While Grange Hill is remembered fondly, ATV had set the trend for the school yard drama first in the 1970s with 4 Idle Hands in 1976 and more so in 1977 with A Bunch of Fives.
Typically filled with tips on how to eke out one’s pocket money, reports on the dangers of cigarettes and alcohol, wickedly accurate personality profiles, creative prose, poems and reviews, the school magazine offered a uniquely adolescent perspective on life during the 1970s. This ATV drama series for teenagers follows the progress and pitfalls of a group of fifth-formers at Oxford Lane Comprehensive School who, appalled by the blandness and timidity of their school’s official effort, decide to launch a punchier alternative…
A Bunch of Fives, starring Jamie Foreman and Lesley Manville, was devised by John Sichel with Colin Rogers and mostly written by BAFTA-winning writer Paula Milne. Every bit as hard-hitting and humorous as its BBC contemporary Grange Hill (which debuted inbetween series one and two of the ATV series) this release comprises both series, originally screened in 1977 and 1978.
Pupil Chris Taylor is accused of something he didn’t do and, in exasperation, writes about the incident for the school magazine. When games master Mr Buck refuses to print the article, Chris and some of the other fifth-formers decide to pool their journalistic talents: putting together their own magazine, ‘A Bunch of Fives’, they begin to seek out more relevant stories from the community in which the children live.