Written by Sarah Daniels. Tx 24th February 1987
Relationship woes kick off this episode. Ronnie is sick of Gonch. She still likes him, but she’s sick of him at the same time. Meanwhile, Georgina and Ant continue to have communication issues. She wants to talk about Imelda whilst he’s more interested in having a kickabout with Ziggy.
Although Georgina didn’t get very far discussing Imelda with Ant, she has a little more success with Helen. Georgina wonders if Imelda was funny in the head or if she was just a bully. This is the sort of debate it would have been good to have when Imelda was a member of the school, but better late than never I guess.
Imelda’s visits to a psychologist are brought up again and this theme is also touched upon later as Georgina and Helen – having got out of sports – ensconce themselves in the art room and decide to express their feelings through their artwork. Miss Booth is intrigued and labels Helen’s work as showing “boredom and anger” whilst Georgina’s “suggests despair”. How serious the girls were being is open to debate, but it’s a slightly unusual moment that presumably came straight from Sarah Daniels’ pen.
More characteristic of the series of a whole is Gonch’s desire to make money. First he wonders if Calley’s horoscopes could be the answer – surely there must be a way to lay bets against them? She’s not keen (as it doesn’t pay to mess with the future) so he turns his attention to Harriet. It’s been a while since we’ve had a serious Donkey watch (her cameo in the previous episode doesn’t really count). Gonch and Hollo offer to take Harriet for a walk, but what they really want to do is to offer donkey rides in the park ….
This episode also digs a little deeper into the personalities of Georgina and Helen. Both tell Mrs Reagan that they’re not too fond of sports (which is odd to hear from Georgina, since she’s always been portrayed as a sporty type). Mrs Reagan, keen to find out what they do like, will no doubt struggle to do anything with their suggestions though (snooker and rock climbing).
Trevor destroys Vince’s den. It’s a mean and petty thing to have done and pushes Trevor back more into the bully persona he briefly adopted at the start of this series. Vince isn’t happy. “I’m going to mash his brainbox apart”. He confronts Trevor but only gets a facefull of semolina for his pains. Trevor seems keen to fill the void left by Imelda, needling Mr Scott in the canteen, although this episode it’s done in a subtle and non-confrontational way. The question as to whether Mr Scott has finally won the respect of the class remains deferred for now.
Cheryl – who, lest we forget, favours healthy eating – is keen to establish an alternative canteen, offering a non-fat diet. This is another of those plotlines that you know isn’t really going to go anywhere.
Banksie’s paranoia is healthy today. He’s convinced that Mrs Reagan’s staring at him (even when she isn’t) and he continues to moan about his work experience placement. He tells Laura that “clearing up after a bunch of weird kids” isn’t what he calls work experience and he’s convinced that it’ll be embarrassing. But he heads off to Hazelrigg School anyway.
This is obviously set up to be a major character defining moment for Banksie. His initial discomfort is plain to see as he stumbles into the dining room where the children are having their lunch (was the “hello” from one of the children scripted or a spontaneous outburst, I wonder?). He’s rescued from his corridor wanderings by the wheelchair-bound Lucy (Leah Finch) who directs him to the headmistress’ office. She may be confined to a wheelchair, but she’s also lively and articulate and so she (and her friend Perry) will help to educate him over the coming episodes.
Zammo continues to express embarrassment at Jackie’s desire to show off her engagement ring at every opportunity, so he’s probably not too disappointed when Mrs McClusky tells her to take it off (it’s against school policy to wear a ring on that finger). Roland’s had quite a journey – from school outcast (1982) to wise sage (1987). He joins Zammo for lunch and offers him his opinion. A key moment occurs when Zammo admits that he doesn’t know why he’s getting married (“it just sort of happened”). Roland’s response seems to crystallise all the doubts that Zammo’s clearly been feeling for some time.
If I had to select my least favourite episode ending from series 10, then this one – Gonch, Hollo and Harriet hotfoot it out of the park, pursued half-heartedly by some shovel wielding park workers – would be high on the list.