Miss Wright in even earlier than usual this morning.
Bit of a nuisance, as am determined to get to the bottom of this Y7
business and decided to do a bit of spying in the bushes. This needed
to be done before any pupils were in sight, or there’d be awkward
explanations to make.
She was reading a letter and looked up when I entered the staff room,
intent on brushing leaves etc. from my hair and clothes. She was
distracted enough to forget that she despised me from the tip of her
beehive downwards and asked my opinion on a matter that was so obscure
I had nothing much to say.
“What do you think about the so-called ‘dumbing-down’ of television?
Do you think that sort of thing matters?”
Tried to think what she could mean. “I’m sure it doesn’t do the
little horrors any lasting damage. I mean, they’ve got you to teach
them all the proper literary stuff and get them reading, haven’t
“Oh,” she said, looking oddly upset. “Yes. Maybe I should put a stop
Made vague sort of non-committed but sympathetic grunt. It’s a
worrying fact, but I am definitely one of the saner members of staff.
“On the other hand,” she said thoughtfully, “do you watch Rassilon
Street, Mr Kreiner?”
Lied and said ‘no’ while looking lofty. (Who doesn’t follow the ups
and downs of an every day family (Ian and Barbara Rassilon and their
children, Steven, Dodo and Adric) and their kitchen sink antics in the
middle of Gallifrey’s melodramatics? Mind you, there’s that junior
spin-off as well, Panopticon Hill Grove or whatever it’s called.)
“Hmm,” she said. “I was wondering how you’d go about killing off some
of the characters – who you’d choose.”
Forgot myself and said, “Oh, got to be Adric Rassilon. After all,
that girl and his cousin have been plotting his murder for so long,
it’s about time one of them got on and did it.”
“I thought you didn’t watch it,” she returned, looking amused for the
first time that morning.
Shrugged. “Can’t help but hear the kids talking about it, can I?”
“What’s that?” asked Miss Tyler, the dinner lady.
Long conversation ensued on the subject. Miss Tyler – Rose – is an
enthusiast. Or at any rate, she’s certainly enthusiastic about the
idea of killing the entire cast off.
“Something horrific with the Eye of Harmony Power Plant exploding,”
she suggested. “That should finish the lot of them off. Or a Dalek
invasion’d be fun.”
Miss Wright sighed. “I was thinking on a smaller scale. And what are
you doing in here, anyway, Miss Tyler?”
“I needed to ask B- Mr Jackson about something,” she said, playing
with a strand of hair. “He’s not here, then?”
I grinned at that. “Yeah, but he’s finally perfected that
invisibility thing he was working on."
Nobody appreciates my sense of humour.
Rose’s English Exercise Book:
HEY IS IT CLUB AGAIN 2NITE? ARE WE GOING TO DO SOMETHING THIS TIME?
I’m not passing stuff to Chris. Stop it.
WELL, STOP NICKING MY BOOK AN READING IT. PASS IT OVER.
Yeah. Club tonight. If you lot weren’t mucking around all the time
we’d have done something. Today we’ll make a plan.
GOOD. I’M NOT COMING OTHERWISE.
Mickey’ll buy us chips again.
Miss Wright’s Blackboard (English):
[NB Miss Wright does not take kindly to interactive whiteboards]
Assignment 1: Imagine the death of a character from a popular soap
(e.g. Rassilon Street) and write out the scene.
Owen’s English book:
…The blood and guts spirted EVERYWHERE. Steven wipped them from his
face and went to wash. Who would have thourt that old meanie Cass
Tellan had so much red stuff in him? Then he’d have to work out where
to berry the body.
Then he could go on holiday. Serves the old miser right, he thort.
David’s English Book:
…Nissa climbs up the clock tower because she has seen a Ghost. She is
being haunted like Lady Macbeth for all her evil plans but she thinks
it is someone mean playing a joke. She climbs up the tower, further
up and up.
When she gets there she sees the ghost and falls out of the window.
She screams really loud and then lands on the ground hundreds of miles
below as a splatty pancake. Everyone is hit by bits of flying blood
and Addric Rassilon turns very green and is sick everywhere. Loads of
people scream and faint and throw up all over the place.
Then her Dad sees and goes mad with grief and jumps off the clock
tower as well. Addric and Owen are so upset they do the same.
Everyone else is glad they have gone, but it is a big nuisance for
Miss Babs and Ian to clean off the floor.
[Teacher’s green ink] Good work, David.
Rose’s English Book:
I think that Steven should go out with Susan but then they find out
that they are really half-brother and sister and not only sort of
cousins so they have to kill themselves in a pack and it is really,
[Teacher’s green ink] I think you mean pact, not pack.
Martha’s English Book:
I think it should be Alan Borusa. I like him, but he is an important
character and if he died it would make lots of interesting things
He should try to find out about the key and get Mysteriously Murdered
by Someone Unknown. Then Inspector Andrews can find out how it
happened and find new secrets about him like how he sold off some of
the family jewlry and that he was going to sell the shop. And the
Inspector will find out about people like Owen and Nyssa in his
investigations and who really has the key and that is the evil
murderer. The evil murderer is Mrs Rassilon, because she is the last
suspect. Or the odd old woman.
I think that would be good fun.
[Teacher’s green ink] Interesting ideas, Martha. Well done. Please
note correct spelling of jewellery.
Donna’s English Book:
[8 1/2 pages omitted for sake of readers’ sanity]
[Teacher’s green ink] Very good, Donna. This seems to have caught
your imagination. Your spelling needs some work – see me please.
Chris’s English Book:
[Teacher’s green ink] When I set an assignment, Christopher, you may
safely assume that I do. See me later.
Mickey’s English Book
The Ninja Master should turn up and kill Dodo. She is so bad. She
can’t act. That would be cool. I would watch that. Oh, and there
should be a big figt.
“I’m horrified,” said Barbara to her class. “I hate to say this,
Class 1, but I am horrified by your efforts this afternoon. Your
spelling is atrocious and I think a test is in order.”
David’s English book:
Wow. Cool. Brilliant. Miss Wright is going to let us learn
magic!!! (But why in order? What order? Numbers? Alphabetical? Do
we start with Aardvarks? Nah. What sort of spell has Aardvarks in.
Probly poisoned apples first, then, um, poisoned bananas?
[Teacher’s green ink] David, not that kind of spell. Spelling.
Letters. Please write out Probably three times. Nobody ever uses
Have found cryptic note mentioning the clock tower. It reads: Done
fur get clok towr cost. Well sho them.
Beats me what it means, but will hang around the clock tower and find
Sat up clock tower for good hour or so until Brigadier turned up,
wanting to know if I was all right and why I left Y10s running round
and round the track without supervision.
Glare at the interfering old git & explained that I am sitting here
waiting to catch a wicked Y7 or two.
Looked at me suspiciously, but went away again. He’s probably scared
the culprits away now.
Tosh’s secret minutes:
[static and rustling]
CHRIS: Where’s David?
ROSE: No Jenny, either.
DONNA: Well, even I know what that means. They’ll be up the clock
tower, won’t they?
MARTHA: Oh no! They’re only little. They could get hurt.
OWEN: Those two? You’ve got to be kidding! If they fell off, they’d
CHRIS: The idiots! They’re both pains.
JACK: I’ll go and get them back.
ROSE: Me, too.
[Lots of noise and unspecified movement.]
This is it. I have had enough. No more. I want to resign.
Toshiko’s Secret Minutes cntd.
MISS WRIGHT: Now, where are you all heading? You should be at home?
CHRIS: We left some – er – homework behind, Miss!
JACK: Yeah. We couldn’t go home without it. Homework – it’d be the
end of the world.
MAXIL: A likely story. I’m going to see all of you little brats off
the premises this instant. As if we don’t have enough of you during
MISS WRIGHT: Unless there’s anything you’d like to tell us?
EVERYONE: No, Miss.
MARTHA: But -.
CHRIS: Nah. That’s okay, Miss Wight, Mr Maxil. We’ll be off then.
MAXIL: Yes, you will, young man. We are going to march you to the
gate and close it behind you and if that fails, I’ll pack you into the
minibus and drive you all home. I thought children were supposed to
JACK: Oh, we don’t. We love it. Yes, sir!
TOSHIKO: Perhaps you ought to know -.
ROSE (most unfairly pulling Toshiko’s plait): We’re going!
Okay. Think I might be able to write what just happened now without
breaking down into hysterics. Here goes:
Waited up here for any sign of Y7s intent on mischief.
Lo and behold, Jenny suddenly cambered in through window, David after
her. Turns out they threw a rope across from the next window and
climbed in that way. Am not thinking about how that could have ended.
Jumped out on them at that point and started to tell them off. This
made Jenny throw the rope out of the window in a panic. David nearly
jumped after it but grabbed him by the ear in time.
All this would have been fine except for sudden sound of bagpipes
coming from who knows where. David’s eyes go about as big as saucers
and he and Jenny practically bounce up and down with excitement.
(Floorboards creak ominously). “The phantom piper!”
Tried to explain that there is no such thing, but was difficult when
stupid spectre was making such a racket on the bagpipes. Began to
feel worried, but told them firmly to stay where they were while I
went in search of said spook.
(Wasn’t entirely happy about this. If anywhere is likely to be
haunted it’s H G Wells.)
Eventually tracked down an old-fashioned tape-recorder, hidden under a
box in the next room. Kicked it and hideous noise thankfully ceased.
Before I could return and get to the bottom of this, heard piercing
yells from Jenny and David and ran back.
The twins were clutching each other and pointing to the stairs. “A
ghost!” David said, pretty much beside himself with over-excitement.
“A real, actual ghost!” Added that this must be the best day ever.
Refrained from thumping the tadpole but it was a close thing.
Then had to head off onto the stairwell to investigate this mysterious
apparition. Following on from tape recorder was not prepared to
believe in genuine supernatural visitation.
Caught sight of a grey figure heading out the door. Drew back in
alarm. Not someone in a sheet, which was what I expected.
Returned to Tadpole and Mad Twin and told them that the ghost had gone
and while it did look odd, it had walked out of the door and not
through it / floated etc. etc. Took them to see the tape recorder.
Then put on stern-teacher act, glared at them and demanded to know
what they thought they were doing, risking death-defying stunts to get
into the clock tower after school. Gave them good lecture on the
subject and how much parents might sue for in case of fatal
Both looked guiltily at each other and came out with some ridiculously
long story about a ghost-hunting club. Decided to send them off home
and sort it out in the morning. Marched them back down the stairs to
find that the ghost had locked the door behind it.
Am stuck in deserted and structurally unsound clock tower with two
youngest children in school.
It must be at least 5.00pm now. Have been banging on door and yelling
for ages. Jenny and David tried hanging out of windows and shouting,
before I told them to stop after David nearly fell out for the second
time. The only person who saw was Mr Borusa, who, would you believe,
smiled and waved as he left. Am going to have words with him in the
Trying not to think that we might still be here then.
David has a bright idea – I can break the door down.
This is awful. David and Jenny have gone up the clock tower alone and
will get into terrible trouble and there is nothing we can do.
Everyone is here trying to think of something, but the only answer is
to tell and the boys won’t let us. Chris is in a terrible mood.
Donna is having a strop about missing Panopticon Hill.
It hasn’t turned into much of a scientific experiment. We have got
ourselves into trouble and no one has seen any sort of ghost at all.
Today is rubbish. We didn’t have club and we are sitting in Martha’s
because David and Jenny are mad. I am missing Panopticon Hill and it
is not fair. Martha won’t let me watch it. I don’t see why not.
It’s not like we’re doing anything.
Dinner: Rose and Mickey have gone to get chips and we are all texting
our mums and dads, but it’s okay cos they’re only Plot Devizes or
One good thing: Miss Wright had some sort of brain transfer and gave
us a mint assignment today about killing people off in Rassilon
Street. I wrote loads and loads. I might get a merit.
Toshiko’s Secret minutes
[Sound of Tosh still trying to switch off mic discreetly and failing]
CHRIS: He’s always been like this. And who gets the blame? Me,
that’s flippin’ who. ‘You’re the oldest, you should know better’.
Like anyone can stop those two when they get an idea in their heads.
MARTHA: I know. But don’t you think we should tell? It’s getting
late. I don’t like to think of them up there all al-
DONNA: Why can’t I watch the telly?
OWEN: Yeah, I heard there’s a big fight in Pan Hill tonight.
TOSHIKO: Really, you two. We have a serious problem and –
DONNA: I WANT TO WATCH THE TELLY!
JACKIE: Me too. This is dead boring.
CHRIS: Give it a break, Donna. Martha, just let her watch the thing.
JACK: Yeah. Panopticon Hill’s fun and there’s some cute guys and
girls in -.
OWEN: Bleurgh!! Jack’s getting soppy again – let’s kill him!
MARTHA: No! Not in my bedroom! Blood’s really hard to get out and
I’ve just had the room decorated. It took years to get Mum to let me
CHRIS: Yeah talking of that, Martha, did you have to go for all this
DONNA: You’re all just yakking. I don’t see why I can’t have the
telly on if you’re talking about painting things purple.
MARTHA: I suppose I might as well.
JACK: On behalf of my eardrums, thanks.
OWEN: If I used poison, there wouldn’t be any mess.
MARTHA: Don’t be silly; we might need Jack later if we try to get back
into the school.
OWEN: He’d be alive again by then. Spoilsport.
TOSHIKO: Owen Harper, you are so immature.
OWEN: So? I’m 11, Tosh. I’m not supposed to be mature yet, am I?
I’d look stupid if I went round acting like I was 60.
TOSHIKO: Ow! Don’t pull my plaits.
OWEN: Oh, did I pull your hair? I’m sorry, Tosh. I’m so sorry. I
didn’t mean to.
TOSH: Yes, you did.
TOSH: See how you like it.
OWEN: My arm’s gonna have a big bruise now.
OWEN: She pinched me!
DONNA: How does your TV work? This remote’s rubbish.
MARTHA: That’s my calculator, Donna. There, that’s for the TV.
[Door opens and shuts; more rustling]
ROSE: Hey! Budge up. Chris, chips for you.
MICKEY: Cool – who put Panopticon Hill on?
OWEN: It wasn’t me.
JACKIE: Ooh, you so asked for it on.
CHRIS: Look, I’m going to sneak back into school. Who’s with me?
MARTHA: It looks as though it’s just you and me. Come on.
CHRIS: Hang about, I’m finishing my chips off first. Did you get
curry sauce, Rose?
DONNA: Shut UP! I can’t hear the telly!
Can’t break door down.
David and Jenny still sure this is great fun and are trying to make up
a bed for the night and empty sweets from their pockets for dinner.
Am trapped in some nightmare. Almost wish there really was a phantom
Keep smiling at them and telling them I will think of something.
Panicking silently. Hate being a teacher.
David’s Secret Minutes
Well we are not doing much so I am writing in my history book cos this
will be great for the club. We have seen a ghost. Mr Kreiner said it
wasn’t, but it was all wird and grewsome and gray and I think it was.
Jenny says so to. This is so cool!!! We are stuck in the clock tower
and we will have to stay the night. Jenny is making a bed out of the
tables and curtains in the other room. Mr Kreiner has just gone and
found her doing it. His voice is going all squeaky.
Right. Have to find a way out. Jenny seemed to think that pushing
some tables together and pulling down some ancient curtains would do
for beds. Am not impressed.
Think. Have no rope, cannot break door down, everyone gone home.
No. Am stuck here all night with two mad 10 year olds.
The only consolation is that I’m bound to get the sack for this.
At least we are stuck with Mr Kreiner he is funny and cool and he will
think of something except if we do first. Jenny and me are good for
ideas, everyone says so. I think I will be a teacher like Mr Kreiner
when I grow up, except not PE. PE is naff and Mr Kreiner always makes
us do cross country and never hockey or football or rugby or netball
or anything. But I like running so that is okay. It is better than
games and more usefull cos you always have to run away from lots of
things, especially if you find a Dalek in the field when you are doing
cross country. They sink and then pop up and try to exterminate
people, but they are not much use when they get muddy. I think it is
getting dark now. It’s brilliant and creepy. I bet the Fantom Piper
will come back!!!!
Not sure I believe what I just did. Asked Jenny and David exactly how
they climbed across from next window and turns out there is a ledge
that runs along the outside of the building, so they walked on that
with the rope for assistance.
You’re not going to believe this, are you? I won’t in the morning,
either. Turned to kids and (in heroic voice) told them to stay well
back, then hopped out onto ledge and inched my way along. Maintain
this only worked because my brain wouldn’t believe it was happening
till it was over.
Found someone had locked next window firmly. Had to go back again.
Am now nervous wreck.
David and Jenny both looked at me for a long time once I got back in.
Eventually, David said that they got in through the window the other
Hung out the window so far that one of them squeaked, but they all
looked equally shut to me.
Clock up the top of the tower started chiming six in distinctly
David suggested making rope from old curtains. Maybe I have been up
here too long, but does not sound a bad idea.
Toshiko’s Secret Minutes (cntd)
[Recorded in the school drive. Dusk]
MARTHA: How are we going to get in? Won’t everything be locked?
CHRIS: Sonic screwdriver.
JACK: I don’t know why you bothered asking.
ROSE: I thought Mr Maxil confiscated it.
CHRIS: Nah, that was my other sonic screwdriver.
MICKEY: Look! Someone’s climbing out the clock tower!
CHRIS: Oh no. I can’t look. I’m never gonna hear the end of it if
one of them falls.
ROSE: I think it’s Mr Kreiner.
JACK: Mr Kreiner? But he never lets us do rope climbing in gym.
That’s not fair.
MICKEY: Yeah, you’re right. What a hypocrite.
MARTHA: Um. That’s not a proper rope, is it?
TOSHIKO: No. It doesn’t look very safe to me. I don’t think the top
section is very secure.
[Pause. Distant crash]
JACK: Ow. That must’ve hurt.
MARTHA: Come on!
Wow. Panopticon Hill was so exciting you will not belive. Will write
Reminder to self: Never listen to David’s ideas again. Found myself
lying on the ground winded and bruised with a group of wide-eyed Y7s
crowded round me, some of them in tears.
Pulled myself up and attempted dignity, but this is difficult when
you’ve landed in a holly bush.
At this point, we discovered we were all locked out and Jenny and
David were still locked in.
Am now hungry, tired, thoroughly battered, lucky to be alive and have
got to find a way in before one of those two starts trying climbing
out after me.
Yelled back up at them that we were coming in to get them. Now I’ve
just got to make that true.
Toshiko’s Secret Minutes (cntd)
[Outside the clock tower]
MR KREINER: What are you all doing here?
CHRIS: Looking for David and Jenny.
MR KREINER: I see. You’re all in this ghost club?
CHRIS: Typical. They told?
MR KREINER: I asked. Now, come on – we need to get into the school
before one of them starts climbing out of it or pulling it down around
MARTHA: We can do that, Mr Kreiner.
CHRIS: Sonic screwdriver.
MR KREINER: You know that all sonic devices are strictly forbidden by
CHRIS: Yeah, but do you want to get in or not?
MR KREINER: I do. I suppose I could overlook it just this once.
TOSHIKO: Are you sure you’re okay, Mr Kreiner? You did fall quite far
into those bushes.
MR KREINER: Fine. I’m going to get the gardener to pull up the holly
bush, though, if I want to make a habit of it.
MARTHA: It was very brave, Mr Kreiner.
MR KREINER: No, Martha, it wasn’t. I’d put it down to desperation.
It was that or spend the night up in the clock tower with Jenny and
MARTHA: It’s all right; I’m not going to try it at home, sir. I think
it was brave.
MR KREINER: Well, I still think it was insane. Come on, Martha.
[Pause. Distant sound of sonic screwdriver and door creaking open]
MR KREINER: None of you dressed up in white earlier and pretended to
be a phantom piper, did you?
MARTHA (breathlessly): You don’t mean there really *is* a ghost?
MR KREINER: Look, someone obviously did. And who left that tape
recorder in there?
TOSHIKO: We’ve all been together since school finished and I wouldn’t
play such a silly joke.
CHRIS: Are you lot coming in to rescue them or not?
MARTHA: What’s a tape recorder?
Okay. Am back home, in one piece and all children and have been
safely extracted from school grounds. Mystery of phantom piper still
Maxil is expecting report tomorrow and have promised frantic group of
Y7s that I will not tell on them. After all, if it weren’t for Chris
& co, Jenny and David would either still be locked inside or would
have attempted jumping out.
Will look on the bright side. Might get the sack after all.
Fitz Kreiner’s Report to Mr Maxil:
Group of Y7s were holding after school ghost hunting club. They have
agreed to bring it to an end. That’s all. Absolutely nothing else to
worry about. Everything else is fine.
Got the whole lot of them together before school this morning and
yelled at them for trouble-making etc. etc. But said I would never
tell if they agreed to end the ghost-hunting club out of school time.
Promised that I would get to the bottom of Phantom Piper menace for
them. Believe me, am going to. No genuine ghosts use tape-recorders
for background music or trail flour behind them. (A discovery we made
This seemed to work.
Jack wanted to have rope-climbing and gym sessions for PE. Agreed.
It’ll make a change from standing around in the rain. But if anyone
kills themselves trying to get over the vaulting horse, it’ll be back
to cross country.
After rest had gone, got enthusiastically hugged by Jenny and David.
I have got to get out of here.
Mr Kreiner had a go at us this morning, but we didn’t have to see Mr
Maxil so that was ok. But then Mum told me off for being out late
yesterday and wouldn’t let me watch the telly.
She wouldn’t let me have pudding, neither. She is so mean. I hate
It’s not fair. I’m going to phone Rose and tell her.
It’s Friday. Hallelujah.
48 hours plus of freedom from children.
Card found posted through Fitz’s door:
[Coloured-pencil drawing of a Scottish ghost on the front. With lurid
bloodstains dripping from its bagpipes]
Dear Mr Kreiner
Thank you for helping us last night. We think you are the Best
Teacher Ever. You are cool.
Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Love David and Jenny.
“I need to get killed off,” said Fitz, assuming an author was paying
attention somewhere. “Do you hear me? That is the last straw. They
know where I live. I’m going to have to move.”
Then he put the card on the mantelpiece and went upstairs slowly and
painfully to collapse until Monday.
Coda: Explanatory Drabble
“You wouldn’t believe what goes on in this place,” said Ben Jackson to
He grinned. “Yesterday after school, I saw Pat Doctor hanging around
the clock tower where he shouldn’t be and, blow me down, when I gave
him a piece of my mind, if that James McCrimmon didn’t come out,
covered in flour.”
“Oh,” said Miss Tyler. “So *that’s* where all the flour went.”
He shook his head. “Yeah. No idea what that was about, but I locked
the door and sent them off with a flea in their earholes. D’you think
I should report them?”
Culprits (Double Drabble)
“Oh, Jamie,” said Victoria reproachfully. “You didn’t try and scare
the little children, did you?”
Pat and Jamie exchanged guilty looks.
“O’course not,” said Jamie at her woebegone expression. “We were only
– what were we doing, Pat?”
“We were rehearsing for the school play, Victoria. Jamie wants to be
“Be quiet, Jamie.”
Victoria frowned. “But what about the bagpipes?”
“We were improvising,” declared Pat. “We think Marley was Scottish.”
She relented and hugged Jamie. “I’m so glad you weren’t doing
Jamie and Pat looked at each other again as she left.
“Next time,” said Jamie, “I’m not agreeing to one o’ your mad ideas.”
Pat put his head in his hands as he sat at the table. “I don’t see why
she’s cross about it. After all, they wanted a ghost.”
“Victoria’s a high-minded lassie,” said Jamie stoutly. “She cannae
Pat beamed. “So that’s all right, as long as Mr Jackson doesn’t tell
“Except for you wouldnae’ believe how difficult it is to get that
flour out of places…” Jamie fidgeted in his chair.
He looked alarmed. “Well, that’s your business, Jamie!” He coughed.
“You have had a bath, haven’t you?”
As usual, none of the above belongs to me. Doctor Who is copyright of
the BBC and BBC Wales; TTR was dreamt up by Tyler Dion and TDTO by
Paul Gadzikowski. Ghosthunting club is something I used to do when I
(I apologise for the existence of Rassilon Street, but I wanted Donna
to ignore school and write about TV and so I had to think of a soap or
two for her to watch. It's ... not exactly subtle in being a very bad
parody of every single soap I've ever seen.)