Grange Hill – Series Nine, Episode Eight

grange hill s09e08.jpg

Written by Frances Galleymore.  Tx 31st January 1986

The mark of a decent bully is how effective they are at extorting money from others.  Gripper was, of course, a past master at this – but so far Imelda has lagged behind somewhat.  So this episode gives her the chance to catch up as she decides that a piece of Gonch’s toast business would be very welcome.

Gonch is having none of this though, which makes him – and more especially his trousers – a target for Imelda and the others.  Have I mentioned that Imelda’s gang is nicknamed the Terrahawks?  That’s one up on Gripper who never had a name for his gang.

There’s possibly an article to be written about the number of times boys are relieved of their trousers in Grange Hill (although this isn’t the time or place you may be thankful to learn).  Imelda only wanted the money in Gonch’s pockets, so why she couldn’t have just reached in his pockets is a slight mystery.

No matter though as it’s an opportunity to show the usually self-reliant Gonch under pressure.  He can stand up to most people – the way he bats off the approach of Trevor and Vince (also keen to get a slice – sorry – of the toast action) is a treat – but Imelda’s a special case.

Ziggy’s also engaging in his own battles with Imelda.  Unfortunately Mr Griffiths is in the wrong place at the wrong time and becomes collateral damage (a bucket of paint on the head).  Mr Griffiths blames the innocent Ziggy for this, so there’s plenty of fist shaking and chases around the school as Frances Galleymore takes the opportunity to ramp up the comedy.  Ziggy and Robbie’s attempt to breach the girl’s changing room – all in the course of justice, naturally – is another entertaining scene. It’s also notable as the first real time they join forces – from now on the pair will pretty much be inseparable.

Prior to Imelda’s involvement, Gonch and Hollo’s toast business had been thriving although they had to deal with the odd consumer complaint (“There’s an earwig in my butter!”) Gonch attempts to pour oil on troubled waters by telling Jane that it was only a small one.

Georgina and Helen share another quiet scene. Georgina’s desire to break away from Imelda’s influence becomes ever more apparent whilst Helen continues to tread a fine line between the pair of them. Another oft-stated theme is repeated here – Georgina is keen to settle down and pass her exams, a statement which Helen reacts to incredulously. What’s the point in working when there won’t be any jobs for them after they leave school?

Mr Bronson’s cruel streak is very much in evidence.  A recent letter-writing initiative saw Roland write to Fabienne and – after he’s perused it – Mr Bronson asks the boy to read the letter out in class.  It’s somewhat personal in nature and the fact that Mr Bronson knew this but still asked Roland to proceed is a telling moment.

This is a rare visit to N5’s class. It’s not commented upon, but Zammo is very conspicuous by his absence ….

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