Written by Margaret Simpson. Tx 17th January 1984
Although it’s been a while since we’ve seen Mrs Scott, Claire’s mother, she’s still the same fusspot that she’s always been. And despite the fact that Claire’s now in the fifth form she still talks to her like she’s in the first year. Nits are the problem – Claire’s had them and Mrs Scott is convinced she must have caught them from Suzanne. Another example of the long-standing disdain that Mrs Scott has always held for Claire’s common (in her eyes) friend.
Jimmy’s upset that he hasn’t received the promised six hundred pounds from Pogo’s chain letter and forcibly makes his point. This shows us Jimmy’s more menacing side, but events later in the episode prove that he’s far removed from the thuggish Gripper. Mrs McClusky corners Mr Howard on the stairwell (a piece of the set that’s been seen so many time during the last few years that it’s almost become an old friend) and demands he finds out who’s responsible for the letters.
Mr Howard agrees, but is distracted by the passing Miss Gordon. He walks a few paces to watch her retreating back with a wistful look on his face, whilst Mrs McClusky is still trying to gain his attention! That’s the only reference to his pursuit of her in this episode, but it’s a nice dialogue-free throwaway moment nonetheless.
Mr McGuffy is attempting to recruit five pupils to go with him on a weekend trip organised by the UN. Each school will pick a country and they’ll have a mock debate. There’s a high level of cynicism on display – Suzanne likens the UN to the school council (with the one as effective as the other) whilst Glenroy tells the others that the UN exists to keep the poorer countries in their place. Suzanne isn’t keen on going, but when she learns that Glenroy is, she perks up ….
Precious can’t go because she’s got a Saturday job at a hairdressers. We’ll come back to this, with disastrous consequences for Christine’s hair, in a later episode. There’s also the first mention of Anita’s gran for quite a while. During series three she could hardly go a couple of sentences without mentioning her, but that hasn’t been the case recently.
This episode sees the last appearance of Allyson Rees as Miss Lexington, which makes me rather sad. We learn that her first name is Jenny (a fact I don’t believe has been divulged before). She and Mr Gordon are on hand to collar Pogo as he desperately tries to harness the power of the computer to salvage something from the chain letter fiasco. Mr Howard suggests they ask their maths teacher why a market can never expand indefinitely.
There’s a lot of disappointed out-of-pocket kids after the chain letter scheme is wound up. Jimmy extracts all the money held by Pogo and is quite happy to see it redistributed amongst those who lost out. This makes it obvious that while he can be menacing, he also doesn’t always act in his own self-interest. He gained nothing out of this (apart from being able to taunt Pogo) but perhaps we can put it down to another example of his canny business sense. After all, all those people that have gained something might be potential customers in the future ….