Written by Phil Redmond. Tx 16th February 1979
Following SAG’s recent disruptions of school-life, Mr Llewellyn has instigated various procedures which he hopes will tighten up the pupils behaviour. These include a zero-tolerance policy on late arrivals – which means that Mr Baxter is present at the front gate, making a gleeful note of every latecomer!
This is bad news for Tucker, who turns up some twenty-five minutes late. Partly this is because he’s missed the bus, but it’s also because he was waylaid by three Brookdale boys on the way to school. The running battles between the Grange Hill pupils and the Brookies would be a recurring theme during the next few years and even when the schools were merged in series eight the arguments and fights would rumble on for a time.
Tucker, Benny, Alan and Hughes are at their most boisterous in this episode. A spot of fighting during lunch time is spotted by a teacher who decides they can drop a letter off at the secretary’s office since they’ve clearly not got anything better to do. Tucker decides that if they do they won’t have time to go to the chippy, so Benny pops the letter into his blazer pocket to deliver later (the fact they don’t deliver the letter straight away seems set up to be important, but it later turns out to have no bearing on the plot).
They’re just as uncontrollable when they get to the chippy. Tucker declares that he won’t have the chop-suey as he’s convinced that cats and dogs are put into it. Instead, he decides he’ll have something that you can be sure is fine – a sausage (even though Hughes tells him that it’s made up of sawdust!). Tucker’s slitty-eyed impersonation of the Chinese owner of the shop (highly politically incorrect of course) proves to be the final straw and all of them are forced to leg it.
More battles with the Brookies on the way back to school result in them taking Benny’s blazer. This means that Tucker, Alan and Benny have to infiltrate the enemy territory of Brookdale in order to retrieve it. As they pace the unfamiliar school corridors, there’s a rare use of incidental music to heighten the tension. Since music wasn’t something the series used at this time it’s a little jarring to hear it in these scenes – but it does help to enhance this largely dialogue free section of the episode.
This episode is rather a throwback to the rough-and-tumble Tucker of series one, but since there hasn’t been a decent Tucker-centric episode for a while it’s a welcome one.