Grange Hill – Series Ten, Episode Twenty One

grange hill s10e21-01

Written by Barry Purchese.  Tx 17th March 1987

The pupils are still revolting, as it were.  Freddie and Laura (unusual that she’s shown here to be something of an anti-establishment firebrand) are miffed at a new directive issued by Mr Bronson.  Any pupil found to be deliberately misinterpreting the school rules will face punishment.

Freddie and Laura affect surprise and shock at this, but it can hardly have come as a surprise.  So are they genuinely upset or simply pretending for Miss Booth’s sake?  It appears to be the former, but that’s slightly hard to credit.  It’s also noteworthy that Mr Bronson isn’t the one to issue this decree, instead he remains off-stage whilst Miss Booth is cast in the unusual position of the hard woman.

It later transpires that he only intends to announce his proclamation personally to specific classes – such as E3.  The reason is plain – he can’t trust Mr Scott to do so.  That he explains this to Mr Scott – in the middle of the staffroom where everybody can overhear – is typical of Mr Bronson.  But he’s called away for a meeting with Mrs McClusky, so Mr Scott is given the joy of reading the message.

When Mr Bronson later tangles with a group of fourth-formers holding a protest meeting (Freddie and Laura are again involved) he’s at his most implacable.  The conciliatory approach doesn’t seem to be on his agenda, instead he plans to stamp down hard.  But it’s this autocratic approach which is fermenting rebellion and dissent all over the school – right up to the sixth-formers.

This sudden wave of anti-school feeling is a little hard to take seriously.  Yes, some points – closed profiles – have been debated in previous episodes but for such a staff/pupil breakdown to have occurred you’d expect there to have been many more flashpoints.  The strict interpretation of the school rules (walking in the corridors at all times, etc) was one way of protesting at the inequalities inherent in the system, but ramping it up so suddenly seems a little unnatural.

Trevor, as he has all year, alternates between being a bully and a buffoon.  On the one hand he’s keen to gain revenge on Mr Scott (where he’s allowed to be rather unpleasant) but on the other he continues to be haunted (sorry) by the Grange Hill ghost.  Gonch, Hollo, Ziggy and Robbie agree to disrupt Mr Scott’s lesson (only a few episodes ago they’d elected to ease off on the troublemaking) although they have an ulterior motive – Trevor agrees to join them later in a spot of ghostbusting.  And once they’ve humiliated Trevor again, surely Mr Scott’s troubles will be over ….

Trevor has elected to use that old chestnut – humming.  If a number of people, in different positions, all hum at the same time then it’ll be impossible to determine where the noise is coming from.  Long-time GH watchers will remember that this has been done before, although not with the spectacular results we see here.  Mr Scott might have had a very long tether, but eventually he’s come to the end of it.  He heads for the door as Trevor jeers “that’s it. Run off and get your boyfriend Kennedy”.  Once the words are out of his mouth the mood in the classroom changes.

Mr Scott turns around, the humming abruptly stops and he approaches Trevor very slowly.  As with Trevor’s previous classroom taunting of Mr Scott, everybody else is now quiet and immobile, which helps to focus all of our attention on the pair of them.  Mr Scott grabs him by the throat and aims a punch at his head … but doesn’t deliver it.  Old-school GH teachers may have smacked the pupils about, but by 1987 it clearly wasn’t acceptable – or if it did happen then the teacher would have had to lose his job straight away.  Is it significant that Mr Scott pauses after Ronnie calls out to him?

There’s a lovely meeting between Mrs McClusky and Mr Bronson.  She’s very, very miffed that he’s gone ahead with his directive without consulting her.  “You sought to determine school policy without reference to me”.  She’s not a happy bunny.

Kelly George, later to return to the series as Ray, makes his debut as a St Joseph’s pupil who tangles with Danny.  Yes, Danny’s back, although he’s not interested in joining the others in their protest.  They plan to occupy Radio Grange Hill and broadcast messages of freedom.  Hmm, I can foresee that isn’t going to end well.  But for all his studied disinterest he still quickly works out that Julia is working as a mole for her father (Freddie suspected it, but he didn’t have any evidence – only the fact that her dislike for him might be a factor).

grange hill s10e21-02

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