Grange Hill. Series Thirteen – Episode Eleven

Written by Margaret Simpson. Tx 6th February 1990

It’s been discussed for a while, but today we finally see just how wretched Matthew’s home life now is. He’s living in temporary accommodation along with his mother and sister (a single room with no bathroom in a rather squalid building).

And although no violence from the other residents is shown, we do hear it (the episode concludes with Matthew and his sister, Lucy, locked inside their room listening to shouts and screams elsewhere in the building). As ever, GH had to tread a fine line between attempting to display the reality of a situation and knowing that they very were restricted in what could be portrayed at 5.00 pm on a weekday afternoon.  Yes, everything could have been much nastier, but I think the point was still well made.

Throughout the episode Matthew suffers more and more – he’s unable to find the book Miss Monroe lent him (so he’ll have to pay for it), then he’s cornered by Justine and Chrissy who are looking for his t-shirt money (I thought he’d paid for that before) and finally he glumly looks at his bust shoe (which seems to be beyond repair).

Moving onto Tegs, it’s noticeable in the past that the series had often elected not to show certain dramatic moments, instead they simply reported them. This happens again here – the previous episode concluded with Tegs absconding from his mother’s house but today we’re told that he went back shortly afterwards and spent a fairly convivial weekend with her. It’s a very odd move – not only for the way it negates the tension of episode ten’s cliffhanger, but also because it’s a very offhand way to pay off a storyline that’s been developing over several years.

Elsewhere in the episode, Rod continues to turn a fast buck (selling cigarettes to the first years) whilst Mauler is still incensed that he’s not on Mr Hargreaves’ vigilance committee. The saga of the t-shirts also rumbles on, with arguments aplenty (the test shirts have run in the wash). Given how shambolic things have been so far, it’s hard to see how the girls are ever going to turn a profit.

Julie only has a few lines in this episode, but she still catches the eye. At several points she’s framed in the background, silent and alone. These shot choices seem to be intentional, suggesting that her lack of confidence and self esteem will be developed further in future episodes.

Miss Booth and Mr Hargreaves continue to clash, which provides the episode with a few minutes of entertainment. Today, she’s incensed that he’s chosen her to supervise a butcher, who’s come along to give a talk on the best ways to cut up meat.  That’s an odd sort of public speaker it has to be said.

Will this act as a red rag to Ronnie? Well, not really, although she’s clearly not best pleased about it and storms off to speak to Mrs McClusky (Mrs McClusky is unmoved though). Ronnie’s given the chance not to attend, but she does so anyway – although no outbursts are forthcoming from her. But I’ve a feeling she’s keeping her powder dry for future adventures.

9 thoughts on “Grange Hill. Series Thirteen – Episode Eleven

  1. This series is all new to me, I gave up on GH after series 12 back in the day, I followed Mr Bronson out of the door, but I thought I’d persevere now until my interest wanes. I must say what on earth is going on with the dramatic music inserted throughout the episodes? Were they trying to emulate Neighbours or Home & Away? I find it ridiculous on GH. That said some of the new characters are quite good, such as Anna Quayle and the new deputy head.

    Hopefully these reviews will start up again, shame to see they end here.

    One last thing… I have it on good authority the reason Clarke Trent is missing after season 12 is he’s on a country wide search for his bicycle!


  2. I have really enjoyed going to these reviews after watching each episode. It’s been a good companion guide. Sometimes I’ve enjoyed them more than the episodes! I’m sad to see they end here. I think I originally stopped watching here way back when, but after initially struggling to figure out the new characters at the start of this series I’m kind of enjoying it so will continue for now and see how far I get. Thank you for these anyway. Have appreciated them very much.


  3. The incidental music injected into this series is absolutely horrendous!!! As is rather too much of the acting. I can understand rewatching it now – and about to give up on it having enjoyed the previous 12 – why I stopped watching during series 13 the first time round! 😦


  4. Lucy has become one of the rare characters in the series to be recast, though admittedly she was a pretty minor role anyway, and also seems to have deaged from two years ago. And Matthew previously paid a deposit rather than the full fee for the T-shirt.

    Another minor continuity error is the way Becky’s blouse changes colour and back. In the art room scene she’s in a white blouse but elsewhere it’s blue thanks to one of the T-shirts running in the wash.

    And yes the incidental music is annoying.


  5. I noticed the blouse colour change too. Glad I wasn’t imagining it.

    The reaction to Miss Booth’s new hair colour and style, and clothes, is an interesting ongoing development. I assume it will lead somewhere. It is certainly an authentic plot thread, as it is precisely the sort of thing kids would gossip about. I wonder if Karen Ford did go for a style change and the producers decided to write it into the storyline in a humorous way.

    And can I just add my thanks for cataloguing and reviewing all the episodes till now. It is a shame you have not been able to continue past this one, but I know how demanding it is to keep a blog like this going. I have been revisiting the series over the past year and a bit via BritBox and these posts have been a welcome follow-up to each episode. Much appreciated.


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