Written by Phil Redmond. Tx 15th February 1978
Mr Foster is something of a monster. There’s a slight resemblance between him and Mr Baxter (who is introduced in series two) but whilst Mr Baxter could be hard and uncompromising, he also had a kindly side. There’s no kind side to Foster (the amount of physical abuse he inflicts on the children is disturbing) . As a games master he’s strict and unrelenting – every pupil must have precisely the correct kit or they don’t take part in the lesson.
This brings him into conflict with Benny, who can’t afford to buy either a school uniform or a games kit. This is a particular problem since Benny wants to take part in the football trials, but without the correct kit Mr Foster won’t let him. His new friend Tucker comes to the rescue though, “borrowing” Justin’s sports top (I do like the way that Tucker never thinks to offer him his own!)
This still leaves the question of football boots. It’s nice that Mr Mitchell brings up the question in class and asks everybody if they have any suggestions since it helps to build a feeling of community. Ann Wilson (Lucinda Duckett) offers him her hockey boots – they’re not quite the same as football boots, but they’re better than nothing.
Eventually we see Mr Foster turn a blind eye to the hockey boots and he allows Benny to take part, but the fact he’s been so obstructive doesn’t reflect well on him. Mr Mitchell’s already told him that Green is a talented footballer and everything we’ve seen so far would suggest he’d be an asset to the school-team. So the fact that Mr Foster would be prepared to deny him a trial because he doesn’t have the right kit is rather petty-minded (you know that Mr Baxter would place ability over clothes any day).
Making brief appearances in this one are Perry Benson (later to become a familiar television face) and Brenda Cavendish as the games mistress. As a fan of Public Eye, it’s always nice to see Brenda Cavendish pop up in any other series.