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THE SECOND EPISODE OF FAME THAT WAS SHOWN ON BBC TV ON JUNE 24th, 1982
By Doug Tucker
(May 1983 magazine)
This episode deals largely with the teacher/ pupil relationship between Coco and Lydia Grant, when two superbly talented dancers have a serious career clash.
The story opens with a group of students dancing in the hallway between classes. A large crowd gathers to watch. Leroy performs a series of robot-like movements and steals the limelight and Miss Grant looks on, her eyes sparkling with delight as she takes it all in.
A man begins to work his way through the crowd of students but everyone is too absorbed to take any notice of the stranger. He creeps up behind Miss Grant, gently covering her eyes with his hands. As she pulls away and turns round, she discovers that the stranger is none other than her old boyfriend.
"Robert!" she cries out. "I don't believe it!" The attention of the crowd is promptly transferred, and they watch in amazement as their teacher gives her old flame a kiss and a cuddle. Then the bell goes and the gathering disperses.
Doris is sitting waiting for Miss Sherwood's English class to begin. She's reading a stage magazine when Danny comes in and asks, rather disgustedly, "Don't tell me you actually read that stuff?" "What do you read?" Doris retorts.
"Cereal box tops, manhole covers, anything I can get my hands on," he quips. A discussion breaks out between Bruno, Danny and Doris about whether it's worth reading the trade magazines, because you only ever seem to get jobs through personal contacts, rather than through advertisements. Then suddenly, Doris leaps to her feet and rushes out of the room, bumping into Miss Sherwood as she goes, who warns her that she'd better be back in two minutes' time.
Doris dashes up to the room where the students majoring in dance are limbering up before class. Robert is telling Lydia Grant that he has just been appointed director of a new show and has come to see if she would like to audition for the lead role. Unfortunately, he hasn't the authority to give her the part just like that, but he thinks she's ideal for it.
At that moment, Doris bursts in, rushes up to Coco and shows her an ad she's seen in the trade magazine. Coco slides the mag down her legwarmers as it's time for class, and Doris hurtles back to her classroom and sits down, relieved that she won't have to do the extra book report which Miss Sherwood threatened her with if she was late. Unfortunately for Doris , she'd muddled up which floor she was on and has ended up in Prof. Shorofsky's music class by mistake!
Back in the dance class, the lesson gets under way. Miss Grant is directing her pupils in a routine and she splits the class into two. As Coco 's half finishes, Leroy's comes on to do their bit, and this gives Coco a chance to glance at the ad. As she reads it, her eyes light up and a big, beautiful, dreamy smile spreads across her face....
After class, Miss Grant and Miss Sherwood have a heart-to-heart. Lydia tells Elizabeth that an opportunity has arisen for her to star in a show at long last, but the problem is that if she gets the part, she'll have to give up her teaching post, and she'd hate that. But she hadn't realised how much she was missing performing until Robert brought up the possibility of her being in this show.
Miss Sherwood offers her a bit of friendly advice. "If you audition and get it, that's a high class problem to have. If you audition and don't get it, we'll go out to dinner, split a bottle of wine, pick up the pieces. But if you decide not to audition, then you'll never know what would have happened, and you'll be one unhappy lady, my friend." Lydia finally makes up her mind to audition.
Meanwhile, Bruno is sitting in his music cubicle busy composing another masterpiece when in comes Coco . "Haven't you ever heard of knocking?" he asks grumpily. "I don't have time to knock, man, this is Business," she replies, and reads out the ad to Bruno. It's an audition for a show and all who take part must be able to sing and dance. She'd like Bruno to go to the audition with her and play one of his compositions for her to sing and dance to.
Bruno is reluctant at first, because he is so shy and hates playing in public, but Coco finally persuades him. The song is "The Show Must Go On", and Coco sings her heart out, although, at this point, we don't see the director to whom she is singing. As she finishes, she is told that they will probably be calling her back for a second audition and she is thrilled. Then who should appear but Lydia Grant! This is when it dawns on them that they are, in fact, auditioning for the same part
in the same show. But Coco doesn't know that the mysterious director sitting in the shadows, to whom she was singing, is Lydia 's old boyfriend, Robert.
Next day at school, Lydia tells Miss Sherwood that she has been called back for a second audition, but that Coco , surprisingly, is one of her chief rivals. One of the school's major rules is that students are not allowed to work in shows after class, but Lydia is reluctant to follow Miss Sherwood's advice and report Coco and Bruno to the school authorities.
The cameras then turn on Danny and Montgomery, walking down the hallway on their way to class. Danny is telling Montgomery that Johnny Carson is going to be in New York soon and this could be his big chance to slip him a couple of jokes. After all, this is the way careers get started. Danny knows which restaurant Carson will be dining at during his visit, but Montgomery reminds him that celebrities are always surrounded by a protective entourage whose job it is to stop people like Danny disturbing the star while he eats. This brings Danny back to his oft-repeated assertion that it's not what you know, but who you know, that counts, and anyway, the restaurant Johnny Carson will be eating at is owned by a friend of Danny's father, and Danny is going to get a job there!
Doris bumps into Bruno as he is collecting some books from his locker and comments on the audition, which Bruno pretends to know nothing about. But he can't fool Doris, who says he'll probably get off being reported since he was only helping Coco out, but that Coco might be in real trouble.
But in the next scene we see Lydia assuring Coco that she won't report her, and Coco expresses the wish that, whatever may happen, there won't be any hard feelings between them.
Danny, meanwhile, is on the phone to the restaurant owner, trying every trick in the book to get a job there and finally saying he'll work for nothing for the privilege of helping out in such a prestigious establishment.
At lunchtime, all the gang are discussing the audition and its possible consequences. Bruno tells them not to assume that Miss Grant will get the part as Coco was extremely good, but Leroy points out that it's not Coco 's boyfriend who's directing the show.
"Boy-what?" replies Bruno, who can't believe his ears.
"Didn't you see the director when Coco was auditioning?" asks Doris .
"No, it was pitch black, all we heard was his voice," Bruno explains.
Bruno realises how upset Coco will be when she finds out. "Who's going to tell her?" he asks.
"You just did!" Doris informs him, her eyes straying to where Coco is standing, having overheard everything!
Coco feels so upset that she goes down to the dance room to do some exercises and try to calm down. Doris follows her to apologise, and Coco tells her what she thinks about the whole biased situation. Doris comments that, if she feels that strongly about it, she should talk to Miss Grant and get it off her chest.
The big confrontation between the two takes place in the staff room at the end of the day, as Miss Grant gets ready to go home. Tempers begin to flare as Coco goes on about how unfair it is that nobody else will get a look-in because of Robert being Miss Grant's boyfriend.
Later that night, Lydia keeps a date with Robert and tells him that, because of
complications that have cropped up at the school, she doesn't know if she really wants the role even if she gets it. Robert tells her that there are only three real contenders for the part - herself, some friend of the choreographer's, and some kid called Hernandez.. . and there is some other girl whom the producer has seen in an aerobics class, but as far as Robert is concerned, Lydia is the prime choice.
Then Lydia almost chokes on her wine as she recognises the person who is handing them a plate of bread and butter. It's Danny! By chance, they are dining in the very restaurant that Johnny Carson will be coming to.
At last it's the day for the final auditions for the show. The choreographer's friend goes first, leaving Coco and Lydia nervously waiting. Coco takes this opportunity to try and patch things up between the two of them, and she succeeds. She apologises for the things she said to Miss Grant in the staff room, and explains that it was just because she was scared.
Lydia is due to go on stage next. . . and then suddenly she sees the producer enter through the side door with a girl in tow, obviously the one from his aerobics class. He introduces the girl to Robert, and Lydia is convinced that this means that she's got the part. She calls Robert to the stage and asks him if she really has to get all hot and sweaty for nothing, knowing that the role has already been cast?
Robert denies it at first, but in the end he has to admit that he had no say in the matter and the other girl has been chosen. So Lydia stalks off the stage, collects her stuff, and she and Coco return to the school, all their rivalries and worries forgotten.
The action now swings back to Danny, who is busy telling the restaurant manager that Johnny Carson actually spoke to him. Apparently Danny followed him into the men's room and showed him some of his material. "What did he say?" asks the curious manager. "Buzz off, kid," repeats Danny ruefully.
The final scene features the beautiful song, "I Still Believe In Me", performed by Coco and Lydia , which expresses the emotions felt particularly by themselves and Danny right then, but also by every ambitious, talented, but eternally let-down person who has ever tried to make it in show-business.
This interview was provided to me by Elaine.
The article above is from the Official Fame Magazines from 1983. The OFFICIAL FAME MAGAZINE was published by Beat Publications Ltd. and the interviews are copyright MGM/UA Entertainment Co.