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Films: P is for...

Please Sir!

5C’s well-meaning and liberal form teacher Hedges (John Alderton) has his work cut out convincing senior teaching staff, head teacher Mr. Cromwell (Noel Howlett) and Deputy Doris Ewell (Joan Sanderson) that his form won’t cock around too much in rural Woodbridge. A planned year group trip to the Woodbridge Rural Centre is approaching and the kids are keen to go, to the extent where they’ll fake parental signatures to secure a seat on a Jack Crump coach but the problem is, as regular watchers of the series know, they’re right little ‘erberts and the question remains, can they be trusted?

Hedges, (or ‘chief’) whose crowd control solely consists of shouting quite a lot, falls in love on the trip with a woman who gives the young black kid (none other than Brinsley Forde, soon-to-be lead singer in the reggae group Aswad) in the class a lift after he tells her Hedges has thrown him off the coach for being black. Hedges has yet more work cut out convincing her that he’s no racist, but eventually she sees him for the sweetie he is. Religion and Hedges obsessed Maureen (Liz Gebhardt) isn’t too pleased meanwhile but Maureen in turn is the object of lust by a young gypsy kid they befriend, credibly called, erm, Nobbler.

The pleasure in watching the film comes with innocent sneaking-out-of-the-room-after-dark japes and genial piss-taking about other classmate’s attempts at creativity. During an outdoor art lesson: ‘Hur hur, double cubist that is mate!’ And in an al fresco ballet class: ‘Oh look, ‘ere comes the Bolshy Ballet’… and all to the soundtrack of Cilla’s La La La Lu.

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