Written by Phil Redmond. Tx 8th February 1980
There’s quite a lot going on in this episode. Penny is unhappy that she can’t contribute to the school magazine (following her article on Doyle) but perks up when she realises that Susi can contribute material they can write together.
Andrew Stanton’s parents continue to have marital problems – it’s a piece of incidental story colour that doesn’t seem to be developed at this time, but will eventually pay off in series four when it’s revealed that Andrew’s father has left (taking Karen with him).
There’s also more discussion about the proposed Outdoor Centre, but most of the running time revolves around Benny’s participation in the trials for the district football team. His hopes for selection aren’t helped by the fact that they’re being run by Mr Wainwright (Bernard Kay) who is clearly favouring his own pupils from Brookdale.
It’s always a pleasure to see Bernard Kay of course and the football sequences also paint an interesting picture of late seventies inner-city London life. Location-wise, Grange Hill would change over the years as production moved to different areas (most dramatically, of course, when it moved to Liverpool for the last few series). The match also takes up a fair few minutes and the only dialogue we have to guide us are Gary Hargreaves’ off-camera comments and criticisms.
Benny gets picked but he then has face a dilemma from Mr Baxter – does he choose to play for the district or the school?
The recent (far too early) death of Terry Sue Patt gives this episode an extra poignancy. Benny would tend to fade into the background (or not even appear at all) during series four, so this is one of the last Benny-centric episodes we’ll see.