Written by Alan Janes. Tx 2nd March 1982
Roland’s out of his coma, although he won’t be back at school for some time. Mrs McClusky suggests to N1 that they send him some get well cards (it’s possibly telling that none of them have thought to do this before). It’s decided to make one large card and Annette (the best at art) is asked to do it. Annette, still the class strop, isn’t keen but eventually Fay manages to persuade her. It’s Annette who first voices the opinion that Roland might have stepped out into the path of the car on purpose and her disdain for him is made clear.
But then Annette doesn’t seem to like anybody very much. When Belinda announces that she’s leaving, Annette pulls a lovely face when Fay announces they should buy her a going-away present. Fay collects money from Zammo and Jonah for the present which Jonah promptly gets back when he tells her that he’s also collecting money for a present – for Roland. And although it started as simply a way to get their money back, Zammo decides it’s a good idea. “Roly’s really took a lot of stick from us in the past, and this’ll make up for it, this will.”
When Gripper pinches the money they’ve collected (telling them that Roland owes it to him anyway) Zammo and Jonah have a problem. How can they buy a present with no money? Together they cook up a wheeze – Zammo’s mother gets boxes of broken biscuits from the place where she works. Nobody would buy them, but if they swop one of these boxes with a good box from the school tuck-shop then they can flog the good box and the school will send the broken box back for a replacement. It’s the perfect victimless crime. What could possibly go wrong?
Alan Janes’ script recycles a story element from Jane Hollowood’s Minto bars episode. Just as Roland’s deception with the Minto wrappers was discovered thanks to the code on the box, so a similar thing happens here. The biscuit box has a code which leads back to Mrs McGuire (Jenny Twigge) and she’s not best pleased. “Don’t you stare at me all innocent boy, or I’ll smack you so hard you’ll come round next Christmas.”
After Mrs McGuire takes the money they got from Junky Meade (a nice bit of continuity to mention him) that leaves the boys back at square one. So they have to resort to pinching whatever they can from the kitchen. “You bought him a lemon and half a packet of biscuits?” asks Annette unbelievingly!