Grange Hill – Series Ten, Episode Four

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Written by David Angus.  Tx 16th January 1987

It’s been a while since we’ve observed Mr Bronson at work.  Unsurprisingly he still continues to rule his classes by fear – and today it’s the unfortunate Julia who has to shamefacedly admit that she’s made an error.  Mr Bronson stands close-by, twiddling a pencil whilst haranguing Julia about her general level of carelessness.

Danny’s had enough of this oppressive atmosphere and decides to make a break for it.  This is plainly connected to his – as yet – undiagnosed illness rather than just another example of his normal lack of disconnectedness.

I wonder what happened to Zammo and Jackie during the holidays?  Since they don’t seem to have seen each other, not a great deal, which is a slight oddity given the way we left them at the end of S9.  In the penultimate episode we saw that Jackie still cared deeply for him, she just couldn’t bring herself to attempt a visit.  Her position had softened considerably by the final episode but after that it appears that Steven Banks, for all his character faults, appealed to her as the steadier prospect.

So Jackie and Banksie are currently an item, although he – with his usual lack of self-esteem – complains that he never feels welcome whenever he goes to visit her family (although since they probably still remember the stock-car crash from 1985 that’s not too surprising).  There’s still a spark between Jackie and Zammo though, so everything seems set for a slow reconciliation between them.

Mr Kennedy, once again sharing his lunch with the pupils, is mildly intrigued by the prospect of Danny’s radio station.  He’s also able to lend a sympathetic ear to Louise’s concerns that she won’t be able to talk on a chosen subject for ten minutes.  Rather neatly, Louise decides to talk about her new family life.  This is a clever way of confirming that she’s now getting along fine with her aunt and uncle, but since it’s done during the course of a lesson it doesn’t feel like a forced question from one of her friends.

Although Mr Kennedy’s clearly a caring teacher, he doesn’t notice that Danny’s far from well during this lesson.  It’s hard to miss – his general wooziness and rapid blinking – so quite how this doesn’t get commented on is a slight mystery.  Freddie’s in the background wearing a concerned expression, but I’ve already got the feeling that this plotline has been stretched about as far as it can go.  Surely by now somebody would have spotted the signs?

Let’s check in with Operation Harriet.  After Mr Griffiths loads the donkey aboard his van, there’s no room for Robbie and Ziggy who are forced to run back to school.  At one point the boys hear a loud braying from the van (“well it’s not Griffiths is it?”) and dash over to investigate.  They pass a couple of bemused bystanders who I think were genuine passers-by rather than extras.  Some of the other baffled old-dears they pass might have been extras though, given the amount of head-shaking they do.

So none of them considered the possibility that a donkey might want to make donkey-like noises?  Okay.  Bear in mind that we’re only at episode five and Harriet doesn’t take her final bow until episode twenty, so we’ve got a long, long, way to go ….

Ant’s back.  He’s only visiting, although his visit takes him and Danny straight to Harriet’s stable.  Why did he decide to poke about in that particular shed?  Some sort of sixth sense?  I’m trying to be generous but the saga of Harriet is already beginning to wear a little thin.

Still, the sight of Mr Griffiths attempting to manoeuvre his van containing the donkey past Mrs Reagan’s netball team is a mildly amusing one.  That Harriet obligingly moves into the frame as Mr Griffiths is circling the playground was either a stroke of luck or a nicely directed moment.

For the second episode in a row we close on the four musketeers – Mr Griffiths, Robbie, Ziggy and Helen – although this time they’re toasting their success.  It’s as oddly directed as the previous episode closer though.  This time, Mr Griffiths and the others burble on for a few seconds about nothing (a brief spot of improvised chatter maybe?)

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