Grange Hill – Series Ten, Episode Fourteen

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Written by Margaret Simpson.  Tx 20th February 1987

It’s a nice touch that Calley’s interest in horoscopes (first mentioned during series eight) is referenced again here.  Often, character traits are mentioned once or twice and then forgotten about (Ziggy’s love of spiders for example).  Calley is gearing up to produce radio horoscopes (although she’s more than a little reluctant to read them out herself) whilst Vince is keen as mustard to start broadcasting.

His slot – wonderfully titled Savage Sounds – doesn’t start until ten past one and since he comes bursting in at 8:45, Freddie has to gently tell him that he’s just a little early.  A little preparation is required, but possibly not four and a half hours.

Zammo and Jackie’s secret engagement doesn’t stay secret for very long since Jackie can’t resist wearing her engagement ring.  That she’s being so public infuriates Zammo, but if he didn’t want people to know, then why bother to get engaged at all?  Why not wait until they’ve left school?

Jackie’s deliciously blatant in making sure everybody clocks her ring.  She doesn’t quite wave it under their noses, but it’s close.  Meanwhile Zammo sits next to her, twisting his hands and looking less than delighted.  Oh dear.  But the best is yet to come – as their happy news is broadcast over the airwaves for everybody to hear.  Zammo’s not at all happy when this happens, and neither is Robbie (whose relationship with Zammo has changed from hero worship during series eight to simmering antagonism now).

And how well does Banksie take the news?  Well, he’s biting his leather jacket, so I think we can assume he’s not going to be the first to shake their hands.  Miss Booth later articulates what most people (both staff and pupils) are probably thinking.  “It makes me want to cry just to think about it. They’re kids, they haven’t even started to live yet”.  Unsurprisingly everybody wonders if Jackie’s pregnant, but that’s not the case – these two crazy kids just seem to love each other … or think they do.

We’ve not seen Harriet for a while (a shame I know).  She makes a brief appearance here as Robbie, still reeling from the news about his sister and Zammo, seeks solace with the donkey.

Mr Scott’s latest science lesson with N3 seems to be going a good deal more smoothly now that Imelda is no longer part of the school community.  Everybody seems to be listening to him, well everybody except Trevor who’s attempting to get Vince to reveal the location of his secret den.

Not even Mrs McClusky can object to Calley’s horoscopes (since they offer such nuggets as “make sure your homework is handed in on time”).  Unfortunately some of the later ones go a little awry as the wrong introductory music means that they end up rather jumbled (Aquarius read out as Capricorn for example).  Ziggy was the unwitting recipient of a specially composed horoscope, designed to bolster his confidence ahead of his human fly act.

But Ziggy has a plan, one which means he doesn’t have to risk his neck.  He plans to do a Harold Lloyd and only pretend to scale the building – he plans to nip round the back of the building, dash up the fire escape and emerge on the roof – to receive the tumultuous applause that he no doubts believes is no more than his due.

But his scheme seems to have gone awry after he coolly informs the waiting crowds that he’s already planted his banner.  Since they can’t see it, it’s not surprising that they have trouble believing him.  Gonch and Trevor (unlikely bedfellows) are just preparing to duff him up when Mr Bronson comes haring round the corner, banner in hand, wondering why he saw it floating down from the assembly hall roof.  Ziggy’s delighted – even Mr Bronson’s anger doesn’t deflect from the fact that the others are not only silenced but are forced to pay up.

A slight damp squib of an ending then, in an episode which – Zammo and Jackie apart – feels curiously empty.

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