Grange Hill – Series Ten, Episode Nine

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Written by Margaret Simpson.  Tx 3rd February 1987

I do believe Mr Bronson is human after all.  Spying Banksie walking to school he offers him a lift in his car.  Banksie initially refuses, but Mr Bronson isn’t taking no for an answer and eventually the boy agrees.  The teacher listens sympathetically to the reason why he no longer brings his motorbike to school (left outside in the street it’s liable to get knocked about) and decides that if it was left in the carpark then it would be safer.

All this and apologising for accusing him of wrecking his car too.  I wonder what’s caused this sudden sea change, could it be Danny’s illness?  There’s certainly a much more conciliatory air about Mr Bronson at present – witness the way he organises a lunchtime meeting to consider ways they can raise funds for Danny’s family.

It’s strange though to see him stripped of his usual arrogance as it’s such a defining character trait.  Without it he’s curiously vulnerable – this is most evident when he’s standing outside the assembly hall, fretting that his meeting will be poorly attended.  The reason?  Everybody’s attending a rival meeting organised by the pupils in the radio room.

His sudden cheerleading for Danny doesn’t go down well with everyone – most notably Miss Booth, who’s in something of a stroppy mood anyway.  She’s not pleased with Mr Bronson’s sudden adoption of Danny as Grange Hill’s favourite son and she’s even less delighted when Mr Kennedy takes over editorial control of the radio station.  Her bad day continues when Ziggy tells her she’s not welcome at their meeting (although it’s plain he doesn’t speak for the others).

Ziggy’s in a rather arrogant mood, which isn’t like him.  He declares that he’ll raise funds for Danny by scaling the highest building in the school and planting a banner (shades of Tucker J).  But before he can get started he needs money for the banner and a safety harness, meaning that his capital outlay makes it hard to imagine he’ll end up making that much money.  And whilst he claims to be doing it all for Danny, it seems to be more about Ziggy’s lust for glory.  As I said, a tad unusual.  He does manage to get some money from the others though, a point which will become important later ….

Imelda, it may not surprise you to learn, is still causing trouble.  It’s serious this time though as she gets involved in a classroom scrap which results in a bloody nose for Ronnie and general mayhem.  An unusual high shot gives us a bird’s-eye view of this short, but explosive piece of action.

Mr Scott’s not present (he’d already hightailed it out to find Mr Kennedy).  The older teacher doesn’t seem terribly pleased to be called, which no doubt only serves to fray Mr Scott’s already shattered nerves some more.  So Imelda is removed from class for the day with the warning that she’s well on the way to being suspended – something which appears to fill her with complete indifference.

Banksie and Jackie – separately  – take the opportunity to bend Fay’s ear.  Banksie’s wondering if he should go on the forthcoming canal trip as he can’t bear being close to Jackie if she’s still not speaking to him.  Jackie meanwhile is ruminating on her reactivated relationship with Zammo.  Fay, who’s been frantically studying all year, possibly isn’t too bothered about either of their tangled love lives but is too polite to say so.

It’s very odd to see Calley, Ronnie and Hollo together as they’re not a natural trio.  The reason quickly becomes clear as the girls have news – Gonch is due back soon.  But that’s not all – he and Ronnie are an item and have been for a while.  Hollo is unbelieving, surely Gonch would have shared this news with his best friend?  A surprising revelation that’s for sure and it’s a little odd that it’s not been mentioned before.

Donkey watch.  Helen is clearly very fond of Harriet (nothing else could excuse the baby talk she indulges in) whilst Imelda is much less so.  We can tell that Imelda’s a rotter by the way that she kicks the donkey, although this does have an ulterior motive.  She wants Ziggy’s money, which he’s hidden in Harriet’s stable ….

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5 thoughts on “Grange Hill – Series Ten, Episode Nine

  1. The credits for this episode say Margaret Simpson, not Helen Raynor.

    Imelda is the most interesting character for me in this period, but she’s a real victim of the script editing and narrative tone of mid-eighties Grange Hill. She really deserves a properly-planned escalating through-line of ever greater bolshiness and deliniquency that affects more and more people more and more drastically. But instead she’s all too frequently diverted into being the comic antagonist in childish caper storylines, diluting her menace and dramatic potential.


  2. Considering how much Series 10 was wasted on the donkey plot and Radio Grange Hill, it maybe could have been a nice gesture to expand on Imelda’s story to delve into her background.

    She seemed to cause a wave of misery for everyone, then come episode ten, she’s out and gone forever from GH.

    Even if Fleur Taylor didn’t intend staying beyond Series 10, it could have been worth while exploring this story over further episodes later in the series.


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