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Comedy set in the 1970s at an English School. Gordon Grimley, a young but misfit schoolboy is in love with his English teacher, Geraldine Titley. Unfortunately Geraldine is in love with sardonic PE teacher Doug Digby. Doug bullies the kids and he & Gordon fights for the attentions of Geraldine with the help of the music teacher Mr Holder. Meanwhile, Gordon's father - Baz Grimley, a steel-worker, has been so long on strike that he's has turned into a slob in front of the TV leaving his lonely wife, Janet starting to look at other men. The first two series tells of Gordon and Darren (the story-teller) struggle to survive in 1975 and then the third in 1978 when Gordon is now a English teacher with Geraldine but is now up against the new woodwork teacher for Geraldine's love, Mr Holder is now the headmaster and Darren is fast turning into a punk... Written by
Lee Horton <Leeh@tcp.co.uk>
The Grimleys was a nostalgic comedy-drama set on a council estate in Dudley, West Midlands, England in the mid-1970s. It was first broadcast by Granada TV for ITV in 1999, following a pilot in 1997, and concluded in 2001 after three series.
It followed the ups and downs of the dysfunctional Grimley family and their struggle with everyday life. Gordon Grimley played by James Bradshaw is an intellectual but feeble schoolboy who has a crush on his teacher, Miss Geraldine Titley, played by Amanda Holden (Samantha Janus in the pilot). His younger brother Darren, Ryan Cartwright, who also narrates the storyline, although fond of Gordon and sympathetic to his unrequited love for Miss Titley, is frustrated by his brother's fey personality and nickname of 'The School Spanner'. Father Baz Grimley, played by former Young One Nigel Planer is a bone idle British Leyland car worker, who injured his back on his first day at the Longbridge plant, and went on strike on the second. He had not moved from his armchair since and spends his entire life watching television (ITV only). He is particularly infuriated by son Gordon's artistic leanings and was determined that he should do 'a man's job' rather than go to university. Hard working mum Janet Grimley was played by impressionist Jan Ravens.
Other domestic characters were older sister Lisa Grimley played by Corrieann Fletcher and Nan played by Barbara Keogh, who seemed to be obsessed with 'The Grimley Curse'. Next door neighbours were the Titley family headed by father Reg Titley played by Paul Angelis, who is a plumber, the aforementioned daughter Geraldine who worked as an English teacher at Gordon's school, and the object of his lust, and son Shane - Bay City Roller look-a-like, and self styled ladies man complete with a clapped out Vauxhall Viva car, played by Simon Lowe.
To complicate issues further, Shane was dating Lisa Grimley, and Janet Grimley and Reg Titley obviously carried a torch for one another. Reg's sensitivity and surprisingly poetic tongue gave rise to the question of Gordon Grimley's parentage, as does Shane Titley's oafish behaviour and idolisation of armchair bound slob Baz Grimley.
Many of the scenes were set in the Grimley brothers' school where we met their sadistic P.E teacher Doug "Dynamo" Digby played by comedian Brian Conley (Jack Dee in the pilot), who lives in a corner of the school gymnasium. Doug always took both pride and pleasure in bullying his pupils and in one episode we are given a clue to the development of this behaviour when his thuggish father (played by Lewis Collins from hit 1970s crime drama 'The Professionals') visits him. He is dating Geraldine Titley much to Gordon Grimley's chagrin, this leading to increasing tensions between them. Naturally Gordon was always going to come off worst and this rivalry lead to ever more vindictive (and bizarre) punishments meted out by Digby. An amazonian gym mistress called Miss Thing was played by Ruby Snape.
The show also starred former Slade singer, Noddy Holder who played music teacher, Neville Holder (Noddy's birth name), and a number of inspired cameos including 1970s glam-rock singer Alvin Stardust as a pub landlord. This lead to a series of amusing 'in jokes' such as Noddy Holder and Alvin Stardust be-moaning the lost opportunities of their youth over a pint of beer, and the character played by the one time glam-rocker lead singer of Slade being described as "not exactly Mr. Rock 'n' Roll".
Series one and two featured the regular cast and ran in a continuous time frame, whereas series three was set later in the 1970s and after the death of Brian Conley's character Doug Digby in a gymnasium accident. He was replaced in Geraldine Titley's affections by scheming, manipulative woodwork teacher Dave Trebilcock played by Craig Kelly, and, of course, as Gordon Grimley's nemesis. Gordon was by now working as a trainee teacher at the school where he was bullied and insulted by the pupils, many of whom were dressed as punks reflecting the change in the times. The third series suffered by comparison to the first two, and the show was cancelled afterwards.
Although not widely remembered, The Grimleys has a deftness of touch not often found in sitcoms in recent years, and though it often lampooned the styles on the 1970's, it was never a caricature. It's key strengths were the strongly developed characters and the genuinely funny scripts, combined with a great seventies soundtrack featuring such acts as T.Rex, Suzi Quattro, 10CC and Pilot.
The theme music of the first season was 'Bye Bye Baby' by the Bay City Rollers over the title credits and 'Cum On Feel the Noize' by Slade over the end credits. Noddy Holder performed a 'live' acoustic version of 'Cum On Feel the Noize' over the end credits of series one, episode three.
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