Grange Hill. Series Twelve – Episode Nineteen

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Written by David Angus. Tx 7th March 1989

The fund-raising for the prom is almost complete. That’s happened in double quick time – in series gone by you would have expected this to be a running plotline for some time (with sponsored events, etc). Given that elsewhere this year we’ve had the odd hint that life in the real world can be hard, the fact that an all expenses paid end of year bash can be put on with no apparent struggle sends out a strange sort of message ….

The pupils have only collected a fairly paltry fifteen pounds for Mr Bronson’s leaving present (out of a thousand potential donors).  You might have expected a few more to have chipped in, especially as he’s still acting in an unpredictably friendly manner.

I like the fact that the staff seem to have forgotten to do their own collection until the girls – Georgina, Helen, Fiona – reminded them. Judging by the number of notes in the jam jar they’ve all been quite generous in double-quick time – although this seems to be more out of politeness than love. Mr Robson, for example, suggests they buy him a copy of Hitler’s memoirs, although he worries that it may be too light! I wonder if this was an in-joke based around Michael Sheard’s multiple turns as the Fuhrer.

The way that Mr Bronson, upon entering the staff room, spots the collection in Mr MacKenzies hand and instantly makes a donation, without even asking what it’s for, is another obvious pointer that he’s a changed man. A slight pity we didn’t have a whole year of this new, improved Mr Bronson. That could have worked well in story terms (especially if the old Mr B came bubbling to surface every now and again).

Vince is furious because Trevor used his (Vince’s) name when rubbishing the standard of school meals on the recent radio report. This is an odd little moment, mainly because it’s so obviously Trev’s voice that I can’t see how anyone would think otherwise for even a moment

Vince is keen to extract his revenge and so persuades Trev to dress as Rambo for the prom. You’ll never guess, but Mauler will be going as Rambo and won’t be at all happy to meet a pretender. It seems crushingly obvious what will happen, but maybe for once it’ll be something less than totally predictable (I’m not holding my breath though).

Tegs’ quest to find his mother leads him and Justine halfway across London to an address where she used to live. She isn’t there anymore and the woman in residence doesn’t have a forwarding address.  The way the always outwardly tough Tegs crumples in distress on the bus ride home, resting his head on Justine’s shoulder, is a touching moment that plays in contrast to the rest of the episode (which is rather lacking in this sort of subtlety).

It’s interesting that Ziggy casually mentions he won’t be returning to Grange Hill next year and even more interesting that nobody really reacts. Still, at least his departure has been foregrounded a little – today’s episode sees Clarke make his final appearance, although there’s no great goodbye from him. His last words are a fairly feeble gag about the new mosaic.

Still, wherever he’s gone, I hope he managed to hang onto his bike.

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One thought on “Grange Hill. Series Twelve – Episode Nineteen

  1. Clarke left because of exams – I don’t think he would’ve settled too well into plots when his character grew older. Interestingly his departure lead to a bit of a character change for Matthew, who was friends with Tegs by series 13. Matthew became a bit more mainstream and was friends with everyone in the class which wasn’t really expected from the character originally established in series 11. Although I suppose the class of 1988 had a lot of changes, a lot of the cast from series 15/16 weren’t in series 11/12.

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