Written by Jane Hollowood. Tx 14th January 1983
Duane’s far from happy that Stewpot, in his own halting way, is attempting to ask Claire out. Quite why this is, since Duane’s never asked her out himself, is a bit of a mystery. Duane and Claire have been friends since the first year (and it always seemed likely they would end up together) but since Duane’s not made a move by now you have to assume that he’s not interested. Either that, or he’s a very, very slow operator.
Stewpot attempts to clear the air at breaktime. It’s always struck me as a strange detail that Duane’s reading Practical Camper whilst waiting in the tuckshop queue. I don’t know why, it’s just a slightly unexpected magazine for him to have!
This storyline is another example of how Duane (who was a longer established character than Stewpot) has gradually been marginalised. It seems that the rough-and-tumble Stewpot was more interesting to write for than the conventional Duane and by series seven we’ll see that Duane is even more surplus to requirements – with Stewpot and Pogo forming a decent double act, there’s no role left for Duane to play.
Gripper’s gang has grown by a few more and they continue to target Randir. He’s rescued by Woody Woods (Tony MacPherson) who suggests he hangs around with him and his friends. Since Woody and the others are black, there’s a clear division being made across racial lines – although it’s still yet to be openly stated that Gripper’s picking on people because of the colour of their skin.
This happens later, as Pogo asks Randir to use his scarf to make a turban. It’s a moment of rapprochement between different cultures, which is quickly stamped on by Gripper – who tells Pogo that things aren’t going to be pleasant at Grange Hill for any foreigners soon.
Mrs McClusky seems to be aware that staff shortages are making playground bullying more of a possibility, but rather than target the bullies she elects to reduce the pupil’s breaktimes. Mr Hopwood voices his concern that by doing this they’re not attacking the problem, only dealing with the symptoms, so it’s a strange decision.
Suzanne’s been in a strop since episode one, ever since she learnt that she wouldn’t be able to take the options she wanted. Her split skirt doesn’t meet with Mrs McClusky’s approval either, meaning that Susan Tully’s default expression so far this year has been “disgruntled”.