Grange Hill. Series Seven – Episode Eighteen

grange hill s07e18

Written by Barry Purchese.  Tx 2nd March 2016

It’s the end of term and a disco has been organised, but the news that the music’s going to be provided by Glenroy strikes fear into the hearts of many.  Glenroy likes very heavy reggae – so with his impressive sound system (Sir Lord Glenroy indeed!) the evening promises to be loud if nothing else.

Pogo’s also on hand with a selection of discs, but will Glenroy allow him the use of his equipment?  Poor Mr McGuffy draws the short straw and scuttles off to speak to him.  Unsurprisingly he doesn’t pluck up the courage but Suzanne turns up later and is more successful.

Elsewhere, Claire’s in a very stroppy mood and the hapless Stewpot is in the firing line.  He can’t seem to do anything right – not even buttering a piece of bread – which seems to be another hint that their on/off/on relationship might be heading for more stormy waters.  Check back next series for some surprising revelations …..

Jimmy McClaren, resplendent in a white suit, seems to be back on the side of the angels again – he’s concerned that Gluxo’s planning something.  A fight maybe?  Or simply absconding with the door money?  Jimmy’s not sure but he elects to stay on watch, much to Nigel’s chagrin.  What’ll happen to all the talent?  Jimmy replies that there’s never any shortage of talent when Jimmy McClaren’s about.  There’s a chance to see his lady-killing skills in action later when he asks Precious if she’d like quick spin around the dancefloor.  She says “no” which rather deflates him (but he’s later reinflated when she changes her mind!)

This is the final episode for quite a few of the regulars.  Most of the class of 80/81 depart (only Claire, Stewpot and Precious return for the next series).  On the teaching side, Mr Keating, Mr McGuffy, Miss Gordon and Mr Howard all make their final appearances.  I’ll miss Mr Keating and Mr McGuffy, although Miss Gordon and Mr Howard haven’t really been around long enough to make too much of an impression.  It’s not impossible to believe that Miss Gordon was intended to return though, as Miss Booth (introduced in the first episode of series eight) isn’t a terribly dissimilar character.

Incidentally, the series-long gag of Mr Howard’s (and to a lesser extent, Mr Smart’s) pursuit of the fragrant art teacher concludes as she declines both of their kind offers to dance and chooses Mr Knowles as a partner instead!  So both Mr Smart and Mr Howard decide to head off for a drink.  Mr Knowles is another teacher who disappears (Chris Jury would be heading off to become Lovejoy’s sidekick).

If Mr Howard’s unlucky in love, then Zammo’s a little more fortunate and is relived to find that Jackie still loves him.  She’s also on hand to break the news that the boys helping behind the bar come from Brookdale and not (as they claimed) Rodney Bennett.  Ah ha, this obviously means they’re up to no good.  Gluxo pops up to taunt Zammo about Jeremy’s death and Jimmy’s on hand to express his displeasure at such a low remark and is also able to exact a suitable revenge (which reveals where the missing bar money ended up).

With Pogo on the decks we get a snapshot of mid eighties pop (Duran Duran, New Order, Thompson Twins) ending up with Spandau Ballet’s True –  a chance for everybody to get just a little closer.  The most delightfully awkward moment comes when Mr McGuffy (no doubt out of a sense of politeness) asks Mrs McClusky if she’d like to dance, just as the record changes to True.  The look on both their faces makes it clear that they’d sooner be anywhere else but dancing together, but the pair bite the bullet and hold each other close (but not too close).

7 thoughts on “Grange Hill. Series Seven – Episode Eighteen

  1. The editors tried to be fancy too. As the credits roll the actors names appear beneath the character they played as everyone dances. Don’t remember this happening at any point between S1 and now, unless I just didn’t pay enough attention until now.

    Also, loving the articles. I’m a strange case of someone who only got into GH after it finished… Was in my final year of secondary whilst the final series was showing and honestly it wasn’t my kind of thing back then. I was more of a Sarah Jane Adventures/basil brush sort of kid…
    However, after watching the Justin Lee Collins ‘bring back Grange Hill’ show i became interested and binged up to around series 18 online.

    I didn’t finish the series because I started college and just forgot about it for a while, but now I’ve started again and am planning to get to the end this time…
    Just have to let you know how fun it is to read these alongside watching the series. GH is very much a product of its time and it’s kinda hard to find people my own age who even remember it, let alone have watched it, so just being able to hear other people’s opinions is great.
    I understand it’s a lot harder to write about an episode than to just sit and watch it but I hope and look forward to you getting through the whole series as i am attempting myself. Keep it up!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, very nice to know that you’re getting something out of my scibblings.

      It’s been a while since I’ve tacked GH, but I’m currently planning to get the posts for the 1989 series up during October and early November with 1990 to follow in early 2019.

      My plan is to blog about all 600 episodes eventually – it may take me a while, but I’ll get there in the end 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, I for one have enjoyed your scribblings and very much look forward to you continuing them. Obviously, just watching 600-odd episodes of a show is a challenge in itself so I wish you the best of luck with actually writing about them all!
        Keep it up and thanks for the reply!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Series 7 was quite a poor year of Grange Hill. In fact it is probably the weakest from the golden era of 1978-89.

    I must admit, I do enjoy this episode as it isn’t over the top and some long running favourites like Pogo, Suzanne and a handful of other regulars bow out here. Susan Tully gets a great scene giving backchat to Mrs McClusky one last time. It is always a shame that post Grange Hill, we never find out what becomes of characters like Suzanne – what kind of career path did she embark on considering she quit the school with no qualifications?

    The conclusion of this series did mark the end of the programme’s early chapter. Series 8 would see some massive changes – a new set at Elstree, a shake up of the teaching cast, a new year group and some technical changes to camera work – video tape would eventually be interested by Series 9 along with some changes to the production crew and writers.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I didn’t see the final episode first time round, and I was pleasantly surprised to hear all the reggae in there! I don’t think a children’s programme (nor adults, come to think) either before or since has had such a tasty soundtrack. Tunes I picked out were as follows:

    Truth – Aswad
    Chill Out – Black Uhuru
    Wings With Me – Ini Kamoze (sampled by Chronixx in 2014)
    Barrington Levy – Prison Oval Rock

    GH always went for a grand finale for the last show of the series, and I enjoyed this one.


  4. Suzanne and Glenroy getting together in this episode is interesting as their actors later played a couple in EastEnders. (In the interim Steven Woodcock was also a regular in the sixth series of Only Fools and Horses as Jevon but the character disappeared after only one year.) Indeed given how much was made of Michelle and Clyde’s relationship in EastEnders it’s notable that the episode ends with no less than three inter-racial couples dancing – and nobody batting an eyelid which was pretty impressive for the era. What a pity (but utterly unsurprising) that Roland wouldn’t let Janet make it four.

    It’s actually surprising to see Jimmy and Nigel back at the school and seemingly in good grace after episode 15. Roland might have been let off because of his circumstances but you’d have thought that Jimmy at least would be for the chop. And this highlights just how much of the plot is recycled from the 1981 Christmas special – a disco organised by an English teacher, one of the pupils bringing in the music equipment, Brookdale kids trying to steal money from it, Mr Baxter not being as on the ball as he’d like and the school bully getting some redemption by helping stop the thieves. Did Paul Manning get any royalties for this?

    As for the season as a whole I’m not sure I’d say it’s the worst so far but it does feel rather bitty and scattered with no less than four episodes devoted to trips/walks outside the school of one kind or another with limited consequences and there aren’t the strongest storylines. I wonder how much of this down to the hurried replacement of Jonah with Jeremy – comments in interviews imply that the pool death was going to be an even bigger thing in the season and Lee Sparke’s declining to return threw a spanner in the works which suggests that the changes were bigger than simply substituting Jeremy in the first third of the run but also some of the later episodes may have been overhauled to cut down on the long term fall out because it wasn’t so credible for his death to have impacted characters who barely knew him.


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