A powerful and at times harrowing look at homophobic bullying in a Salford secondary school, this entry in ITV’s Saturday Night Theatre strand centres on introverted teenager Latimer (Frank Heaton), at the mercy of his fellow pupils. Chariots of Fire writer Colin Welland’s clever script avoids explicitly confirming Latimer’s nascent sexuality, while making a more universal point about the singling out of anyone perceived to be different. Especially provocative is the complicity of certain members of staff in the bullying (“We don’t cater for poofs”).
The harsh reality for these boys is a life on the shop floor: the head teacher, in his own pragmatic way, sees himself as duty-bound to toughen the boys up, with little patience for the intervention of Latimer’s kindly gay art teacher (Clive Swift). Filmed in a rough and ready style with a partly non-professional cast, this reminder of the horrors of adolescence is pertinent today, with homophobia still depressingly rife in British schools.