Grange Hill. Series One – Episode Seven

grange hill s01e07

Written by Phil Redmond. Tx 22nd March 1978

Perhaps the most significant part of this episode concerns Michael Doyle’s (Vincent Hall) transfer to Mr Mitchell’s class. It’s spelled out very early on that Doyle is bad news (he and his friends were bullying other pupils so it’s been decided to split them up).

Over the next few series he’ll lock horns with Tucker time and again, but in this episode he’s more concerned with Ann Wilson, who’s running for election to the school council. First though, she has to win the vote from her form (which she does, beating Tucker into second place).

It’s a shame that Lucinda Duckett didn’t return for series two, but it’s clear to see that her character (serious, hard-working) was simply re-created several times – firstly with Penny Lewis and then later with Pamela Cartwright. It’s quite possible to imagine Ann Wilson doing everything that Penny Lewis later did – clashing with Doyle, writing endless articles for the school magazine, etc.

Her path to election success isn’t straightforward though, as Michael Doyle uses all the tricks in the book (including intimidation) to ensure that his preferred candidate wins. But after a last minute adjustment to the voting (which I’m not sure was strictly legal) Ann is declared the winner.

This episode sees the first of three appearances by Carole Nimmons as Miss Mather. Nimmons has had a long and successful career, which includes the rather good series Bird of Prey, starring Richard Griffiths.

One thought on “Grange Hill. Series One – Episode Seven

  1. I’m not sure how far the whole election was governed by law. Were school council elections mandatory at the time or a fad of individual schools?

    The election does have a lot of elements that will be familiar to those involved with them – joke candidates, cynical attitudes to local government, canvassing, populist undeliverable promises, poster wars, vandalism, media write-ups, indecisive voters who muck up ballot papers, Returning Officers who screw up the declaration and an incredibly tight marginal result (the third placed candidate only four votes behind the winner). It also has the corrupt and illegal practices of “treating” (offering food and drink) and “undue influence” (intimidation of voters) and a challenge to the declared result.

    And yes the way the challenge is handled would not be legal in a public election. The grounds for the challenge are good – an accusation of “undue influence” by the candidate and his campaign manager (who a court would recognise as the agent) using threats to get votes. But the Returning Officer’s power is limited and they can’t simply overturn results there and then. Nor would you change a result simply on the basis of an accusation that someone thinks is credible. Instead you have to bring a formal challenge known as a “petition” supported by either another candidate in the election or by four people eligible to vote with a special election court hearing the case and deciding whether the initial candidate is “duly elected”, whether it was an “undue election” (another candidate won the valid votes) or a “void election” (the seat is declared vacant and the poll rerun).

    Liked by 1 person

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