Written by Barry Purchese. Tx 10th February 1984
Suzanne walks out of Grange Hill again, but this time it looks like she’s gone for good. On her way out she encounters Mr McGuffy and Mr Smart. Both want her to stay – although they speak to her in very different ways, as per their diametrically opposed characters. Mr McGuffy is patient and understanding whilst Mr Smart is abrupt and hectoring.
Neither tactic works, although it’s Mr Smart who feels the most affronted. He storms over to Mrs McClusky’s office to demand she does something, but the headmistress doesn’t share his anger. Gwyneth Powell’s been a little underused this year, but she’s very cutting in this brief scene.
Although Suzanne’s left the school, she’ll return to the series in episodes seventeen and eighteen. But this episode does see the final appearance of Mark Baxter as Duane Orpington. Given the length of time he’d spent in the series it’s slightly surprising that he just seems to fade away. One minute he’s there and the next he’s gone, with nobody appearing to notice (although I seem to recall that illness might have been the reason why Baxter didn’t appear in the rest of series seven).
Zammo eventually hands over Gluxo’s note to Jimmy. Jimmy’s up for a scrap – provided it’s done with a sense of style – but Zammo’s not keen. Jackie has forbidden him to get involved in any fighting, which leads to a simmering feeling of tension between him and Kevin. Zammo doesn’t want to be thought of as a coward, but neither does he want to lose Jackie. It’s a bit of a dilemma.
There’s the second mention of Diane’s boyfriend – and this time he’s got a name, Mark. At the moment this doesn’t go any further, but it’s another seed planted which will come to fruition later in the series.
Roland’s chaotic home life is finally explained, as Janet (annoyingly helpful and inquisitive as ever) pops around and is told by Mr Browning that Roland’s mother has left home. One parent families are such a fact of life now (and would also be in later series of Grange Hill) that it seems rather remarkable that this is one of the first instances in the series when it’s been explicitly stated that someone is missing a parent.
The big fight is an anti-climax, but on the plus side it means that Zammo doesn’t have to break his promise to Jackie. Gluxo locks the Grange Hill boys into the warehouse where the fight was supposed to take place and calls the police. That’s a somewhat uncharacteristic thing for Gluxo to have done, but GH couldn’t really have been seen to condone gang fighting, so this ending (even if it feels like a bit of a cop-out) does make sense.