Grange Hill – Series Ten, Episode Two

grange hill s10-e02-1

Written by Barry Purchese.  Tx 9th January 1987

The cramped sixth form common room means that everybody seems to be getting on everybody else’s nerves, although Banksie is the one who’s picking up most of the flack.  No tea, dirty cups, a spoon left in the bag of sugar and used tea bags not put in the bin are the main bugbears.  He can’t be guilty of all of these crimes but he’s the quickest to react and angrily storms off.

So far so typical then.  But later, when Banksie’s alone in the room he admits to the recently arrived Miss Partridge that he was in the wrong – he just couldn’t bring himself to admit this in front of Zammo.  The simmering rivalry between them isn’t really developing at present though, mainly because Zammo’s not interested in fighting – he’s more concerned with knuckling down and passing his resits.

Banksie’s taking a CPVE course (completely pointless vocational education as he dubs it).  Although it’s teased out that this is something he feels faintly ashamed about (some might not see it as a “real” qualification) Miss Partridge is able to explain that it offers practical, real-world experience which he may find has a positive impact.  This ties back to her comments in the previous episode, where we saw her as an advocate of this type of teaching.  Fay and Zammo, by resitting their O Levels, are placed more in Mr Bronson’s camp – where ultimate success or failure is determined by your ability to deal with the pressure of exams.

Meanwhile Mr Scott is continuing to find class control a problem.  He only has a couple of rotten apples – Imelda and Trevor – but they’re enough to cause chaos and confusion.  A male/female bully partnership isn’t something we’ve seen in GH before, which makes it a little noteworthy.  It’s obvious that Imelda wears the trousers though, leaving Trevor content to trail in her wake.

The battle between Imelda and Mr Scott is something which develops during the first half of series ten.  Here, Imelda’s very much got the upper hand – totally unwilling to acknowledge Mr Scott’s authority – and had Mr Kennedy not entered the room (keen to speak to Imelda about another of her misdemeanours) then goodness knows how the situation would have escalated.  With Imelda temporarily removed, a semblance of peace is restored but it can’t be seen as any sort of victory for Mr Scott.  He shouldn’t feel too bad though, since Mr Kennedy isn’t able to make any headway with her either.

A later staff-room conflab between the two teachers sees Mr Kennedy attempt to raise Mr Scott’s spirits.  What the younger man is going through is something that they’ve all had to deal with – it’s just a case of getting through this first, difficult period.  Many of them, he’s told, felt utter failures during their first term, but they survived and prospered.

Chicken Man gets a rare mid-episode outing as Mr Griffiths eyes up a vacant shed on the school lot.  I wonder what he’s planning?  Hmm, do you think the booklet he’s reading (How To Look After and Care For Your Donkey) has anything to do with it?  Be warned, Harriet is coming ….

With Trevor and Vince no longer speaking, the forlorn Vince teams up with an equally bereft Hollo (who’s still waiting for Gonch’s return).  There’s another changing of the guard as the previously inseparable Robbie and Ziggy are briefly split up as Ziggy, Helen and Mr Griffiths get further involved in Operation Harriet.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen computers in the school (at one point they only seemed to own a single one!).  It’s not surprising that by the mid eighties they’ve become more widespread (colour monitors as well) but the computer class is partly just an excuse for Imelda to cause yet more trouble (“she’s completely crashed the memory”).

Ziggy also uses the class as an opportunity to destroy Imelda’s hitlist by feeding it into a dot matrix printer.  No, I don’t understand this either – the printer’s not a paper shredder – but since many people would still have been fairly computer illiterate at the time I think we can forgive them this slight touch of dramatic licence.

Today’s computer class is quite a productive one as Calley then accidentally hits on a new language – by substituting ‘Andrew’ and ‘Barry’ for any time ‘A’ or ‘B’ is included in a word, what appears to be gibberish can easily be decoded (provided you know the trick).

Miss Booth attempts to convince Danny that a mural on the wall of the local community centre would be a decent project to get involved in.  She dangles the carrot that they’d both be in charge, although he’s somewhat disbelieving on this score.  For a moment it seems as if he’s mellowed, but he’s still the same spiky individual underneath, unable to respond positively to anybody (at least not to begin with).  Why Miss Booth continues to indulge him (is he the only talented artist in the school?) is a curious point – possibly she sees art as the best opportunity he has to lead a fulfilling life (academically gifted he’s not).

Although as we’ll see, Danny’s story will develop in various unexpected ways during the next few years.  A little groundwork is done here as he tells Miss Booth that he’s a twin (or was) as his brother died when he was born.  All his life he’s carried a burden of guilt – he lived, his brother died – and this trauma has convinced him that he’ll always be a loner.

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