Grange Hill – Series Ten, Episode Five

grange hill s10e05-1

Written by David Angus. Tx 20th January 1987

We saw several times last year that Zammo appeared to have kicked his drugs habit, only for his (fairly transparent) lies to be quickly found out.  So when Jackie sees him handing over money to Howard and Doug she naturally thinks the worst.

Zammo – for once – is blameless, but convincing Jackie isn’t easy.  Although given that she and Zammo are no longer an item, neither should be that bothered about what the other thinks.  Except it seems inevitable they’ll get back together (had they not, it would have been something of a surprise) so this scene serves as evidence that Jackie – despite her previous polite indifference – still cares deeply for Zammo.

He’s more blatant, telling her that he can’t cope without her. But such obvious emotional blackmail doesn’t cut any ice with her. Not yet anyway …

Danny’s continuing to have regular swooning fits.  And still everybody is slow to react.  To be fair, the staff – with the notable exception of Mr Bronson – are beginning to wonder if something is wrong (although somebody really should have done something by now).  Unsurprisingly Mr Bronson simply believes the boy is displaying his usual inattentiveness and contempt for authority and places him on report.

Mr Scott’s hanging around the staffroom, five minutes after the bell has gone, clearly wishing he could be anywhere other than Grange Hill. You can’t blame him – since Imelda, sporting a portable(ish) radio is intent on causing trouble. And Mr Scott’s plaintive “not in here Imelda” isn’t going to cut any ice with her.

Mrs McClusky shows her human side by offering Zammo and Fay, revising for their resists in the library, some moral support. They’re both feeling a little low – as they’ve effectively dropped down a year they now feel isolated from the rest of the sixth-formers. Or maybe it’s just that both are still pining for their lost loves – Jackie and Mr King respectively.

Donkey Watch. Harriet isn’t the quietest of beasts (which the milkman – making his early round delivery – notices). Ziggy dreams of being a manure king – but unlike Gonch (who would have been concerned only making a profit) Ziggy plans to sell it in order to buy more food for Harriet. It’s the perfect circular solution.

Exercise is going to be something of a problem though, so Ziggy and Helen knock up a disguise.  What they come up with is very silly – never mind, just another fifteen episodes and we’ll be able to bid Harriet a fond farewell.  Mrs McClusky is somewhat surprised to discover a pile of dung on the path. I love the way that Mr Griffiths, walking beside her, casually looks up into the sky. Was anybody convinced by his suggestion that a very large bird was responsible? I don’t know, but it’s a nice comic moment.

Meanwhile Roland has suddenly turned into a remorseless hardman, casually blackmailing Mr Griffiths as if he’d had years of practice.  Having found out about Harriet, Roland uses his knowledge to force Mr Griffiths into finding them a larger common room.  Cue indignant spluttering from George A. Cooper as Mr Griffiths eventually realises he’s been outmanoeuvred and is therefore forced to accede to Roland’s request. But first he has to vent his feelings to Harriet. “Terrible thing blackmail. Once you give into it, they’ve got you”.

Now that Harriet is becoming more and more ubiquitous, surely it can’t be long before she’s discovered?  Well yes, but that’s not the end of the story …..

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3 thoughts on “Grange Hill – Series Ten, Episode Five

  1. I have to report that I’m finding this donkey storyline is just as trying now as I did 30 years ago. The only thing that its got going for it is the creature herself, without any of the implausible capers that revolve around her. Perhaps if they’d just put Harriet in a field in a corner of the school grounds and we occasionally saw characters interact with her she could have been a useful dramatic device (if used sparingly).

    Grange Hill really could have done with a fresh intake of first-formers this year. Its unfortunate how some of it’s most childish plots are now going on, but without 11 year-olds to enact them.

    Another thought that I’ve been having around these two seasons is that it would have actually been more interesting, is less ostensibly dramatic, to have had a cannabis story rather than a heroin one.

    The sixth form common room has been too crowded to make out the music before in this series, but it’s easy to recognise ‘Everybody Wants To Rule The World’ by Tears For Fears in this episode.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t necessarily agree that we needed a new intake of first years for Series 10.

    The existing cast were enough, but I felt the fifth formers, with the exception of Banksy, were underused in the final year.

    Zammo seems to be quite and reserved in most of his scenes, while Fay and Roly feel like they are simply going through the motions to make the best of the weak scripts.

    It was a shame that the writers couldn’t have developed some strong plots in preparation for their departure at the conclusion of the series.

    Series 10 was a good series overall, but it could have been much better – the Donkey story would have been a nice gesture for maybe two episodes, but that’s it.

    Liked by 1 person

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