Potter has an assistant - a young black man named Sidney Noakes. Sidney can fix anything, whether it be a broken door-knob, leaking radiator or David's sports car. Initially distrusting the newcomer, Potter proudly introduces him to the whole school. Even 4C cheer when they first clap eyes on him.
Then two malicious 4C boys put the poison in, telling Potter the younger man wants his job because he is part of a black militant conspiracy to take-over the country. Potter is not normally one for believing anything the kids tell him, but the boys get him sufficiently worried to try and test Sidney's mettle...
I suppose it was inevitable that someone of Potter's character should turn out to be a racist. Thankfully, we are spared any long-winded 'they shouldn't let them in the country' speeches, but even so, there's little amusement to be had from the sorry spectacle of Potter trying to frighten Sidney by invoking the name of Stokely Carmichael ( a real-life Trinidanian-American activist active in the 1960's U.S. civil rights movement ), getting it wrong and confusing him with Ian.
Derek Griffiths, who plays 'Sidney', was a familiar face to '70's viewers; as well as sitcoms such as 'Till Death Us Do Part' and Public Information films ( 'A Thief Would Like Your Bike' ) he was also to be found on 'Play School'. This talented actor brings a welcome breath of fresh air to what had become a stale sitcom; unfortunately, this was his one and only appearance. Convinced that Potter is a raving lunatic, Sidney leaves. He should have become a regular cast member. Not necessarily as 'Sidney'. It would have been interesting to see what Griffiths would have made of the job of John Alderton's replacement.
At the end of the episode, Potter is still a racist, while the boys who lied about Sidney have not been punished. Today this would be branded 'politically incorrect'. I call it not funny. Written ( surprisingly ) by Tony Bilbow.
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