Written by Frances Galleymore. Tx 28th September 1986
Julia contnues to moon over Ant whilst Georgina continues to avoid Imelda.
Mr Bronson’s not a happy chappy (the overcrowded staff room is just one of many irritations). Some of the non-speaking extras are also dischuffed – banging down empty coffee containers in a petulant manner – but Mr Bronson is the one who voices the discontent many feel.
A solution to their problems has been found – portacabins. But when they don’t turn up on time Mr Bronson isn’t terribly pleased (to put it mildly). That he chooses Mr Baxter to be the recipient of his anger is understandable since he’s not foolish enough to tackle Mrs McClusky head on – so the pair once again lock horns in an entertaining fashion. As ever, Mr Bronson favours the direct approach, bluntly accusing Mr Baxter of using his position as deputy head to ensure that the sports department gets the best of everything whilst the rest of the staff suffer.
You don’t need to be a mind reader to work out that he’s entirely wrong (Mr Baxter has funded extra-curricular activities, like the swimming team, out of his own pocket). This is another clear sign of Mr Bronson’s character defects – if you’re going to accuse a colleague of misconduct it’s best to have clear evidence. Alas, he never seems to learn this basic rule.
Danny is the recipient of some decent dialogue which goes a little way to explaining exactly what makes him tick. Enjoying a smoke in the chemistry lab, he’s unabashed when discovered by Julia and Laura and goes on to explain his worldview. “That’s what it’s all about in an institution, breaking down independence, everyone joins in doing it”. Imelda, like Gripper before her, is the more obvious example of an uncontrollable pupil but Danny’s a little different as he flies under the radar most of the time. That he’s vocal about keeping his identity and not letting the system crush him might suggest that a close family member has recently seen the inside of a prison.
That old chestnut – two teachers squabbling over who should be in a certain classroom – gets another airing here. Mr Bronson is in possession and is disinclined to give it up in favour of Mr King. Mr Bronson crows about his victory somewhat after a passing Mrs McClusky suggests that Mr King could use part of the canteen, but his celebration is shortlived after Mrs McClusky (in her deceptively sweet way) makes it plain that maturity and tact are key to solving problems like this. Ouch!
Georgina is worried that she’ll be a target for Imelda, but Ant – continuing to play the alpha male – tells her not to worry, he’s got her back. Bless! If you haven’t guessed what happens next then you’ve possibly not been paying attention – Ant’s nemesis Mr Bronson once again appears at the most inopportune moment to harangue the boy – leaving Ant frustrated and Georgina forced to join forces with Imelda once more ….
Given that Mr Bronson is still smarting from the oblique rebuke he’s just received from Mrs McClusky, the arrival of Ant – seven minutes late – isn’t going to improve his temper one little bit. Ant has his familiar excuse (Mr Baxter) which serves as the trigger to send Mr B into meltdown. Michael Sheard hits the heights here (imagine this dialogue delivered by Sheard at full-throttle). “Aaaaaah, Mr Baxter! That explains everything. Every time you are late it is Mr Baxter’s fault. Why?”
Further delights are to be found after Mr Bronson tells Ant that they will settle this with Mr Baxter once and for all immediately after school. Ant, who has arranged to meet Georgina, tells him he’s not free. Sheard once again comes up trumps. “Not free? Change your social diary”. Wonderful stuff.
Ant is discovered to have been a little economical with the truth (Mr Baxter might have been the reason why he missed registration, but he still could have made Mr Bronson’s lesson on time) which means that the boy faces a double-pronged attack from both teachers who temporarily forget their own differences to turn on him.
Mr Kennedy’s letter writing lessons continue. Ziggy tells him that he plans to write to the Duke of Edinburgh. Remember this, it’ll become important later ….