Episode Two - "First Day Of Term"
Transmitted on 25th February 1987 at 8.30PM
A security van drives into the school grounds carrying a delivery of new stationary. Inside are three security men who are wearing helmets to protect themselves, and they also have a guard dog. A large crowd of children surround the van at it pulls up, eager to get their hands on the stationary.
Meanwhile, most of the teachers are in the staff room, including Mr Philpott, who has now qualified as a teacher and has taken up a full-time post at the school. Mr Philpott attempts to amiably mix with his new colleagues but everyone ignores him except Mr Flashman, who coerces him into a game of cards and tricks him into losing a bet. Miss Crabbe is present and is creating a banner for her latest campaign. Mr Wickham addresses his staff and struggles to sustain their interest, particularly Mr Magnusson, who falls asleep.
Mr Fowl is placed in charge of the new supply of stationary and is under instructions not to permit any wastage. He places the stationary inside a small storage room, the door of which is fitted with a padlock. As an added measure of protection, he electrifies the contents of the room. He tests this method of protection on an unsuspecting school girl, who is electrocuted. Spotty, the head boy, who is assisting Mr Fowl, takes the girl to the school doctor and claims that he found her with her finger in a socket.
The security men prepare to leave the school grounds and are alarmed to notice that their guard dog is missing. In a boys' toilet, Slasher is plotting with his gang on how to steal the new stock of stationary from Mr Fowl and a mound of raw meat will be his key to success.
Mr Flashman begins his history class by issuing various roles to pupils, including someone to collect his morning newspaper, someone to pick up his lunch, etc. He then announces that the subject they will be studying this term will be the history of China. This announcement is greeted by chorus of boos and groans, but this quickly turns to delight when Mr Flashman adds that he will be using 'audio visual material' - by this he means they will be watching movies like "Enter The Dragon" and "Fist Of Fury".
In Miss Crabbe's French class, she makes a futile attempt to convert the pupils onto veganism. She asks a member of her class what she had for breakfast, and the reply is 'Bacon and eggs'. Miss Crabbe then asks what is disgusting about eating bacon and eggs and another class member responds with 'Eggs come out of a chicken's bum'!
On the ground floor, Mr Fowl finds a pile of raw meat on the floor in front of the storage room which contains the stationary. He examines the meat and wipes his hand on the back of his trousers. In an adjacent corridor, it is revealed that Slasher has acquired the guard dog, which he releases. Obviously sensing the nearby raw meat, the guard dog bounds around the corner and bites Mr Fowl on his behind. Mr Fowl cries out in agony.
Mr Flashman, Mr Wickham and Ernie are soon on the scene, and a delirious Mr Fowl is wheeled away on a trolley. Mr Flashman assumes control of the stationary stock and the closing shot is of a poster created by Mr Flashman advertising an auction of pens, pencils etc.
With this episode, the general unruly behaviour of the children may dismay some viewers. Basically, unruly behaviour by pupils is featured in every episode to some degree, but it is never overly vivid, or brutal, or explicit.
The only potentially offensive incident that stands out in this episode is of the girl being electrocuted, though it should be noted that she is not actually seen being electrocuted. It is merely implied and then there is a shot of a charred hand. If any incident in the entire series would be a cause for complaint, it is this one. Though if this is as offensive as "Hardwicke House" gets, then it should be low down on the scale of offensive TV shows. "Looney Toons" cartoons have featured a character being electrocuted on countless occasions and children as young as five or six have watched them time and time again. If anything, the incident illustrates the unsuitably of an 8.30PM time slot but when considering it objectively, it is certainly not horrific or disturbing.
Kevin Allen played Slasher Bates (the school bully)