Grange Hill. Series Eleven – Episode Four

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Written by David Angus.  Tx 15th January 1988

Mrs Reagan is driving her daughter to school.  She comments approvingly that Matthew’s mother has dropped him off a street away from the gates (and also wonders if eventually she’ll detach him from her apron strings totally and let him catch the bus).  Of course, since she’s driving Laura to school this seems like an odd double standard.

Laura’s face is still set in the same expression she’s worn whenever she’s been in her mother’s company recently.  Think of someone sucking a lemon and you won’t be too far from the mark.

Helen and Georgina’s latest dare is to kiss all the boys in the playground.  This causes old-before-her-time Ronnie to tut in a disapproving manner whilst Ziggy is sanguine about the fact that girls are always throwing themselves at him!  Wisely they both decide to give Danny a wide birth – he’s still radiating despair and irritation at being pushed down a year.  He doesn’t pull his punches when Mrs McClusky innocently asks him how he’s getting on.  “The staff don’t know whether to treat me as an invalid or retarded”.

Danny’s returned to his series nine persona.  An uncommunicative individual, unwilling to accept that any of the school rules relate to him.  The first stirrings of the later conflict between Danny and Mr Bronson can be seen after the senior teacher discusses the boy’s wandering ways with Mr Robson.  Mr Bronson believes that they can no longer put his erratic behaviour down to his illness as he’s – apparently – now fully recovered.

Having forgotten his PE kit, Gonch is forced to borrow a strip from Mr Robson.  This leads to a lightbulb moment as he tells a slightly nonplussed Robbie and Ziggy that they should run a PE reminder service (and offer to hire out strips for anybody who forgets to bring theirs).  The only flaw in this wonderful scheme is that Mr Robson already supplies kit – for free – to anybody who’s forgotten to bring their own, so why should anybody pay for the privilege?

Mauler and his ridiculous crew are once again roaming the school corridors, looking for pint-sized first years to use as American footballs.  Tegs seems like the obvious choice but a militant Justine is having none of it.  He finds it hard to say thank you though – as a loner the words don’t come easy – but Justine continues to shadow him nonetheless.  Clearly there’s something about Tegs (his thieving ways?) which fascinates her.  He later shows his gratitude in a non-verbal way.  This is a moment clearly set up to later address Teg’s fondness for taking things which don’t belong to him.

Meanwhile, Matthew’s absent father (he’s working aboard at a secret location apparently) continues to be an object of innocent interest for the others.  It’s plain that there’s rather more to this than meets the eye as Matthew may be many things, but a fluent liar he isn’t.  Possibly this is connected to his, as yet, unspecified home-life issues.

Fiona and Ronnie now venture further afield for their ration of hip-hop tunes.  They’ve gone to a local club, where they run into Danny who’s painting a mural on the wall.  Fiona is keen to get up on stage and perform, and her hip-hop ambitions intrigue the other two – even Danny, who’s rarely shown an interest in anything this year.  Ronnie’s blossoming friendship with Fiona has started to isolate her from her long-term friend Calley, although this means that Jane – reduced during the last few series to a character with only a handful of lines – has now moved slightly more into prominence (she’s now operating as Calley’s confidant).

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4 thoughts on “Grange Hill. Series Eleven – Episode Four

  1. I don’t think Mrs Reagan’s comments are quite a double standard. It’s not unsurprising for a pupil with a parent teaching at the school to be driven with them without it looking odd. I think it’s more that as a conscientious year head she’s aware of how Matthew has been humiliated daily even before he can get inside the school.

    Gonch’s scheme is silly but Mr Robson isn’t supplying the kit for free – it clearly comes with a punishment as well as not being able to get out of games and looks like another sign of a canny teacher who forward plans against common pupil tricks.

    And after location work last season captured a green bus that gave away they were recording outside London, this time the production has hidden this as the bus Gonch misses is a red one. The 292 is actually one of the London Buses services that go outside London, linking Elstree and Edgware, but few would know this.


  2. “The only flaw in this wonderful scheme is that Mr Robson already supplies kit – for free – to anybody who’s forgotten to bring their own, so why should anybody pay for the privilege?”

    So they don’t get the detention Robson dishes out with the spare kit!

    Why are Mauler and co allowed to run riot in the corridors dressed in American football outfits?! Very odd.


  3. Some nice directorial touches in this episode, I think. The Reagans witnessing pupils making their way to school to the soundtrack of classical music in the car. Bronson and Kendall in the background of the football scene before we move to find out what they are talking about.

    The hip-hop stuff doesn’t feel massively authentic, though. It seems like an attempt to appear cutting edge and relevant and I am not sure it works.


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