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Episode Four - "Prize-Giving"

Scheduled for transmission on 11th March 1987 but not shown

Ernie's two assistant caretakers are wearing protective clothing while they clean graffiti off the walls of a boys' toilet. Meanwhile, in the staff room, Mr Fowl is conducting a presentation. He has been placed in charge of organising a prize-giving ceremony that will take place at the school that evening. For his presentation he is using a projector which displays an image of the layout of the school grounds onto a large screen. With the lights turned off, he points out various markings that he has positioned on the layout which indicate where people will enter, where stalls will be etc. Much to his annoyance, Mr Fowl's presentation is constantly interrupted.

Back in the boys' toilet, Slasher and his gang are adding graffiti back onto the walls. He reveals to his gang that he has a plan to make a profit from the prize-giving ceremony that will unfold later and that he has a deal with the owner of a local scrap yard named Sid.

That evening, a queue of parents form outside the main entrance to Hardwicke House, but they are under the impression that they are there for a jumble sale. When Mr Mackintosh advises them that they are mistaken they begin to turn away. Mr Wickham rushes forward and attempts to persuade them to stay by saying that they 'may have a small jumble sale later'. Suitably deceived, the parents enter the building.

In the assembly hall, a number of stalls have been set up which demonstrate some of the work the children have been doing in various subjects. There is a stall for chemistry, a stall for biology, and so on. Unfortunately, there is no room for Mr Philpott's geography stall so he has to have his stall in the elevator. Naturally, the work on display is pathetic; the stall for domestic science is supposed to show the children's cooking ability, but it only shows a scattering of severely burnt, unidentifiable lumps.

Outside, the playground is being used as a car park and there are parents' cars parked in rows. Slasher is here along with his gang and Sid, who has a dimwitted sidekick with him. The plan is that Slasher and his gang will steal a range of parts and accessories from the parents' cars which Sid will then take away to sell in his scrap yard. Sid is paying Slasher in cash for this dirty deed, but Slasher tricks his gang members by telling them that they are being 'paid' with packets of crisps so he can keep the money for himself.
Inside the assembly hall, the prize-giving ceremony has begun. On the stage are Mr Wickham and Mr Mackintosh along with the local vicar and a member of the council, Mr Hodgkins, who is a former pupil of Hardwicke House. A school girl is giving an extremely dreary poetry recital to the audience of bored parents. Mr Wickham thankfully intercedes and brings the recital to a premature end.

Mr Hodgkins steps forward to give a speech and actually praises the school he once attended. However, he is heckled by members of the audience in regard to council-related matters such as blocked drains and rent rebates. Mr Fowl forcibly ejects one of the hecklers and when he is about to throw him outside, he bumps into another parent who is arriving late. This particular parent is a mechanic and Mr Fowl uses a wrench that he was carrying in his pocket to subdue the heckler once and for all.

Regaining his senses, the heckler stumbles forward towards the playground and gets a view of the chaotic scene; the parents' cars have been relentlessly scavenged by Slasher and his gang.

Next on stage in the assembly hall is a demonstration from Mr Savage's PE class. Not surprisingly, the demonstration is inept, with the children showcasing their 'athletic ability' by jumping up and down on one leg. It is done to music and the school band is being conducted by Mr Magnusson. To the distress of the audience, the music is horrendously out of tune. Spotty sneaks onto the stage and begins doing an atrocious dance routine but Mr Savage pushes him off.

Mr Wickham tries to bring this shambles to an end by quickly moving on to the actual prize-giving. An array of prizes are exhibited on a table, but mayhem ensues with parents rushing forward with the aim of grabbing the prizes for themselves. Suddenly, Slasher and his gang sprint into the assembly hall as they are being chased by police officers. One of the police officers warns everyone that if they have a car parked outside they should check on it immediately. With this, the parents begin to swarm out of the building.

Shortly afterwards, Mr Wickham, Mr Mackintosh, Mr Magnusson, Miss Crabbe and Mr Flashman are cowering in the staff room with the windows covered up. They dare not leave because a mob of furious parents are waiting for them outside. They suggest that someone should go out and talk to the parents but no one has the courage to do so. Then Mr Fowl enters the room and claims that he may have an escape plan for them. As Mr Fowl organised the evening's event, the others look upon him as the one to blame for the madness that followed. The lights are turned off, someone grabs a length of rope and they round up on the unlucky Mr Fowl and bundle him out of the window, clearly nominating him as the candidate to try to calm the parents. They are not on the ground floor and the rope is obviously meant to lower Mr Fowl down.

When the lights are turned back on, Mr Wickham spots that someone has cut the rope!

There are three likely incidents in this episode that could cause offence; Mr Fowl hitting a parent on the back of his head with a wrench, Mr Savage pushing Spotty off the stage and the notion of children stealing car parts. In regard to the incidents involving Mr Fowl and Mr Savage, neither are shown graphically and neither victim appears to come to any real harm. Indeed, Mr Fowl is hitting another adult, not a child, though the prospect of a teacher hitting a parent could still be unacceptable for some viewers, despite it being highly comedic.

But reading about these incidents may make them sound worse than they actually are. Taken in the context of the episode and the way they are portrayed, they are really quite harmless.



Bryan Pringle was a guest star in episode four (he played the councillor)
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