Grange Hill. Series Seven – Episode Eight

grange hill s07e08

Written by Margaret Simpson. Tx 27th January 1984

Suzanne, Claire, Glenroy,  Pogo, Stewpot and Mr McGuffy have headed off into the country for the UN Weekend.  It’s taking place in palatial surroundings – which comes as a little bit of a culture shock for the North London kids.  Claire, who has to speak in the debate, is fretting that she’ll come off second best, as some of the other children come from privileged private schools and probably are used to this sort of thing.  Claire isn’t, which heightens her anxiety.

Glenroy is still smarting from the fact that somebody else nabbed Ethiopia (they had to plump for Tasmania) whilst Suzanne, Pogo and Stewpot don’t seem to have the UN at the top of their personal agendas.  Suzanne, despite her earlier protests, clearly wants to spend time with Glenroy whilst Pogo and Stewpot are happy to hang out with any attractive girl they can find.

Trudy (Gina Bellman) immediately catches their attention and they both make a beeline for her.  There then follows several excruciating scenes as Trudy, polite but clearly not terribly interested, has to suffer their separate charm offensives.  This was only Bellman’s second television credit (an episode of Into the Labrynth two years earlier was her first).

Excruciating also covers the scene where one of the more privileged public school boys makes conversation with two black girls.  He asks them where they come from – Hackney, they say.  After a few more questions he seems stunned to realise that they’re actually British (that his school is representing the UK is a clear irony).  Presumably his part of the country has no black people whatsoever ….

If Stewpot and Pogo seem to be making little progress with Trudy, then Suzanne’s equally frustrated as Glenroy seems happier to spend his time talking politics with others than spending time with her.  But although all this toing and froing takes up most of the episode, towards the end we do start to concentrate on the reason why everybody’s here.

David Bellamy is in the chair for the debate on world hunger and his opening address is a memorable one.  The plight of Ethiopia would be thrust onto British television screens later in the year, so it was obviously a topic that was high on many people’s agendas.

Bellamy tells them that chronic hunger “saps your energy and lowers your resistance to disease. That means you can’t work properly. Because you see the sort of work that the hungry people of the world have to do is physical work. And there are four hundred million people in the world today whose food intake is below that which would be needed for normal bodily maintenance … the money required to provide adequate food, water, education, health, housing and above all family planning has been estimated at seventeen billion dollars a year. That’s an enormous amount of money, about as much as the world spends on armaments every two weeks.”


5 thoughts on “Grange Hill. Series Seven – Episode Eight

  1. I’m finally getting to watch these episodes, more or less for the first time in most cases, thanks to the sparkly new DVD box set, and having wondered when I first read this why Grange Hill were representing part of Australia, I now learn that they’re Tanzania!

    Which makes more sense.


      • I am possibly not the best person to ask about picture quality, it often passes me by. However, I would say that there is a definite difference between the filmed scenes and the television centre scenes. (I haven’t got on to Series 8 yet so I’m not sure what that’s like.)

        Liked by 1 person

  2. The two part UN conference episodes have got to be the worst plot from GH’s golden era.

    This is just too dull and boring for me. The story is just flat from start to finish and even David Bellamy’s appearance doesn’t add any spark.

    Series 7 is a really weak series, which is a shame as its the final year for the likes of Pogo and Suzanne.

    I always felt Glenroy was a character with lots of potential, but after the Gripper racism story, the writers seemed to struggle utlising him along with the likes of Woody and Ranvir.

    After the previous two episodes that focused on the tragedy of Jeremy’s death, this is a complete come down and it’s almost like 50 minutes of watching a bland education documentary.


  3. “Presumably his part of the country has no black people whatsoever ….”

    A lot of public schools of the era were extremely white and many of the small number of non-white pupils were from abroad. It wasn’t that long since the first black boys had entered Eton – two Nigerians followed by an Ethiopian prince. In his recent book on the public school experience “Sad Little Men” Richard Beard (who finished at Radley the year this episode was transmitted) recalls just three non-white pupils at his prep school – “two brothers recently arrived from Nigeria, and the son of an Indian doctor” – then at Radley “one boy in our year was possibly mixed race”. He also discusses how racist attitudes were commonplace at least amongst his generation. This scene is pretty accurate to such attitudes at the time.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s