Grange Hill – Series Ten, Episode Six

grange hill s10e06-1

Written by David Angus.  Tx 23rd January 1987

Vince and Hollo continue their partnership, although it’s somewhat low on excitement.  Last time Vince, still smarting that Ziggy hadn’t paid back a pound he owed him, decided to steal his bag in retaliation.  Hollo, the peacemaker, returns Ziggy’s bag and gives Vince a pound (claiming it came from Ziggy, when in fact it was Hollo’s).  What the absent Gonch would have made of this cavalier attitude to money is easy to guess ….

Imelda continues to needle Mr Scott.  During registration she delights in playing her radio at full blast. Now that all her Terrahawks have deserted her, Imelda has Natasha (Patsy Palmer) for company. No doubt due to her later career (like many other Grange Hill students she ended up in Albert Square) Palmer is one of the most distinctive extras of this era.  Often seen lingering in the background and very occasionally granted the privilege of a line or two.

Relations between Imelda and Mr Scott then sink to a new low after she smashes a flask during his chemistry class.  This sort of destructive disruption isn’t something we’ve seen too often before (although the S1 Tucker Jenkins could be something of a handful during lessons) since the likes of Gripper seemed to play truant more often than they attended classes.

The fact that Imelda seems to have a decent attendance record is therefore a little noteworthy.  She clearly prefers to be in school causing trouble rather than pounding the streets with nothing to do.  The question is, how long can her behaviour be tolerated?

Ronnie asks Mr Kennedy if she can be moved to another class, but he’s somewhat noncommittal.  It would certainly solve the immediate problem for this class, but it would simply mean that the problem was elsewhere.  This may be why he’s not keen, but it’s also obvious that Imelda’s only really a problem in Mr Scott’s class. It’s not stated out loud, but both know that he’s the weak link.

After spending a few episodes as an unpleasant bully, Trevor seems to be regressing back to his usual buffoonish persona. He crows to Ziggy and Robbie that he picked more score draws than they did on the last pools coupon (Trevor’s gang of unsmiling hangers-on also appear to have disappeared).

Mr Kennedy’s convinced that Danny’s recent strange behaviour could be drugs related. Eh? He says that the parallels between Danny this year and Zammo last year are obvious, but I’m not seeing them. Mr Bronson rules out drugs – to him, Danny’s the same as he’s always been. “Moody, willful, insolent”. He’s not a fan then.

Julia’s not happy that Freddie’s ignoring her in favour of Julie.  And Julia being Julia, she tends to express this in a slightly whiny way.  Clearly she hasn’t yet realised that she’s well shot of him (there’s only one person who Freddie loves – and that’s Freddie himself).

Speaking of Natasha and her occassional allocation of lines, as we were earlier, she gets one in this episode. Slightly oddly she’s talking to Julia (generally third and second years wouldn’t mix – we’ve never seen them together before that’s for sure) and she offers Julia this sage advice, re Freddie. “I don’t think he’s worth it, you should forget about him”. Classic stuff, as is the way that Natasha looks longingly at Freddie even after she’s just slagged him off!

Radio Grange Hill hits a small snag when it becomes apparent that several hundred pounds will be needed in order to install the free equipment in order to get it up and running. But Roland, who’s struck up an instant friendship with Danny, has some ideas.

Zammo continues to teeter on the edge. Last time his meeting with his old druggy friends was innocent – this time it’s not. He’s able to fluently lie about it to Jackie though (deception is something he’s become very good at). He sits in the toilet, a packet of some unhealthy substance in his hand. Does he succumb? It’s not obvious, but Jackie – alone in the common room – is instantly aware that something’s up with him. This moment – slightly oddly – serves as the moment of their reconciliation.

Donkey watch.  Having clearly tired of annoying Mr Scott, Imelda now sets her sights on the unfortunate Harriet.  Imelda threatens to expose Mr Griffith’s donkey secret to Mrs McClusky which results in a frantic chase as Ziggy and Robbie desperately attempt to stop her.  I wonder if the audience were cheering her on though?!

Earlier Harriet was continuing to make loud donkey noises (which Mr Griffiths attempted to cover up by coughing loudly or blaming the heating). Hmm, much as I love George A. Cooper this is a storyline which tries the patience.

Eventually Mrs McClusky does discover Harriet in all her glory but decides that she can stay.  Maybe Mr Griffiths should have been upfront to begin with (it certainly would have saved us a few episodes worth of running about).  No matter, we got there in the end.

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7 thoughts on “Grange Hill – Series Ten, Episode Six

  1. “insolent” not “innocent”, surely?

    Roland’s personality transplant into a kind of Hoffmeister Bear character remains just as peculiar to watch as it was in 1987. Perhaps Erkan Mustafa had grown up into too imposing a personality by this time to carry off Roland’s original persona convincingly.


    • Yes, clearly “insolent”. Now changed. Thanks for flagging it up, despite proofreading each post multiple times the odd error sometimes creeps through!

      Roland’s journey has seen him go from victim (82, 83), to bully (84), to an all-round good egg (85 onwards). That he would become less isolated and more integrated by this time seems reasonable although it would also have been interesting to wonder how things would have turned out for him had he still been written as a misfit.


  2. I was always exasperated by Imelda’s behaviour and scant regard for anyone but herself. It would have been interesting to see the trigger of her behaviour – perhaps the intention was to illustrate her with no redeeming factors – she is clearly insecure, disturbed and constantly seeks attention – maybe the result of wealthy but inattentive parents? Mr Griffin’s stern ticking off as she wanders into the dreaded donkey shack with her Poundland ghetto blaster was a great sign of someone not putting up with her childish antics and proving that authority and a no-nonsense approach works with bullys. Since rewatching after 35 or so years I’m re-evaluating Mr Griffin’s role in the show, and it’s well placed despite the frankly silly donkey plot. On the positive side, Helen is blossoming into a lovely character, with the slightly wet Georgina also escaping the clutches of the pint-sized female Gripper. Still, I’m still not sure who’d rather spend more time with, Ant Jones or Harriet…

    Liked by 1 person

    • It would have been interesting to discover why Imelda was a bully but rather like Gripper it was just accepted that that’s what they were (anti-social with no redeeming features).

      Later on, the series (Wayne’s taunting of Poppy, say) did attempt to dig a bit deeper, with Wayne eventually emerging as a more rounded character.


  3. Regarding the comments about Imelda, it is interesting to see that by this stage of her time at GH (which was nearing its conclusion) some of the other characters didn’t necessarily feel threatened or intimidated by her.

    Helen and Georgina still struggled to stand up to her, but it is clear they are not necessarily wary of her like they were in Series 9.

    As I commented on in episode 2, Sharon’s sudden disappearance as the fourth Terrorhawk seems to have allowed the writers to angle Imelda’s story at making her seemingly more volatile and irrational as she becomes completely detached from everyone.

    Gripper’s final episodes in Series 6 were at polar opposites to Imelda – he seemed to maintain a loyal gang of thugs more or less to the end.

    Imelda on the other hand is fast becoming the oddball loner who no one is remotely concerned about, which only serves to fuel her aggressive behaviour.


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