguise.  What they come up with is very silly – never mind, just another fifteen episodes and we’ll be able to bid Harriet a fond farewell.  Mrs McClusky is somewhat surprised to discover a pile of dung on the path. I love the way that Mr Griffiths, walking beside her, casually looks up into the sky. Was anybody convinced by his suggestion that a very large bird was responsible? I don’t know, but it’s a nice comic moment.

Meanwhile Roland has suddenly turned into a remorseless hardman, casually blackmailing Mr Griffiths as if he’d had years of practice.  Having found out about Harriet, Roland uses his knowledge to force Mr Griffiths into finding them a larger common room.  Cue indignant spluttering from George A. Cooper as Mr Griffiths eventually realises he’s been outmanoeuvred and is therefore forced to accede to Roland’s request. But first he has to vent his feelings to Harriet. “Terrible thing blackmail. Once you give into it, they’ve got you”.

Now that Harriet is becoming more and more ubiquitous, surely it can’t be long before she’s discovered?  Well yes, but that’s not the end of the story …..

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Grange Hill – Series Ten, Episode Six

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Written by David Angus.  Tx 23rd January 1987

Vince and Hollo continue their partnership, although it’s somewhat low on excitement.  Last time Vince, still smarting that Ziggy hadn’t paid back a pound he owed him, decided to steal his bag in retaliation.  Hollo, the peacemaker, returns Ziggy’s bag and gives Vince a pound (claiming it came from Ziggy, when in fact it was Hollo’s).  What the absent Gonch would have made of this cavalier attitude to money is easy to guess ….

Imelda continues to needle Mr Scott.  During registration she delights in playing her radio at full blast. Now that all her Terrahawks have deserted her, Imelda has Natasha (Patsy Palmer) for company. No doubt due to her later career (like many other Grange Hill students she ended up in Albert Square) Palmer is one of the most distinctive extras of this era.  Often seen lingering in the background and very occasionally granted the privilege of a line or two.

Relations between Imelda and Mr Scott then sink to a new low after she smashes a flask during his chemistry class.  This sort of destructive disruption isn’t something we’ve seen too often before (although the S1 Tucker Jenkins could be something of a handful during lessons) since the likes of Gripper seemed to play truant more often than they attended classes.

The fact that Imelda seems to have a decent attendance record is therefore a little noteworthy.  She clearly prefers to be in school causing trouble rather than pounding the streets with nothing to do.  The question is, how long can her behaviour be tolerated?

Ronnie asks Mr Kennedy if she can be moved to another class, but he’s somewhat noncommittal.  It would certainly solve the immediate problem for this class, but it would simply mean that the problem was elsewhere.  This may be why he’s not keen, but it’s also obvious that Imelda’s only really a problem in Mr Scott’s class. It’s not stated out loud, but both know that he’s the weak link.

After spending a few episodes as an unpleasant bully, Trevor seems to be regressing back to his usual buffoonish persona. He crows to Ziggy and Robbie that he picked more score draws than they did on the last pools coupon (Trevor’s gang of unsmiling hangers-on also appear to have disappeared).

Mr Kennedy’s convinced that Danny’s recent strange behaviour could be drugs related. Eh? He says that the parallels between Danny this year and Zammo last year are obvious, but I’m not seeing them. Mr Bronson rules out drugs – to him, Danny’s the same as he’s always been. “Moody, willful, insolent”. He’s not a fan then.

Julia’s not happy that Freddie’s ignoring her in favour of Julie.  And Julia being Julia, she tends to express this in a slightly whiny way.  Clearly she hasn’t yet realised that she’s well shot of him (there’s only one person who Freddie loves – and that’s Freddie himself).

Speaking of Natasha and her occassional allocation of lines, as we were earlier, she gets one in this episode. Slightly oddly she’s talking to Julia (generally third and second years wouldn’t mix – we’ve never seen them together before that’s for sure) and she offers Julia this sage advice, re Freddie. “I don’t think he’s worth it, you should forget about him”. Classic stuff, as is the way that Natasha looks longingly at Freddie even after she’s just slagged him off!

Radio Grange Hill hits a small snag when it becomes apparent that several hundred pounds will be needed in order to install the free equipment in order to get it up and running. But Roland, who’s struck up an instant friendship with Danny, has some ideas.

Zammo continues to teeter on the edge. Last time his meeting with his old druggy friends was innocent – this time it’s not. He’s able to fluently lie about it to Jackie though (deception is something he’s become very good at). He sits in the toilet, a packet of some unhealthy substance in his hand. Does he succumb? It’s not obvious, but Jackie – alone in the common room – is instantly aware that something’s up with him. This moment – slightly oddly – serves as the moment of their reconciliation.

Donkey watch.  Having clearly tired of annoying Mr Scott, Imelda now sets her sights on the unfortunate Harriet.  Imelda threatens to expose Mr Griffith’s donkey secret to Mrs McClusky which results in a frantic chase as Ziggy and Robbie desperately attempt to stop her.  I wonder if the audience were cheering her on though?!

Earlier Harriet was continuing to make loud donkey noises (which Mr Griffiths attempted to cover up by coughing loudly or blaming the heating). Hmm, much as I love George A. Cooper this is a storyline which tries the patience.

Eventually Mrs McClusky does discover Harriet in all her glory but decides that she can stay.  Maybe Mr Griffiths should have been upfront to begin with (it certainly would have saved us a few episodes worth of running about).  No matter, we got there in the end.

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Grange Hill – Series Ten, Episode Seven

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Written by Rosemary Mason.  Tx 27th January 1987

You have to feel a little sorry for Banksie.  After pursuing Jackie for the last few years he finally got his wish – as they became an item – only for her to now dump him without a word.  At the end of the last episode we saw him discover the truth (he angrily wobbled away on his motorbike).

He’s back on his bike at the start of this one, as he catches up with Jackie on the way to school.  It seems that Jackie hasn’t even told him it’s over to his face (and since she’s clearly been pining for Zammo all this time, possibly she was never interested in him in the first place anyway).

This means that Banksie’s not in the best of moods so when he’s subjected to one of Mr Bronson’s “You boy!” he reacts in a typically truculent manner.  This is the first “You boy!” we’ve heard in a while – nice to have it back on the school timetable again.  Mr Bronson isn’t happy that Banksie’s brought his bike into school (motorised transport driven by pupils is strictly forbidden on school grounds) whilst Banksie’s clearly not pleased at being spoken to as if he was a small child.

But Mr Bronson’s main interests are elsewhere.  He’s very irked (to put it mildly) that Danny threw his diary into the fishpond (Danny’s response is that he won’t need it anymore).  This scene is shot behind Mr Bronson – we see Danny through the crook of Mr Bronson’s arm – which is an usual framing device (normally GH tends to be rather plainly directed with few interesting flourishes).  The meaning behind Danny’s statement isn’t spelled out, so for now we remain in the dark.

We meet Mr Kendall (Chris Saunders) who’s come to the school ostensibly to talk about the radio scheme but he – like Mrs McClusky – also wants to discuss Danny.  Rather embarrassingly they’re at complete cross-purposes.  She believes that he’s going to confirm that Danny’s on drugs – well he is, but only because he’s very ill.  It seems more than a little foolhardy to suggest to a parent that their son is a drug addict without any firm proof.

Roland, Danny’s instant best new friend, happens to be eavesdropping outside the office and hears everything.  Treatment is available – via a special unit in Aberdeen – but it will incur costs, so Roland immediately heads off to do a spot of fundraising.  So in an instant Danny has changed from being an enigma to some and an irritation to others.  From this point on he’s the recipient of sympathy from all.  Even Mr Bronson.

Mr Scott’s registration period remains a battleground.  Today Imelda mercilessly teases Ronnie about her unrequited passion for the teacher.  This is illusionary of course (we’re not heading down the Fay/Mr King road anytime soon) but it helps to keep the pressure stoked up.  A non-verbal signifier of Mr Scott’s continuing discipline problems can be seen on the blackboard, which is covered with scrawled messages (remarkably none of them are rude).

Banksie continues to carry his black mood into Miss Partidge’s lesson.  A spot of role-play allows him to articulate his anger at being cast aside by Jackie (a bad move that Miss Partridge elected to pair the two of them together in an exercise which cast him as a surly waiter and her as a customer).  And if this doesn’t entertain then you can always just sit back and admire the jumpers worn by the extras.

Roland’s transformation from an outsider and misfit (seen during 1982 to 1984) to a rounded member of the school community (from 1985 onwards) continues here.  He’s passionate about the radio station – partly because he thinks it’s a good idea but mostly because he wants to fulfil Danny’s wish – and his gift of the gab means he’s able to blag some free cable from a local electrical shop.

He marshals some of the others – such as Robbie and Ziggy – into helping, although things don’t quite go the way they should have done.  Some runaway cable provides a limp comedy moment which comes complete with a prat-falling milkman.  And then it turns out that they took the wrong cable, although it’s hard to blame them for this mistake as surely one lot of cable would look pretty much like another.

Grange Hill are collecting bottles, so Vince and Hollo decide to pick up as many as they can.  Remember what I said about their largely excitement free plotlines?  I miss Gonch.

Donkey watch.  This was shaping up to be a Harriet-free episode, but no she makes a brief appearance at the end as a stroppy Imelda lets her roam free.  It looks as if Harriet was responsible for damaging Mr Bronson’s car but he decides (with no evidence) that Banksie was responsible.  We’ve been here before with Mr Bronson jumping to conclusions ….

Mr Bronson enters the sixth form common room just as Banksie demonstrates his unique way of dealing with dirty coffee mugs – he throws it against the wall, smashing it to pieces (“now no-one will have to wash it up, will they?”)  Mr Bronson doesn’t like that. “You, vandal! My car and now this!”  The truth later comes to light as he spies a large pile of donkey droppings by his car (weren’t they there before?).  “She will have to go” he mutters.  Yes please.

grange hill s10e07-2