Grange Hill – Series Ten, Episode Twenty

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Written by Margaret Simpson.  Tx 13th March 1987

Laura isn’t keen on joining Banksie and Lucy at the craft fair, which somewhat annoys him.  It’s very noticeable that Mrs Reagan’s earlier antagonism towards Banksie has now totally dissipated – a pity that we didn’t see this thaw happen though (not for the first time events are taking place off-screen).

It’s initially not clear why Laura doesn’t want to go.  Is she tiring of Banksie or is Lucy the problem?  Laura later confides to Julia that Lucy – and specifically her disability – was the reason.  This isn’t something which reflects well on Laura, but it was inevitable that at least one character would have to articulate this viewpoint.

After expressing surprise that Lucy looked nice (“I thought she’d be twisted and, well, ugly”) Laura then goes on to list a whole litany of things which upset her.  “I can’t even stand people who are fat or ugly or who’ve got birthmarks or who limp or old women with bits of hair growing out of their chins. Can’t stand that”.  Crickey! Clearly Laura is only interested in perfection.

But if Lucy’s presence has highlighted all of Laura’s negative traits then it’s done the opposite for Banksie as working at Hazelrigg School has been a revelation for him.  He tells Lucy that it’s the first time he feels that he’s appreciated and treated like a human being.

Lucy continues to be a character with depths – we’re never invited to feel sorry for her, the fact that she’s disabled is a part of who she is but it’s not something which defines her.  In other ways she’s a typically mischievous teenager (keen to do a bit of shoplifting) and – like Calley and the others – is also interested in fashion and jewellery (both Lucy and Calley buy earrings from Fay’s stall at the craft fair).

Donkey Watch.  Harriet’s finally been offloaded to the donkey sanctuary in Essex which means that a weight has been lifted off Mr Griffiths’ shoulders (and I’m sure also from the viewers).  Helen is a bit teary but I’m sure she’ll get over it.  Bye, bye Harriet.

Ant and Georgina continue to glower at each other.  He’s not terribly pleased that she’s decided to spend her Saturday with Mr Griffiths, Helen and Harriet rather than him.  And when he’s not getting aggro from Georgina then some long-haired fellow pupils at St Josephs are also on hand to taunt him that he’s a Grange Hill lad at heart.  But the truth is that Ant doesn’t seem to be happy anywhere.

Ronnie and Gonch still seem to be a couple.  Their relationship – such as it is – has to be one of the most underdeveloped we’ve ever seen.

Julie’s choosing material for her bridesmaid’s dress, Jackie’s trying on bridal gowns, whilst Zammo’s tagging along – alternately sulking and viewing the assembled wedding paraphernalia with barely concealed horror.  It couldn’t be more obvious that he still believes that they’re rushing into marriage, but he lacks the courage to speak up.

If Zammo’s educational journey this year (he passed just about all his resits) seemed slightly unlikely (he never appeared to be a particularly gifted pupil) then Fay’s journey (she failed just about all of hers) was also slightly surprising.

The reasons are teased out in this episode as it appears that, despite the passage of time, she still hasn’t put Mr King behind her.  She’s mentioned him numerous times during the year which means that his appearance at the craft fair comes as something of a jolt.  First he encounters Miss Booth (also selling her wares) who tells him that Fay’s doing okay (the way he can’t meet her eyes is a telling moment – the guilt he feels is quite palpable).  Fay’s delighted to see him but less delighted when she realises that he’s come with a girlfriend in tow.  Mr King has moved on – new job, new relationship, new life – which only serves to reinforce how in comparison Fay has remained in stasis.

Part of her might have remained hopeful that he’d return and they’d pick up where they left off (a slim part maybe) but now she knows that’s impossible.  The camera is quick to pick up on this as Fay is given an extreme close-up at the exact moment when she realises the truth.  Poor Fay.  She’s somewhat been through the wringer during the past year, but this should hopefully serve as the wake-up call she so desperately needed.

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

  1. I remember back in the 90s when these were all repeated, even the yoof presenters were saying the donkey storyline was rubbish. But you know what? I never thought it was that bad. And rewatching it, well, it still doesn’t seem that bad. Maybe Grange Hill didn’t need a donkey, but the whole “hiding her from the staff” thing is resolved reasonably quickly, and even the trope of her getting loose and causing havoc is only there in the first third, after which she’s just sitting in her shed while people visit her or being let out under supervision, like a school pet would be. Maybe it’s easier to stomach when you’re binge watching on DVD rather than seeing it once or twice a week!


  2. As Steveresin has commented, Laura Regan’s behaviour was appalling in this episode.

    Although she was absent, for the first part of Series 10, Laura was depicted as being something of an uptight snob this year.

    In Series 9, Laura was the fun loving sensible girl and thankfully she returned to her more good natured personality in Series 11, but alas she isn’t very likable at all this year.

    As I have commented previously, the Laura and Julia plots from Series 9 were good to watch, but by Series 10, the pair of them didn’t seem to spend much screen time together (when Laura returned in episode 10).

    The brief appearance of Peter King in this episode seems to act as Fay’s swansong in GH. We know her time in the series is coming to an end, and the final scenes seem to draw a complete line under the events of Series 9, bringing a dose of reality for Fay and forcing her to move forward.

    The Harriet the Donkey plot is finally brought to a fairy tale ending here in which we see her take up her home in a animal sanctuary in Essex.

    One thing that did puzzled me was why Ziggy did go with them to Essex? Considering he was integral to the donkey story at the beginning, why suddenly does he seem redundant in the plot to rehome her?


  3. Apologises – predictive text is a nightmare at times.

    My last paragraph should have read ‘why didn’t Ziggy go to Essex with the others?


  4. “Only Grange Hill could have a donkey. Ridiculous!”

    FINALLY Ant contributes something useful this year.

    I forget if it was the 20th anniversary show (“From Grange Hill to Albert Square… and Beyond”) or one of those countdown shows that were all the rage at the turn of the millennium but the Harriet plot was brought up as an example of the show at its most ridiculous so it had definitely hit legendary status even then.

    Watching the episodes through she’s not as significant to the season as legend would have it (though it’s not helped by a shortage of especially memorable plots) but she does hang around long after her story arc has come to a natural conclusion. Mind you so does Ant. And this plot is just doesn’t feel like something that could happen at a school in the era.


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