Grange Hill Fan Fiction
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One big Happy Family - by Phil Redmond
The caretaker of Grange Hill, Mr. Garfield unlocked the padlock and pulled back the bar on the gate, swinging it inwards. Almost immediately, Benny Green, a small West Indian boy, entered. He was casually dressed with a satchel over one shoulder and carried a football as though it was his most treasured possession. Benny strode purposefully towards the entrance.
"Judy, are you up yet?" called Mrs. Preston. Judy pretended not to hear, and pulled the bedclothes so they completely covered her.
"Judy," her mother called again. Again, Judy ignored her, and hoped she would go away.
"For goodness' sake," exclaimed her mother, as she marched into Judy's bedroom and pulled back the curtains allowing the bright September sunlight to stream through. "Do you know what time it is?" There was no reply.
"Judy!" said Mrs. Preston once again, and this time pulled back the bedclothes to reveal her daughter's face.
Sometime before the summer holidays had began, Judy had passed by the rear of the comprehensive on the way to the dentists with her mother. She had been intimidated by its vastness, and what seemed to be thousands of teenagers towering above her as she looked through the fence. Her friend Angie was going to Brookdales, and had told Judy how it was the best school in the district, and how Grange Hill was the worst. Judy believed Angie because her mother was a school superintendent for the area. For six weeks Judy had put aside the thought of starting at Grange Hill. For five weeks she was successful, but then the inevitable day loomed close and she could think of nothing else other than the impending doom. In that last week, everything reminded her of school. Back To School said the signs in the shops, and mum kept on talking about the things she would need.
And now the day of reckoning had arrived. Some excuse was needed and Judy thought quickly.
"I don't feel well. I've got tummy pains..."
Mrs. Preston was not so easily taken in. This ruse had been used before - or rather tried before, because it had never worked.
"Oh now don't you start that again. You're going to school today and that's that!" When Judy didn't move, her mother added: "Come on, your breakfast's ready."
Mrs. Preston turned away as Judy sat up. Judy's long blonde hair cascaded down her back. Mrs. Preston saw that Judy looked worried, and softened her tone.
"Come on, it won't be as bad as all that," she said.
"It will," disagreed Judy. "Angie Davis says the boys at Grange Hill are terrible."
"Well, you shouldn't listen to what Angie Davis says," said Mrs. Preston reasonably. "Anyway, how does she know, has she ever been there?"
"Well, no but..."
"Well, there you are then! You just think about all the new friends you'll make."
Judy thought of Angie Davis and Susan Sharp, both going to different schools.
"But I'm happy with the friends I've got," she said to the departing figure of her mother.
Two boys, one small with blonde hair, long as was the style of the late 1970's, and one somewhat larger and plumper with curly hair, arrived at the door of the first floor flat and rattled the letterbox. A woman opened the door and feigned surprise.
"Is Tucker ready, Mrs. Jenkins?" asked the larger of the two.
"And who might you two posh boys be then?"
"It's us - Alan and David!"
"Oh so it is - I didn't recognise you with clean faces!"
"Oh don't you start, Mrs. Jenkins", complained Alan remembering how David's mother had reacted when he had knocked at his door. "I've had that once already."
Peter "Tucker" Jenkins appeared, completely ignoring his mother as he left the flat.
"Come on then," he said.
"Just a minute," commanded his mother and bent over to adjust his wonky tie.
"You've only had it on ten minutes, and already you look a mess," she said.
"I don't like wearing a tie," answered her son. "Why do I have to wear one?"
"Because you do. Now then, shall I come along to the school with you?"
Tucker didn't reply, he just gave her his outraged look, as though she were mad, and turned on his heels sharply to catch up with Alan and David hoping him mother would not follow.
" 'Bye Mrs. Jenkins," called Alan, already below, as Tucker's mother waved from the balcony.
Ann Wilson slept. In the adjacent room, her mother was also asleep: she had worked the night shift and only put her head on the pillow at 5.00 am. Ann's father had already long since left the house making his daily commute across to the other side of London.
"I'll be all right, Mum," Ann had promised the night before. Ann was used to getting up alone, with her mother doing funny hours.
"It's your first day - wake me if you need me. I can catch up on my sleep after," her mother had said.
The clock next to Ann's bed reached ten to eight, the time where the alarm hand had been set. Ann had thought it plenty of time to get up, dressed, have some toast and then walk the ten minute journey to her new school. The clock clicked dully, and then instead of the alarm sounding, the whole mechanism jammed to a halt. Ann did not stir.
At school, Benny happily kicked his football against the brick wall of the school building. His joy was short-lived.
"Hey. Hey - don't kick that ball around there, you'll break the windows. You want to play, play in the playground," said the caretaker. Benny silently complied, walking through the passageway through to the large yard and continued to kick the ball around among all the other kids.
At the breakfast table, casually dressed Carol Yates applied mascara to her eyelashes.
"I don't care what you want to wear, Trisha, you're not going to school wearing tights and high heels - now put them on," said Mrs. Yates coming into the kitchen with her second-eldest daughter who wore a new school uniform. Trisha Yates was tall with long straight brown hair and a permanent scowl. She sat down and inspected her regulation school-issue shoes with disdain.
"But mum, no-one wears these things any more," she said, holding one of the offending objects up. "Carol wears make-up"
"Carol's older than you, she's in the Fifth Year and she's been allowed to by the school."
"But mum I..."
"Trisha, put them on," insisted Mrs. Yates with some finality. "You grow up soon enough."
"I'm going," said Carol, rising from her seat, and pulling her bag over her shoulders. "See you at lunchtime."
"Carol. Come back here," interrupted Carol's mother. "I told you to wait for Trisha."
"Oh come on mum, she's old enough to go to school by herself," said Carol.
"I never let you go to school by yourself," retorted Mrs. Yates.
"Well why don't you take her?"
"I've got to take Jenny to school"
"I can go by myself, mum - she doesn't have to wait for me," objected Trisha.
"Don't be silly, Carol wants to take you - don't you Carol?"
"Oh yeah, can't wait," said Carol in a bored, sarcastic voice, walking into the hallway.
"You'll like Grange Hill," said Mrs. Yates, injecting enthusiasm into her voice and buttoning up Trisha's blazer. "Carol likes it."
"Oh mum, don't fuss," said Trisha, pulling away. "I'll be alright, 'bye!"
She almost made it without them being spotted, her long brown hair covering her ears nicely - but her mother had eagle eyes and stopped Trisha in her tracks, pulling off the forbidden earrings.
"And no jewellery!" said Mrs. Yates. As Trisha left the house, her mother anxiously called out after her. "Don't forget to wait for Carol at lunchtime." How soon they grow up, she said to herself after the door had slammed shut.
While Judy, who lived only a short distance from the school, walked in escorted by her mother, Tucker and his mates ran to catch the number 27 bus. They caught it up just as it arrived at the bus stop - ignoring the cries from the other people to "get to the back of the queue." Tucker, Alan and David immediately climbed to the upper deck. Meanwhile, there was no need for a bus to take Justin Bennett to school. Outside his substantial house he accepted a kiss from his mother, and opened the passenger door of his father's posh car. His mother waved him goodbye as the car sped off down the leafy lane. No escape now, he thought.
Carol was getting fed up having to keep stopping to wait for her slowcoach younger sister. "Oh come on, hurry up," she complained. Behind her, Trisha stuck out her tongue and continued to dawdle, refusing to be rushed, and wanting to punish her elder sister for the indignity of being treated like a little girl.
And so, one by one, the new First Formers arrived at Grange Hill. At the front door, Mr. Mitchell was there to meet and greet anyone who had the manners to actually stop, rather than torpedoing through. Judy Preston's mother, not content to merely leave Judy at the door, walked into the school with her daughter.
"Straight through," directed Mr. Mitchell. He had been a teacher long enough to recognise all the types - the cheeky ones, the nervous ones, those whose parents were reluctant to hand over custody of their "little" ones. The first day was Mr. Mitchell's favourite, out of all the school year. He knew that everyone remembered their first day: it was important to put the new First Formers at their ease, and to quell their fears. It was fun to try to assess who would be trouble and who would fit in. A blur of faces - in time they would take their place in Grange Hill.
Justin arrived, was decanted from his father's vehicle, and when it had gone, he stopped for a moment, drinking in the new place. Ahead was the main building, which extended on both sides and upwards into a clock tower that showed the time to be 9 O'clock. The school's size was almost overpowering, and everywhere were kids of all ages and the incredibly loud chatter of hundreds of simultaneous voices.
"Is this your first year?" asked Mr. Mitchell kindly as Justin strode forward.
"Yes," said Justin timidly.
"Well, straight through," said Mr. Mitchell.
While the majority of First Formers were already assembled in the main hall, Ann Wilson slipped on her blazer hurriedly, pulled her front door closed, and ran down the hill towards school. She was in such a tearing hurry that she collided with a shopper, but nothing could deter her from trying to get to school as soon as possible. Stupid alarm clock, she thought, as she ran.
In the hall, Mrs. Munroe stood on the stage behind the lectern and was talking to the new intake of First Formers who were waiting, uncertain as to what was supposed to happen. She spoke in a slow, deliberate manner, accentuating each word.
"So don't forget, I'll read out the number of the form first, and then the names of the pupils in each form. I'd like you to stand by that door over there," she said, and indicated the exit next Mr. Mitchell. Your form tutor will take you to your form room for registration and timetable." Mrs. Munroe paused for a moment and then smiled. "It's all really quite painless. Now then, Form One Alpha..."
Mrs. Munroe began to read the names from her list.
"Kevin Addington. Sheila Anderson." A boy and a girl moved off towards the side.
"Justin Bennett. " Justin came out of his daydream, as it sunk in that his name had been called, then he too moved towards Mr. Mitchell.
As Mrs. Munroe spoke, from the rear, Tucker Jenkins flicked an elastic band at the girl in front of him, catching her on the shoulder. She looked around surprised.
Tucker changed direction and neatly flicked the back of Trisha Yates's head. She looked around and glowered at him. Tucker looked all innocent as she turned, but when she faced the front again, he and Alan could not restrain their laughter.
"Judy Preston" Like Justin, Judy too looked around before moving off.
"Margaret Shaw... Janet James..."
Tucker took aim again, but his luck had run out and a moment later a stern teacher with a thick moustache - Mr. Foster - held his arm.
"Trying to put that young girl's eye out, were you?" he asked "Where you born stupid? Is it something you developed yourself, is it?" Mr. Foster rapped Tucker's head sharply.
"Don't ever let me catch you doing that again - understand?"
Tucker did not say anything.
"Do you understand?!"
"Yes, sir," said Tucker quietly.
"What's your name?"
"Peter Jenkins, sir," said Tucker indistinctly.
"Can't hear you son."
"Peter Jenkins," repeated Tucker more loudly.
"Where's your tie, Jenkins?" asked Mr. Foster, inspecting Tucker's collar roughly.
"It's in my pocket, sir"
"It's not designed to go in your pocket, Jenkins. It goes around your neck!"
"Then I suggest you put it on. Now! Face the front and pay attention."
Tucker did up his tie as ordered. Trisha looked around, saw Tucker's discomfiture, and smiled broadly. From the front, Mrs. Munroe was reaching the end of the first list.
"Thomas Watson. Ann Wilson. Ann Wilson?" Mrs. Munroe looked around, puzzled.
"Does anyone know Ann Wilson?"
Ann was still running, the school now within her sights, just down the hill. I might just get away with it, she thought to herself.
"Ann Wilson. No?" Mrs. Munroe made a mark against Ann's name and moved onto the last name for Form One Alpha. "Trisha Yates. That's the last one. You seem to have one missing Mr. Mitchell."
Mr. Mitchell nodded at her, then he addressed his troupe. "Right you lot. Let's go and sort ourselves out. Follow me."
Mr. Mitchell opened the large wooden doors. "Down that corridor," he indicated. "Come on."
"Now. Form One Beta," said Mrs. Munroe preparing to continue through the remaining pupils in the hall.
"Paul Ambler. David Arnold. Lynda Belquin."
Outside, Mr. Mitchell led Form One Alpha across the playground towards another block. At the main gate, Fifth Formers Jackie Heron joked with her friends Brenda and Lisa.
"A new batch of First Years," said Lisa reflectively.
"A new source of revenue," said Jackie appreciatively.
The girls reached a blackboard which indicated the direction for the Main Assembly Hall. It wouldn't be the first time someone had done it, and it certainly wouldn't be the last, but Jackie Heron moved the arrow on the board so it faced the opposite direction, and gave a little chuckle, amused by her own wit.
"Excuse me," said a tall girl in a very smart, new, blazer - the tardy Ann Wilson, in fact, who was quite out of breath from running solidly for five minutes. "Can you tell me where the Main Assembly Hall is please."
"Can't you read?" said Jackie nastily, moving out of the way of the blackboard so its obvious message made Ann Wilson feel stupid.
"Oh, err, which building is it please?" continued Ann.
"Down there, to the right, and it's the building facing you," said Jackie in a serious voice while Lisa and Brenda giggled
"Thanks a lot," said Ann, innocently and ran off in the indicated direction.
"Oh don't mention it," said Jackie with gravitas.
Mr. Mitchell led his flock on what seemed an endless journey - up flights of stairs and along corridors. Back at the hall, there were very few left standing - Tucker Jenkins thought that he and Alan must be the last of all to be called the way things were going.
"Tracy Mills. William Newing..."
"I hope they don't split us up," said Alan.
"I just hope I'm not in his class," said Tucker, indicating Mr. Foster.
"What class is Dave in?"
"Don't know," shrugged Tucker. "If we're not in the same class, I'll meet you at break."
"Outside here I suppose."
"Okay," agreed Alan.
Mrs. Munroe finished off the names, and Alan's name was called - Tucker was left alone. As Alan's class moved away, Tucker gave Alan a helpless shrug, and resignedly Alan walked away with his new classmates.
"And that's the last," said Mrs. Munroe, but was surprised that when she looked up a few moments later to see that Tucker was still there.
"Haven't I called your name?" she asked him.
"No, Miss," said Tucker.
Mrs. Munroe stepped down from the stage.
"And what would that name be?"
"Peter Jenkins, Miss."
Mrs. Munroe scanned the sheets of names, then agreed "No I haven't. Are you sure you are supposed to be here?"
"I got the tie, Miss!"
"So I see. Do it up! Very well, come along."
Form One Alpha arrived at its destination. Benny Green was pulled aside by Mr. Mitchell who regarded the boy's casual attire.
"What's your name?"
"Benny Green, sir."
"Why aren't you wearing school uniform?"
"I haven't got one sir. My mum told the headmaster she couldn't afford to buy one, sir."
"Oh did she?"
"Yes sir. My dad's off work. He fell off a crane and bust his back, sir."
"Well I'm sorry about that."
"He's alright sir." Benny shrugged. "He's going to have to wear corsets like what my mum wears."
"Is he?" said Mr. Mitchell incredulously, trying hard to keep a straight face.
"Yes sir. It keeps the back straight so it don't hurt so much."
"Oh I see. Well go and sit down please."
As Benny took his seat, Mr. Mitchell closed the classroom door and addressed the occupants in a loud voice which immediately silenced the chat.
"Right." Mr. Mitchell softened his tones once he saw he had the attention of the class. "Now. My name is Mitchell and I'm your form master. Now the reason you've been put in alphabetical order is for my benefit. As you can see, I'm getting very, very old."
Mr. Mitchell was pleased to see that the class laughed at his wit.
"And my memory isn't what it used to be, but the one thing I can remember is my alphabet, so hopefully I'll get to know you all a lot quicker this way. And then you can move about and sit with your friends. Or get away from people with smelly socks. Or indeed the people in the front might want to get away from my smelly socks."
Mr. Mitchell was gratified to see his class laugh some more, and he prepared to tick off the names in the register.
"Anyway, let's make sure you're all here, and no-one was kidnapped on the way from the hall." Mr. Mitchell noted the empty desk, and remembered the anomaly observed by Mrs. Munroe.
"Yes. Just one missing. Ann Wilson. Does anyone know Ann Wilson? No? Right"
Mr. Mitchell slowly walked down the room, between the desks.
"Just to prove the system works. You must be... Trisha Yates." Mr. Mitchell pointed to Trisha.
"You see," said Mr. Mitchell to the class with a small air of triumph. "It works."
The teacher moved along to the desk behind.
"And you must be... Thomas Watson."
"No, sir," said the boy in place there, puzzled.
"I'm Watson," said another boy, standing up.
"Are you? Then who are you?" asked Mr. Mitchell of the boy who he had wrongly assumed to be Watson.
Mr. Mitchell rolled his eyes in despair. "Graham. Since when has 'G' come between 'W' and 'Y', Graham?"
"It doesn't sir!"
"I know it doesn't, Graham, you should be over there!"
Mr. Mitchell pointed to the left of the classroom.
"Then why aren't you over there?"
"I don't know sir!"
"Well go and sit over there now."
Winkle Graham peered over and looked at the destination.
"There isn't a place, sir!"
"Good point," agreed Mr. Mitchell, determined to sort out the mess.
"Right. When I ask you all to move, could we all move around one for Mr. Graham, and leave a place for Ann Wilson."
Benny Green put up his hand.
"Will he be sitting next to me, sir?"
"Yes he will, why?"
A grin spread across Benny's face as he turned to look at Winkle Graham.
"I just wondered if he's got smelly socks, sir!" The class roared with laughter.
"Well, Graham, Mr. Green wants to know if you have smelly socks," said Mr. Mitchell with mock seriousness.
"No, sir," protested Winkle Graham.
"No Green, Mr. Graham does not possess smelly socks."
"Oh that's all right then, sir," said Benny.
"Oh thank you, Green; I am deeply relieved." Mr. Mitchell paused then said in an urgent voice: "Move!" The class instantly moved around to accommodate the correct seating order.
Mrs. Munroe and Tucker Jenkins walked down yet another corridor. As they passed the office, a young woman emerged and handed some sheets of paper to her.
"Oh Mrs. Munroe. Mr. Roper left these for you. And Mr. Johnston from the Art Department asked if he could see you at 11.30."
Tucker nosily read the sheets as Mrs. Munroe replied.
"Oh no, I'm in with the Head then. Tell him, 12.30, before lunch."
"And what about the music list?"
"Should be ready this morning," said Mrs. Munroe, smiling. "Oh and by the way, Janet, you've got the admissions list haven't you?"
"Could you bring them in please?"
While Janet disappeared back into the office, Mrs. Munroe continued along with Tucker before reaching her own room. As she opened the door, she heard the telephone ringing inside.
"Excuse me," Mrs. Munroe said, leaving Tucker still in the corridor, and went inside. Bored more than he had ever been before in his life, Tucker stood, alone, scratched his thick mop of hair and rubbed his nose. He saw the future ahead of him, five years of wandering the corridors with this crazy woman.
Outside, Ann Wilson ran onto the playground. Her hunt for the hall had been unrewarding, and now that classes had started, there wasn't anyone around to ask for information. Just then, Ann saw the three older girls again walking towards her. She ran up to them.
"Hey," she said to them. "You told me a lie."
"You're not calling me a liar are you," said Jackie, menacingly. Ann was too angry at being messed around to realise she was in any kind of danger.
"You told me the main assembly hall was over there," said Ann, indicating one of the outside blocks. "And it isn't."
"But you saw the sign," said Jackie in her slow drawl of a voice.
"You probably turned it round or something."
"So. What are you going to do about it, Mastermind?"
Ann tried being reasonable. "Look. I only want to find the Main Assembly Hall. Please tell me where it is."
Jackie grew bored with Ann, and the situation wasn't making her look good - for one thing Ann towered above her despite being several years younger. Ann simply was not playing the part of the classic victim as Jackie Heron expected of First Formers.
"You're so clever," said Jackie nastily. "You find it." Brushing past Ann roughly, she turned on her heels, and walked away with her friends in tow.
Judy Preston stood alone and deep in thought at the end of the classroom. Justin Bennett approached her. He thought she looked sad. "Hello," he said.
Judy turned her head, startled by his voice. "Hello," she replied.
"My name's Justin Bennett - what's your name?"
"Judy. Judy Preston."
"Is this bigger than your last school?" asked Justin, thinking that it was odd that Judy had the same middle name as her first name.
Justin saw Judy nod out of the corner of his eye as he stared gloomily ahead.
"I didn't want to come here," he said.
"Nor did I," said Judy, making a face.
"None of my friends are here," added Justin.
"My mum says we'll make lots of new friends," said Judy, turning to face Justin.
"I won't, I hate this school," said Justin with certainty. The realisation that someone else was hating the new school made Judy feel a little better.
Mr. Mitchell spoke: "Right you lot - back to your places."
When some of the class lollygagged, he said more firmly, "would everyone sit down please?"
Mr. Mitchell sat at his desk. "Thank you. Now, for the last time, does anyone else want to ask for school meals?"
Trisha spoke up, as if weighing the pros and cons: "Do they have semolina, sir?"
"Sometimes, yes, why, do you like semolina?"
"Ooh no sir, but they made us eat it at the last school."
"Yes, well I'm sure that won't happen here," said Mr. Mitchell and then paused for a moment before repeating, "right, for the last time, anyone here for school meals? Going Once. Going Twice." Mr. Mitchell closed his school register firmly, as if he were an auctioneer banging down his gavel. "Gone. And very wise you are too!"
The class laughed good naturedly.
Mrs. Munroe opened the door to her office and stepped out into the corridor.
"Oh are you still here, I forgot all about you," she said. "Peters isn't it?"
"Jenkins, of course. Well come along, I know where to put you."
Jenkins followed Mrs. Munroe through yet more corridors and up a flight of stairs. En-route, he passed a teacher, and gave a monkey impression until he noticed Mr. Foster up ahead eyeing him suspiciously.
Suddenly Mrs. Munroe and Tucker encountered a First Form girl who almost ran into them in her haste.
"What are you doing young lady, wandering the corridors at this hour?" asked Mrs. Munroe.
"Please Miss, I'm sorry but I'm late, Miss," said the girl contritely.
"Yes, you most certainly are," agreed Mrs. Munroe.
"The clock didn't work Miss, and mum didn't know what time it was either, and we turned on the radio to see..."
"All right, all right" interrupted Mrs. Munroe. "It can be very confusing on your first day. We'll say no more about it. Now what's your name?"
"Ann Wilson," repeated Mrs. Munroe, consulting her list. "Oh yes, you're in Form One Alpha with young Peters here."
"Jenkins, Miss," said Tucker, exasperated.
"Oh yes, Jenkins. Of course. Come along both of you."
On the blackboard, Mr. Mitchell had drawn the timetable, and the class were busy copying it down.
"Right, does anyone else not have a pen or a pencil?" asked Mr. Mitchell.
"Good. Right, any questions?"
Benny put his hand up.
"When do we have football, sir?" said Benny, with his one-track mind concentrating on the most important issue that concerned him.
"No I meant sensible questions, Green; although that does remind me. If anyone wants to try for the school football or hockey team, the trials will be held some time this week, so check the notice-boards for details."
At this point, Mr. Mitchell was surprised to see Mrs. Munroe open the classroom door, and enter accompanied by a boy and a girl. The class stood up.
"Sit down please," asked Mrs. Munroe. "Mr. Mitchell, I've brought you a couple of waifs and strays to add to your flock."
She looked at Tucker. "At least one waif - er - Peter Jenkins?" Tucker nodded with a grin. "And one stray: Ann Wilson."
"Ah yes, we've saved a place for you, Ann, over there," said Mr. Mitchell, pointing to the allocated desk. "And I wasn't really expecting the pleasure of your company, Peter, so to save disturbing everybody, would you sit down over there now?"
Ann headed towards the back row, while Tucker walked towards the place in front of Trisha. He playfully flipped up Trisha's ruler before he sat down. Tucker sat down, a smile playing across his lips. A frown crossed the face of Trisha Yates, and as if Trisha's eyes were laser beams burning a hole in his back, Tucker turned around to look at her.
"Well, Mr. Mitchell. All present and correct. Ready to start their new lives at Grange Hill. Let's hope it's a pleasant experience," said Mrs. Munroe, smiling.
"Oh, I'm sure it will be, Mrs. Munroe," replied Mr. Mitchell. "One big happy family!"
Trisha Yates thwacked her ruler firmly down on the back of Tucker's head, and he turned around in surprise. The class laughed. Trisha smiled triumphantly at him.
Novelised by Geoff Phillips
(c) Geoff Phillips (novelisation) (c) BBC Original episode screenplay and characters.