Flippin’ ‘Eck Tucker!

UPDATE: This entry was written before the BBC announced that Grange Hill would be axed.

While looking for one thing, I found another (it’s always the way). Shut away for years and years were the TV scrapbooks I started back in secondary school. There was my name, scrawled on the front alongside a big picture of the logo of The Jam (the grafitti-styled one from their first album In The City). I also scribbled The Beat and UB40 (this was back when they were good) in black felt tip. But the raison être of the scrapbooks was to document my TV viewing. I cut out all the programmes I watched from the TV and Radio Times and newspapers (I was obsessed with Cheers (as detailed in this previous blog entry) so that featured heavily.

Tucked away inside is this little gem. Hope you can make it out: It’s the Radio Times listing for the very first episode of Tucker’s Luck, broadcast way back in 1983. The one and only spin off from classic BBC drama Grange Hill ran for 3 series, purely to please and appease Tucker-starved fans who couldn’t get enough of Grange Hill’s lovable rogue. So why all the Grange Hill talk? Firstly, Christmas came early for obsessives with the November release of two boxsets: Grange Hill Series 1 & 2 and Grange Hill Series 3 & 4. At last! At long last! Secondly, it’s the 30th anniversary of the series next February (flippin’ ‘eck Tucker! I feel old) and it’s only fitting that we celebrate it in style here on MSN. Stay tuned for more…

A very nice lady at BBC Worldwide sent me the boxsets and I spent the entire weekend watching them. If you’re the kind of person that lives for DVD extras, you won’t find much here. In addition, there are no subtitles which cuts out a huge chunk of the hearing impaired market (how did that happen BBC?). The other point to note is that due to contractual reasons, certain music edits have been made; par for the course with DVD releases of shows from a certain era, I’m afraid (incidentally, if you know exactly what’s been cut, please get in touch as my memory is not what it was). Other than that, it’s all here – all those fab memories unleashed again.

Tucker and Trisha Yates’ feud. Benny’s football boots. Mr Mitchell and Mr Sutcliffe. The swimming pool episode. Doyle’s arrival. Simon Shaw’s dyslexia. ‘Bullet’ Baxter. Madelin Tanner and Cathy Hargreaves going ‘on the nick’. SAG and the school uniform protest. The field trip. Brookdale v Grange Hill. Joseph & The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. The arrival of Pogo Patterson, Duane Orpington, Mrs McClusky and ‘Hoppy’ Hopwood. Alan teaching Susi judo. Antoni Karamanopolis’ death. Evil Mr Hicks and psycho Booga Benson.

Watching with older eyes, it’s easy to see why Tucker Jenkins became such a phenomenon. A brilliantly-rounded character, he was magnificently played by the young Todd Carty who will probably never better that role (EastEnders’ Mark Fowler doesn’t compare and don’t get me started on PC Kent in The Bill). A bona fide natural, Todd Carty acted everyone else off the screen.

The writing is only occasionally clunky (come on, it was kids TV in the 1970s), but overall scripts and storylines are first-class and some scenarios still strike a chord. It’s soooo strange to hear antiquated and/or non-PC race terms again on TV: ‘coloured girl’, ‘golly’, ‘n*g n*g’, ‘half-caste’ etc. Did I mention that I’m glad those words weren’t cut out? That was the reality back then for hundreds of thousands of kids like me. It’s the innocence that’s the real eye-opener: kids nicking dinner money and rival school blazers when nowadays, they’re shooting and stabbing each other. From the golden age of UK kids TV, Grange Hill is excellent entertainment and if you do nothing else this Christmas, buy these fantastic boxsets. Altogether now: "Leave it aaht!" "Leg it, Bullet’s coming!" "Nutjob!" "Flippin’ ‘eck Tucker!"

MSN’s Grange Hill special – articles, features and galleries

Get The DVDs!
Grange Hill 1 & 2 and 3 & 4 from MSN Shopping
Grange Hill DVDs at BBC Shop 

Grange Hill sites
Phil Redmond’s official Grange Hill site 
Grange Hill online (excellent!)
Tucker’s Luck (superb!) 

Today I am mostly lovin’
– Flippin’ ‘eck Tucker!

Today I am mostly hatin’ – That Post Office broadband advert featuring Westlife makes me want to take a hammer to my TV. I’d rather slam my tongue in a door than see it again – less painful.

MSN Editor Coops

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10 Responses to Flippin’ ‘Eck Tucker!

  1. Steven says:

    Coops – I totally agree – Tucker was brilliant!
    Thenagain…what about Zammo….? 

  2. Aleczandra says:

    Yo MSN Editor-san!Didja do the links? Didja? Didja?Heh heh, Grange Hill is weird. Makes my brain turn to a sponge….I HATE THAT STUPID POST OFFICE AD TOO!!!! THAT STUPID WOMAN GETTING ROLLED AWAY BY THAT GONN! BAKA

  3. Coops - says:

    wow! This takes me back. I didn\’t even know Grange Hill was on DVD! Thanks for the great review. I\’m going to drop hints to my hubby and ask for it because I used to fancy Tucker. You sound like you did too Editor Coops (love the name!). 

  4. Debbie says:

    sorry but i love it makes me giggle like the dame in a pantomime hahahahaha sad but true !!!

  5. karen says:

    wow grange hill now there a blast from the past……… when kids were kids lol i went to a school in south london that was just like grange hill and yes i along with every other 1st year girl fancies tucker jenkins lol

  6. Coops - says:

    Of course I fancied Tucker Jenkins – who didn\’t? 🙂 He was my first fatal introduction to bad boys…

  7. ELIZABETH says:

    Oh I thought it was just me and my old classmates from 1979 to 1983 – our class was very similar.  We would have discussions about each episode the next day at school.  My parents weren\’t that keen on myself and my two brothers watching it because of some of the language and behaviour but like you say, look at what\’s happening in todays schools etc.  I maintain that Phil Redmond \’homed in\’ on a particular decade and got it \’spot on\’ – three cheers for Phil and the memories I\’m able to maintain today of my old classmates thanks to him!! 

  8. liz says:

    I cant believe it! i grew up on grange hill….like many others i probably woulnt have got through alot of my school
    days without it…just looking at the pics of days gone by make me wanna turn the clock back and sit in front of the
    telly after school…its true wot they say…"Those were the days!"  much luv to all involved in one of the geatest programmes
    ever made….xxx

  9. Humphrey says:

    I am living in the past it seems.  The memories brought back by all this talk lit a massive fire in my heart for the series.  I hated school so do not wish for those days again, but I can\’t wait to watch it again.  Remember, there were no VCRs in those early days, so lots of us would have missed several episodes.  Another thing, remember when VCRs appeared in school and the fast forward feature was absolutely hilarious!

  10. Conor says:

    Zammo was the time when i got into watching Grange Hill, didn\’t miss an episode, thought he was hot too, until he started shooting up in the loo, so devastated. My claim to fame was a dinner lady in my school thought i looked like the girl who played the violin for a few episodes, so one day i told her i was and not to say anything. She obviously did, I was so popular, people pointing and asking me what\’s it like to be in Grange Hill, but had to tell the truth cos my real friends knew i was fibbing, it was fun for a few days, but then i got teased for a lot longer!

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