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LAST NIGHT; School for scandal is all grown up now.


(BBC 1)

HAS Grange Hill got Quentin Tarantino as a director? I'm sure I was watching Reservoir Dogs when I first switched on to this schoolyard drama.

A group of men with dark shades emerge from a car looking mean and make their way through the Grange Hill gates.

However, there is no Mr Pink - or bloody end scene. Instead it's Mr Robson having a dream about an imminent schools inspectors visit.

Boy, has Grange Hill grown up. Although it has always changed with the times, this is proper drama for children that adults can enjoy as well.

Back in the early 80s and 90s, there always seemed to be a touch of naivety, but perhaps that was because the world was less "with it".

In Tucker's day, it was fancying girls and getting your own back on the teacher. In Zammo's day, it was taking heroin and the Just Say No song which made everyone say yes.

Grange Hill has toughened up with the times.

And when Scots actor Iain Robertson played a bully, he didn't shove boys' heads down loos and flush, but threatened them with knives.

So to Grange Hill 2000. The first episode in a new 25-part series had a new sexy maths teacher, a murder, a would-be DJ and a smattering of racism.

I also noticed how well-dressed the pupils are. In my day, they used to have their ties down to their navels and horrible hairdos - but it was the 80s.

The new influx had their ties neatly knotted, suits cleaned and shirts ironed.

Colin White's character, Spencer, looks like having a key role in the new series. He is copying his dad and becoming a right little racist. He bad-mouths an Indian girl in his class constantly and complains about too much foreign muck at meal times.

It's a pity Grange Hill is on at a time when most of us are still working. This is great drama, with good acting and interesting storylines.

Maybe the BBC should have remembered this when they made Gormenghast.
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Fulton, Rick
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 26, 2000
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