CHRISTOPHER STEVENS: Playground spiv making a mint selling sweets

The playground spiv who’s making a mint selling sweets… CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night’s TV

 Educating Greater Manchester  

Rating:

Blood Of The Clans

Rating:

Refreshers and Flying Saucers, Opal Fruits, Space Dust, Black Jacks Spangles and Toffos — the shelves of my school’s tuck shop were heaped with sweets, all at a penny each.

Tuck shops went out of fashion along with the comic book character Billy Bunter. 

At modern schools such as Harrop Fold in Salford, the setting for the return of Educating Greater Manchester (C4), all sweets are banned.

At modern schools such as Harrop Fold in Salford, the setting for the return of Educating Greater Manchester (C4), all sweets are banned 

That leaves the market open for junior spivs such as Tumy and Nelson to make a killing. 

Tumy is a big lad, in his final year and taller than most of the teachers, and he doesn’t make much effort to hide his illegal activities: he buys fizzy drinks and chocolate bars at the supermarket and sells them from his backpack in the playground at a 100 per cent mark-up . . . or 150 per cent when he can get away with it.

Supply-and-demand, innit? Tumy is teaching his fellow pupils a valuable lesson in economics, and pocketing £25 profit a day. 

The boy will go far, either to the top of the CBI or Strangeways.

His apprentice Nelson hasn’t mastered the technique. He’s got a rucksack full of goodies, too, but he’s too busy chasing the passing trade — grabbing at sleeves and pleading with people to buy his wares. 

No sweets allowed at school leaves the market open for junior spivs such as Tumy and Nelson (pictured) to make a killing

That never works. ‘Business is hard, man,’ Nelson griped under his breath, as he trudged off to class.

We saw this, even while the teachers were oblivious, because Harrop Fold is bristling with ‘fixed rig’ cameras. 

These remote controlled lens see everything, from every angle, all the time.

Editing the show must be a gargantuan task, with thousands of hours of footage to sift from every week’s filming. 

And the programme makers are meticulous — each shot reveals something, in a child’s expression, their body language or their surreptitious ploys. Nothing goes unobserved.

There are no filler shots, no meaningless pans across the schoolyard. Look carefully and you’ll see something going on in every picture. 

The editors can’t resist a troublemaker. We met Lewis (pictured), who decided it was a good idea to bring a folding butterfly knife to school

Perhaps that’s why the footage is two years old: polishing the series, which continues tonight, has taken a very long time.

The editors can’t resist a troublemaker. We met Lewis, who broadcasts his daily thoughts on his own YouTube channel to 3.7 million followers. 

That’s a big audience — Channel 4 would love this show to attract that many viewers.

Possibly carried away with his own success, Lewis decided it was a good idea to bring a folding butterfly knife to school. 

It was blunt and just a toy, he insisted, but it still looked like a weapon from a Rambo movie.

The innocent days of the penny tuck shop really have been left a long way behind.

Troublemakers abounded in the concluding part of historian Neil Oliver’s  (pictured) Blood Of The Clans (BBC4), telling the tale of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Jacobite uprising

Troublemakers abounded in the concluding part of historian Neil Oliver’s Blood Of The Clans (BBC4), telling the tale of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Jacobite uprising and the carnage at Culloden in 1745. 

Chief of the rebels was the marvellous Lady Anne Mackintosh or Colonel Anne the Heroine, who whipped up the Highlanders and threatened to burn their homes if they didn’t fight the English.

Colonel Anne was reputedly 6ft, a giantess for the time, so why a slight and dainty actress was chosen for the role was not clear. 

Mostly, the reconstructions were accurate and lavishly staged, with dozens of extras doused in buckets of gore.

Neil stood on the sidelines as he whispered a commentary. The gout-ridden chieftain Simon Fraser couldn’t make up his mind which side to support.

‘Simon Fraser swithers!’ murmured the presenter. There’s a wonderful word.

Mostly, the reconstructions were accurate and lavishly staged, with dozens of extras doused in buckets of gore

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