Friday, June 05, 2009

Not Over The Hill

Sweetly, work clubbed together and bought me four series of Grange Hill for my birthday. Actually, I asked for it as they didn't know what to get me, but it's the thought that counts.

So full of a big lunch, and with Mrs F-C away and not being one for birthday, I settled down to six full episodes of what was once my favourite show. I worried, however, that it might not stand up. I've seen bits of it over the years, and it always looked rather studio-bound and spare. It does, and the acting's shocking, but there's something about it that remains utterly marvellous.

Perhaps it's the nostalgia element: pudding bowl haircuts, those last few sunny days when you got back to school, making new friends, teachers allowed to hit you, the size of your new school, mean older kids making a your life a misery. Oh, those salad days. It's a trip back in time and it does still stand up today.

I was 13 when Grange Hill started in 1978, and it was so amazing because it was Just Like School. Just like it - well, if you lived in Hampshire and went to school that boasted one Asian girl. But it was still all about a modern comprehensive and tackled issues close to teenagers' hearts Nothing I'd ever seen before had come close. I thought Tucker, who was my age, was quite scary and me being more the Justin Bennett type would have been scared in real life. But they all look so young and so thin.

I met Todd Carty many times over the years, and he's a really nice guy. It was like a dream for me to sit and interrogate him about being Tucker and he was quite happy to talk about it, too.

It's great to spot the stars of today and also to see how many classmates you can recall. I'mm going to enjoy this very much and I can't wait for my favourite episode, the one where Cathy Hargreaves (my schooldays crush) went shoplifting with scary Madeleine Tanner who wore a racy dark green leather jacket.

Look out! There's a flying sausage coming your way.


Planet Mondo said...

Just like school without the swearing we always said - it was a great, great show - natural drama, not overplayed sreaming sensationalism.

I remember feeling cheated seeing 'Tucker' on Swap Shop though, he was so posh in real life..

Remeber Gripper, he was terrifying

PS - I was on a retro bike-buzz yesterday. Did you ever have a Grifter? some fab photos here..

Matthew Rudd said...

Being a tad younger, my earliest proper memory of Tucker was when he was a leather-clad, biking school leaver who rescued Roland Browning from Gripper Stebson's bullying by clutching his ear and dragging him away. He then promptly did what Gripper was about to do - nicked Roland's mint cream. Fantastic.

TV Cream gets everything right, but has never been righter than when it said Grange Hill died the moment Danny Kendall did.

Beth said...

Danny Kendall was my hero and role model. You can't go far wrong in a moral dilemma if you ask yourself "What would Danny Kendall do?"

Five-Centres said...

I served Danny Kendall when I worked in a bookshop in the late Eighties. He was thrilled to be recognised. But by that time I'd stopped watching really.

Those first few years were priceless. It's probably true to say it died when Danny did.

Five-Centres said...

Oh and no, PM, not a Grifter. I had a Tomahawk and my brother had a Chipper.

Cocktails said...

Ah, Danny Kendall. What a rebel. I remember the episode he died like yesterday.

Grange Hill also had an ace theme tune. Probably not QUITE as good as Degrassi, but it still helped the show stick in the mind.

I also loved Press Gang - it never gets reminisced about in quite the same way as Grange Hill though.

Five-Centres said...

Nothing comes close to Degrassi Cocktails. I've never actually seen Press Gang as I think I was a little older and eschewed kid's TV by then.

Ishouldbeworking said...

I was always jealous of Grange Hill as it looked a damn sight more fun than the crappy school I went to - even with Gripper around. There was nothing to beat it in its heyday (though I am currently waiting delivery of 'Children of the Stones' and 'The Feathered Serpent' from Amazon.).

I saw a porn film once where the theme tune from GH was extensively used in the 'action scenes'. That was as bizarre a juxtaposing as you could imagine...

Roman Empress said...

I remember being tangibly jealous when Suzanne had tickets to see The Human League.