Grange Hill. Series Four – Episode Six

grange hill s04e06

Written by Phil Redmond. Tx 16th January 1981

Another wave of vandalism causes the school dance to be cancelled. Tucker knows who was responsible – Booga Benson and Gilbo – but also knows what will happen to him if he speaks out. He tells Mr Sutcliffe that he’ll get his legs busted.

Another all-film episode, it’s a memorable installment – not least for the Tucker/Booga confrontation. Up until now Booga’s been little more than a menacing background character – who seems to mainly have existed to provide a reason to lock the younger pupils out of the school during break and lunchtimes.

He now moves into the centre of the action and starts by destroying Tucker’s magazine cover entry. Given all the hard work he put into it this is a bitter blow – although he’s able to produce another, almost identical version, very quickly – even if he has to bunk off school to do it. Of course he does win the first prize (ten pounds) and impresses Mrs McClusky by telling her that he’s going to buy some premium bonds with it.

Afterwards, he goes back to helping Mr Sutcliffe set up the hall for the dance, but it all seems to be in vain once everything is cancelled. We then see him struggle with his conscience as he makes his way along to Mrs McClusky’s office – he just has to give her a name and the dance will be back on. But the consequences to him could be fatal.

He does the right thing and the evening is a great success – not least for the impressive vocal stylings of Mr Sutcliffe, Cathy, Gerry and Ruth. Everything seems to be fine as Tucker, Alan, Benny, Tommy, Susi and Pamela leave the hall at the end of the night.

But the sudden and unexpected appearance of Booga wipes the smile from everybody’s faces. There then follows a frantic chase through the school, culminating in both Booga and Gilbo giving the unfortunate Tucker a good kicking.

Another notable aspect of the episode is that it marks a rare series four appearance by Terry Sue Patt as Benny.  I don’t know whether his sporadic involvement was his own choice or it happened because he was now judged to be surplus to requirements. Either way it’s a shame that someone who was a focal character for the original run just seems to fade away quite abruptly.

3 thoughts on “Grange Hill. Series Four – Episode Six

  1. One of the best episodes of GH, up there with some of Series Nine. Tucker is his usual upbeat and jokey self but you see another side of him entirely during his encounters with Benson. He’s more vulnerable and not even his friends can help him. You mentioned that it’s ‘all-film’; I was wondering what gave the visuals that mood and tone. The camera work, particularly the close-ups when it focuses on one person, add to this. (I don’t know the technical terms!) A great episode, with lighter moments but mostly gritty and intense drama.

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    • Yes, it’s long been a favourite of mine as well. Single camera film work always feels different from multi-camera videotape shooting (both have their plusses and minuses but the use of film certainly benefited this episode).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The actor who played Booga Benson (I can’t remember his name) would appear in the final episode of Juliet Bravo in 1985, where he played another thug (not dissimilar to Booga).

    He causes the death of PC Danny Sparks by kicking him down the fire escape during the pub fire. Peter Childs (a really busy character actor from this era) also played the scheming licencee.

    Juliet Bravo ended quite abruptly on a cliffhanger with this particular episode, never to return to our screens.

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