Grange Hill. Series Ten – Episode Seventeen

grange hill s10e17-01

Written by Chris Ellis.  Tx 3rd March 1987

Freddie, Julie, Ziggy, Robbie and Vince are heartened by a taped message from Danny in which he states that he’s doing well in Aberdeen.  But Roland, passing by, tells them that he’s heard – via Miss Partridge – that the truth is somewhat different.  Everybody’s worried about Danny’s progress (so presumably he’s just putting a brave face on for his friends).

That the others – especially Ziggy – choose not to believe Roland is telling.  Ziggy’s comment of “teachers” suggests that any information received from teachers must be misinformation.  This could tie into the general simmering discontent between pupils and staff, or it could be another example of Ziggy’s skewered judgement.

But at least Ziggy (staggering about on crutches after his not at all dramatic fall during the football match) is prepared to shake Ant’s hand and let bygones be bygones.  He’s the only one though as everybody else either gives Ant the silent treatment (Calley, Ronnie), makes an ironic joke (Gonch, Hollo) or calls him a villain (Freddie).  Poor Ant.  Since he doesn’t seem to be getting on too well at his new school (he mentions that most of his friends are still at GH) it’s plain that life’s not treating him well at present.

Donkey Watch.  The vet’s got good news … and bad news.  Harriet’s trip to the park (and a munch of the rhododendron bushes) has left her stomach a bit upset.  But she should make a full recovery.  Thank goodness.

Previously we were told that Imelda was the rotten apple of E3 and if she was removed then Mr Scott would be able to regain control of the class.  This isn’t how things have played out though – his affable persona from the canal trip seems to have dissipated and once again he’s hopelessly adrift as he allows the class to run riot.

Mr Scott’s proclamation that “the register is a legal document and must be taken twice daily” doesn’t have the reaction he hopes for.  His attempt to wrest the register from a previously unseen E3 girl ends up with Mr Scott scrabbling about on the floor.  With a complete loss of dignity and everybody (save Ronnie) jeering at him, this is by far his worst day at the office.

He then decides to re-establish his authority by placing any latecomers in detention, a fact which doesn’t please the very late Trevor.  Mr Scott then tries to win back E3 by telling them that he plans to let each of them organise the form tutorial.  Ronnie knows that this is a very bad idea … made even worse by the fact that Trevor will be first up.

Although Trevor’s somewhat intimidating during class (and also has been at various other points during S10) his hardman image always tends to get punctured very quickly – as demonstrated when Gonch tells him the story of the Grange Hill ghost.

Some old teacher from years ago. He used to beat kids ’till the blood run down his cane. Apparently he used to have lots of canes named after famous battleships. Then one day, one break it was, he mysteriously disappeared. There was no trace of him nor HMS Bismarck which he’d had in his hand when last seen. Maybe he went mad or some old kids from the school came back and murdered him. But everybody agrees about one thing. His spirit is not at rest. He still walks the corridors, with cane in his hand. People say they’ve heard HMS Bismarck swishing in the darkness and heard the cries of some ghostly victim.

A wonderfully delivered monologue by John Holmes, topped off by John Drummond’s increasing unease as the story becomes more and more bloodcurdling.  There may be a few things this year (hello Harriet!) which have irritated me, but this is comedy gold – and it’s something we’ll return to another time …

In some people’s eyes Miss Partridge has become too closely aligned to the pupils.  This is mentioned to her by Miss Booth – who’s never been as dogmatic as Mr Bronson (although she does possess something of a hard streak).  As for Mr Bronson himself, he is in no doubt that allowing the pupils a voice is the first step on a slippery slope.   “Pupil power is a mockery, not democracy. You cannot have power without responsibility”.

The meeting between staff and pupils doesn’t go well for the pupils.  And Miss Partridge doesn’t fare much better.  When Mrs McClusky and Mr Bronson learn that she assisted them in crafting their debating points, both of the senior teachers unite and turn on her (unusual to see them align in this way).  She storms off and the pupils aren’t far behind.  They’ve tried democracy and failed, although it’s debatable as to whether the staff, apart from Miss Partridge, were that interested in any of their points.

Even those you might class as ‘moderates’ – Miss Booth, Mrs Reagan – couldn’t seem to comprehend that secret profiles are a bad idea.  This seems slightly hard to believe, but the fact that the gang of four – Freddie, Julie, Cheryl and Roland – feel that they’ve been denied a voice via the democratic route means that alternative methods will have to be found ….

grange hill s10e17-02

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