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.