Grange Hill – Series Nine, Episode Twenty Four

grange hill s09e24-1

Written by David Angus. Tx 1st April 1986

It’s been a while since Gonch has indulged in a money-making scheme, so it’s only right and proper that the Fun Run should offer him a chance to turn a tidy profit.  The series has been here before of course – back in 1984 – but this time Gonch is more interested in who won’t finish the race, rather than who’s going to win it (which seems to be a toss-up between those two titans of the track, Mr Kennedy and Banksie).

However, from early on we’re left with the feeling that Gonch and Hollo aren’t going to finish on top.  To begin with, Ziggy’s delighted to show them a letter he’s received from the Duke of Edinburgh (a real letter this time) inviting him to a gala concert at the Royal Albert Hall (presumably pop, since it’s hard to imagine Ziggy being enthused about an evening of classical music).  Quite why the Duke should wish to favour Ziggy is a slight mystery, but nobody said GH ever had to be true to life.

The Fun Run is an opportunity for some interesting fancy dress – most notably Mr Baxter as Wonder Woman.  That’s a combination I’d never thought I’d see.  This will turn out to be Mr Baxter’s last hurrah as during the first episode of series ten we’re told that he’d left to run a sports centre.  A slight pity that Michael Cronin’s eight years on the show wasn’t marked in some way, but possibly his departure was an unexpected one.

You may – or more possibly may not – be interested to learn that it seems Julia will be able to keep her ears pierced.  Hurrah!  It’s slightly odd though that another of her plotlines (sneaking off to buy tickets for a Phil Collins gig) never came to anything.

Ant’s set to move from Grange Hill to a private school.  But that doesn’t mean we’ve seen the last of him, alas ….

Following on from the uncomfortable aura surrounding Zammo last time, there’s better news in this episode.  He’s not seen in person, but Jackie has visited him and seems encouraged by his progress.  Presumably it was felt that there should be some sort of happy ending between this series and the next, but it does mean that the drama of the previous instalment ends up being rather negated.

The Fun Run is low on tension or incident.  Banksie falls off his bike and grazes his knee.  Ouch!  Gonch twists his ankle and faces having to pay out a fortune to Ronnie if he doesn’t complete the course.  Imelda and her cronies sabotage Mr Glover’s bike in error (believing it to be Ziggy’s).

The brief and awkward meeting between Mr Bronson and Ant is nice though, offering us a quiet moment between the frenetic on-track action.  Michael Sheard, as ever, is excellent – for once Mr Bronson is conciliatory (telling Ant that he’s sorry to lose him) and it’s almost possible to believe that he means it.  But if that’s the case and he truly valued Ant’s ability as a student, why did he persecute him all year?

I like the way that Mr Griffiths’ concession to fancy dress is to sport a plastic hat whilst still wearing his brown overalls!  And glory be, at long last Ziggy and Robbie gain their revenge on Imelda.

6 thoughts on “Grange Hill – Series Nine, Episode Twenty Four

    • Neither of whom are mentioned at the start of S10, so their fates remain a mystery …

      Kevin was obviously deemed surplus to requirements (as Banksie could easily step into the role as Jackie’s temporary boyfriend) whilst some of Janet’s characteristics seem to be adopted by Cheryl (nagging Roland about his diet, etc).

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  1. You mentioned the Grange Hill novels earlier. I’ve read four of them, one of which was very disposeable if enjoyable, but the other three seem to be very good bridging material that make sense of storylines or even complete them (we get some set-up for the change in Gripper in Series 6 in one, another follows on from Series 10 and does a good job of wrapping up the outgoing sixth formers, notably Julie and Banksie).

    And then there’s one that curiously is set between the last two episodes of Series 9, even incorporating Robbie and Ziggy’s run-in with Ant and Miss Booth’s conversation with the social worker. It gives Ant a longer journey home rather than the perfunctory “I’m going home” on screen, showing him spending the whole night wandering about debating the issue, culminating in us actually seeing the moment where he finds out he was wrong about Bronson favouring Julia and realises running away was entirely down to him.

    The other major thing in it is showing the next stage with Zammo. He runs away to score again and ends up in hospital: He assumes he’s overdosed but in fact it was secondary issues that were the real problem, as he passed out in water, caught pneumonia and nearly drowned. It’s a wake-up call that ends with him promising his mum that she’ll get the real Zammo back, which seems to explain him suddenly being more positive here. (It also seems to confirm Jackie and Kevin as a couple, with Zammo seeing them kissing from a distance, perhaps hinting at an idea that got ditched. There’s a plotline in the post-Series 10 novel that similarly seems to be setting up an Imelda’s Revenge story that never happened.)

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    • At least one book was a straight novelisation (collecting together a number of series one episodes) but most are, as you say, interesting reads which entertainingly extrapolate already existing plot threads.

      Grange Hill For Sale is the one that sticks in the mind (Booga Benson and Gripper teaming up would have worked well on television). Sometime in the future I need to recollect them all.

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