I’m watching the classic eighth series of Grange Hill – we’re seeing the fallout from the Brookdale-Rodney Bennett-Grange Hill merger, Mrs McClusky is stuck in the deputyship, and the introduction of a memorable new year group, including Gonch Gardener, Hollo, Calley Donnington, Ronnie Birtles, Robbie Wright and a most acceptable heir to the Gripper Stebson-sponsored mantle of featured villain, Trevor Cleaver.
But it’s the rug-topped, bowtie wearing, French teaching, iron fist of rote learning Mr Bronson whom we’re most excited to meet.
From the first moment he glides into view, over the shoulder of a pre-smack Zammo Maguire, who is busy remonstrating with former Brookdale top dog Banksy (no, not that one) for eyeing up Jackie, Bronson – it’s early days so he’s tentatively given the behind-the-back nickname of ‘Charlie’, but it won’t stick – we know that this is a character we’re going to love to hate.
And the episode only improves when he faces down rival stentorian Mr Smart in a Mexican stand off over room numbers, flicking a supercilious line of Latin in Smart’s face as if he was wielding a Prussian duelling sabre:
Mr Bronson: “Da locum melioribus…”
Mr Smart: “I beg your pardon?!”
Mr Bronson: “Da. Locum. Melioribus…”
Mr Smart (seething): “‘Give way to your betters’?!”
Mr Bronson: “‘Give place to your betters’, actually. Still, near enough… Nice to know you have a rudimentary grasp of Latin… Close the door behind you, Mr Smart.”
Lest we forget, the actor who played Bronson, Michael Sheard, died in 2005.
Anyway, here are the first words he ever uttered on GH: