1 9 8 5 (UK)
6 x 25 minute episodes
This six-part BBC comedy drama serial was set at Hawkswood School – locally referred to as “Gasworks Comprehensive” – where the kids of class 2C were the despair of their form master, Sam Sylvester (Ian Hastings).
Try as he might, he could detect no glimmer of ambition or desire for self-improvement in any of them. They were confirmed non-achievers and proud of it.
Frustrated by his inability to get through to them, and stung by the patronising attitude of Piers Plumpton (Martin Wimbush), the sports master of the posh independent Greycoats School, Sam issued a challenge – Given adequate training, he claimed that any team of his boys could beat any team of their boys at any sport.
Scarcely able to believe their ears, four boys in Sam’s form: Rossiter (Nigel Stewart) – who was called “Hoomey” by the boys because of his habit of constantly saying “Who? Me?”, Bean (Jimmy Demetriou), “Jazz” Singh (Ashok Kumar) and Gary (Kelly George) – learned that they had been entered for the County Tetrathlon – consisting of four sports: running, riding, swimming and archery – taking place the following autumn.
Greycoats had come first out of 20 teams at the last competition . . .
The fact that the Hawkswood boys had never fired an arrow, ridden a horse, swum a stroke – or run after anything except a bus – did not deflect Sam from his insane idea.
The Hawkwood team struggled against lack of time, funds, facilities and commitment, driven by the forceful Nutty (Linda Frith) as their non-playing captain – and along the way, the hard boy, Nails (Tony Bywater), discovered an unexpected love of horses.
The kids in the cast were selected from a variety of schools, and the strong cast featured Susan Jameson (widely known for her starring role in When The Boat Comes In) as the riding instructor, Biddy Bedwelty. As well as being considered for their acting ability, all the youngsters had to undergo riding and swimming auditions.
The series was adapted by Jenny McDade from a book by K.M. Peyton (the author of Flambards).
Deidre “Nutty” McTavish
John “Hoomey” Rossiter
Miss Beamish (Biological Brenda)