School is horrible. If someone tries to tell you “school days are the best of your life” you have to seriously question their life choices. How bad does your job have to be that you’d rather be smaller and more helpless, trapped in a daycare prison forced to do maths problems and run around a football field once or twice a week?
So as a grown up (which I am) I find it odd that one of the TV shows I used to watch was Grange Hill, the children’s drama about horrible kids in a horrible school. You’ve just spent all day in one, why do you want to watch more of the same? Imagine serving 11-13 years in jail then watching box sets of Prisoner Cell Block H every day after.
Anyway, Grange Hill was an awful dreary school full of bullies, kids with issues and scary teachers. Here’s my list of 5 Grange Hill teachers I would be properly scared of in real life. Even now. As a grown up.
1. Mr Griffiths (The Caretaker)
Mr Griffiths might not have taught any lessons, but he still had access to the staff room. After school. When he was cleaning it. When no other teachers were there to tell him to piss off because it was for teachers only.
He might not have been an authority figure at Grange Hill, but you wouldn’t want to bump into him in the corridor. Unless you had some liquids to spill and distract him with.
Mr Griffiths looked like he’d be just as happy answering the Addams Family’s front door, or turning up at a Munsters family reunion. He’d be the creepy one they all shunned.
2. Dai “Hard” Jones
Mr Jones was a Welsh PE teacher. I had a Welsh PE teacher called Mr Jones. Who didn’t at some point in their school life?
Being a fat kid (and fat adult) gives me an innate fear of PE teachers. It’s not even proper teaching is it? Barking at kids to run around after a ball, or jump over things, or climb things. I could do that, and I’m fat. PE teachers go to work in a tracksuit. That’s almost the same as being unemployed.
By the nature of his “job” I find him slightly intimidating, but Mr Jones wasn’t evil, and he didn’t even have a particularly bad attitude. Unlike our next entry...
3. Mr Hicks
Mr Hicks had two major flaws; he was a PE teacher, and he was a bully. A proper bully though. A “push-you-on-the-floor-and-make-you-do-extra-laps-for-falling-over” bully.
Teachers are supposed to stop bullies. If Mr Hicks saw some kid having seven shades of shit kicked out of him, he would probably join in. And then make the victim put away all the gym equipment afterwards.
Mr Hicks was scary because he was an authority figure who abused his power. The only thing that could stop him was an even scarier authority figure...
4. Geoff “Bullet” Baxter
Bullet Baxter is mostly remembered as a hero. He found out about Mr Hicks picking on some kids and stopped it. When he witnessed Hicks pushing a kid onto the floor, he intervened and punched him to the ground, coolly saying “slip on the wet floor, did you?” Bullet Baxter is a cool.
I would still have been scared of him though, because not only was I a fat kid, but I was also a tall kid. If I had gone to a Grange Hill, Baxter would have intermittently been pestering me to join the school rugby team or chasing behind me during cross country to make sure I wasn’t walking. Even now, thinking about doing cross country makes me a bit anxious. I once lost a trainer in some mud during cross country. I had to hop around for a few seconds like a morbidly obese hiccupping flamingo as I tried to right myself and insert my foot back into the swamp-ridden running shoe.
I’m a grown up now Mr Baxter, I don’t have to run if I don’t want to!
5. Mr Bronson
I know what you’re thinking - “Mr Bronson? I was expecting this list to have a surprising choice for the scariest Grange Hill teacher, maybe even an amusing one.” Well if you were expecting to be amused, you’ve come to the wrong place.
Michael Sheard was a legend, a fantastic character actor and one of the most intimidating screen presences of the 80s. He played nazis, space nazis, the whole gamut of evil uniformed right-wing nut job villains. And in Grange Hill he played Mr Bronson, the bow-tie wearing spectre of doom who was so scary Danny Kendall died in his car of fright. Or an unnamed brain condition, I don’t know, I’m not a doctor.
Mr Bronson was the scariest teacher ever to appear on TV. Scarier than the Demon Headmaster, scarier than Walter White; Mr Bronson worked for Darth Vader, you fools. Show him some goddamned respect.
Written by Martyn