Grange Hill. Series Twelve – Episode Seven

gh 07-01

Written by Chris Ellis. Tx 24th January 1989

Outside of Grange Hill, Chris Ellis’ cv is somewhat slight, but he (I’m assuming he’s a he, although I’m happy to be corrected) was rather chucked in at the deep end when starting work on the series. He began by writing the last two episodes of series ten, followed by the opening two from series eleven. Ellis also contributed just two episodes this year, but his ones – seven and eight – are key. After a faltering start, this is where the drama really begins to ramp up.

We begin in a slightly subdued way though. Suzi is becoming extremely agitated about the clothes she’s received on trial from her mother’s catalogue whilst Tegs continues to live in extreme squalor, something which concerns his new social worker. Tegs is encouraged to clean up his act (and his body and his shirts) by Justine, who gives him some top cleaning tips. Although he balks at her offer to come into the bathroom and scrub his back!

Trevor’s put a bundle of his and other people’s money on Lucky Shark (the horsey picked out by Vince). In one of the most predictable story outcomes ever, it fails to win.

Mrs McClusky gets the chance to demonstrate her skills as an organiser after she directs the traffic down both sides of a particularly gloomy corridor. The school is still in something of a state of disrepair, which makes safe navigation a tad tricky. As touched upon before, it’s unusual to see Grange Hill looking quite so shabby – although this isn’t a major plot point.

It’s simply an excuse to demonstrate a couple of things – first that Mrs McClusky can still bellow with the best of them and secondly that Mr Bronson is far from pleased about Danny’s new school contract. The fact that he chooses this congested spot to argue the toss with her speaks volumes about him.

He quickly runs into Danny and airs his grievances. “School is not a restaurant where you can pick and choose from the menu”.  The problem is that Mr Bronson now appears to be totally powerless where Danny is concerned. Mind you, maybe Mr Bronson had a point when he earlier told Mrs McClusky that as deputy head he should have been consulted. Was this an oversight on her part, or did she simply not bother because she knew Danny wouldn’t get a fair hearing from him?

Mr Bronson has his revenge though – by warning Danny’s potential employers about the sort of person he is (or who Mr Bronson thinks he is). Cue a scene where both Mr Bronson and Danny berate each other at maximum volume. Given that Mr Bronson has been set to simmer for a number of episodes, his explosion is especially noteworthy.

This would make a reasonable but not terribly original episode ending. The fact that Danny appears to have stolen Mr Bronson’s car adds a little extra spice, but at present it’s still not clear how this part of the story will conclude ….


4 thoughts on “Grange Hill. Series Twelve – Episode Seven

  1. The infamous Maurice Bronson has a blazing row with Danny Kendall About A Job at The Swimming Pool and he stormed in without knocking and Danny lost his temper with Bronson and he slammed his fists on a desk also he nearly had a great big fight broke out and Danny Stormed Out Also He Won’t be Coming Back to the School and he pinched Bronson’s Car for a joyride.

    Michael Sheard Died On Wednesday August 31st 2005 at the age of 68 years.

    Terry Christie.
    Sunderland,Tyne & Wear.


  2. Danny Kendal was a fantastic Grange Hill character. Jonathan Lambert had the right physical appearance and mannerisms to make Danny as authentic as possible.

    Danny was one of those ‘complex’ characters – you never knew were you stood with him and there was always something going on under the surface – you could never quite work him out!

    There was a kid in my year group at secondary school – a bit of a loner and a bit off the wall. He was potentially an academic genious, but he hated authority and was constantly challenging the education system at the frustration of the teachers.

    I remember watching this episode when it originally aired back in 1989 when I was a kid and thinking ‘oh my God!’ – Bronson really is losing it!!!!

    What I never understood about Bronson – if he was eager to see the back of Danny Kendall from Grange Hill, wouldnt it have been more prudent to allow him to gravitate towards the potential new job without putting the boot in?


  3. (According to an interview with TES Chris Ellis is indeed a he but I can’t post the link for some reason.)

    The big showdown episode. This is one of those situations where everyone seems to be in both the right and wrong. Danny is right that he made a deal which has been undermined by Mr Bronson, Mrs McClusky is right to take charge of the situation but Mr Bronson is also right that Danny has behaved unreasonably and doesn’t deserve special treatment. Although we’ve only heard snippets about it, including here, it seems clear that the formal role of deputy head is more than simply a back-up for when the head is absent but rather has clearly defined responsibilities in particular areas. The problem is that most organisations often struggle to satisfactorily handle situations where an individual both has the key authority and is the centre of a problem and simply pulling rank is rarely a satisfactory solution. Effectively both Mr Bronson and Mrs McClusky have undermined each other in their separate approaches to Danny to ultimately destructive ends.

    In regards Danny leaving the school, he’s in the fifth year already and likely the sort to not apply to stay on for A-Levels, and his academic record with so many holes would probably disqualify his chances, so he would likely be leaving at the end of the year regardless. (I’m not sure if Danny was eligible to leave school already as I’m not sure if the end of compulsory education was at the time linked to a pupil’s age or to the school year, a distinction that matters when a year has been repeated. However the show this series seems to have forgotten Danny was held back and so was already 16 at the start of the year.) So this potential job wouldn’t have made a difference to when he’ll finally be gone. Rather I think Mr Bronson is in part justifying it to himself that “rewarding” Danny will have a wider effect on discipline but also it’s increasingly clear to everyone else that he’s pursuing a vendetta.

    I’d forgotten this is also the episode where Justine gets Tegs to take a bath. The relationship between them has developed well so far and shows boys and girls can be friends. Meanwhile Gonch’s continued attempts to chat up Mandy are even more annoying than his money making schemes.


  4. Until this series Bronson has been a believable, if rather extreme character. Many schools had these sort of, forgive me, old school teachers who insisted on discipline above all else and would let that get in the way of actual teaching – and Bronson was a pretty good example of that, even if it sometimes bordered on pantomime villain.

    This year, though, he has crosses the line into dangerously obsessed, something that should really have been picked up by his fellow teachers or head. Of course, this was just done for dramatic storytelling purposes, and there have been far more contrived plots in the show, but it detracts from the enjoyment for me a litte.


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