Mark’s Mission

grippers7As Grange Hill’s Gripper Stebson, Mark Savage was an expert at extorting dinner money from his fellow pupils. However, Mark could not be more different to the nasty bully he played on screen; he’s fund-raising for an amazing cause; Maytree, which provides a sanctuary for the suicidal. We urge you to support this.

Not only is Mark performing a one man play ‘Human Issue’, coinciding with World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10th), he is also cycling from London to Brighton to raise funds for Maytree. You can sponsor Mark here

Mark spoke exclusively to us, explaining exactly what he’s doing, and how important this cause is.

“My trade union, Equity, in collaboration with three other industry organisations; British Association of Performing Arts Medicine (BPAM), Spotlight(www.spotlight.com) & The Stage(www.thestage.co.uk), set up www.artsminds.co.uk to bring together into one place a raft of resources for performers and creative practitioners facing mental health issues. This created www.artsminds.co.uk
The trigger for the project came with a series of suicides from within the community of the entertainment professions, which resulted in a call for some kind of action.
The four organisations came together to consider how we might support people in our creative industries who are dealing with emotional stress and mental health challenges and the result is this resource hub. We also hope ArtsMinds will encourage more people to talk about their situations and go some way to help raise awareness.
Suicide is the most common cause of death in males in the UK & Republic of Ireland.

aa481b31-d1d4-4638-a466-4c63231fb441I read the script for the one man play I am currently producing & performing at The Etcetera theatre. Camden. London, as an awareness & fundraiser for The Maytree (www.maytree.org.uk), the UK`s only FREE sanctuary for people feeling suicidal, which is funded entirely on donations. I first heard about The Maytree & the amazing work they do on the documentary Professor Green-Suicide & me: www.imdb.com/title/tt5171056/

The script for Human Issue, written by Dean Moynihan, is a genius piece of writing & theatre. Frank is a stand up comedian, he`s intelligent, he`s funny, he`s frustrated, he`s frank & he`s about to kill himself, but first he has one or two important things he`d like to say. The bailiffs have repossessed almost everything he owns, leaving him an eviction notice & existential questions & although told with a dark philosophical wit is a story of hope & a celebration of the tenacious nature of humanity. We had a successful run at The Hope theatre early in 2017. To coincide with World Suicide Prevention Day on Sunday 10th September, in association with the Etcetera theatre, Camden, London, my Theatre Company is performing an awareness & fundraiser for The Maytree. Performances at 12.30pm matinee 9.30pm evening performance. It`s a 60 minute one man play. Tickets available at: http://www.ticketea.co.uk/tickets-theatre-human-issue/ Men remain more than three times more likely to take their own lives than women across the UK and Republic of Ireland, although, unfortunately suicide affects both genders & the recent rise in female suicide could be an indication of the picture of suicide risk changing. It now appears that male rates are decreasing and female rates are increasing. The Samaritans research suggests that the causes are political, socio-economical. deprivation, unemployment, social disconnection and triggering events, such as relationship breakdown or job loss, increase the risk of suicide. Since 2010 the suicide rate has increased, along with those struggling on social security due to low wages & unemployment, along with the class warfare being unleashed, such as economic violence in the form of sanctions of social security payments for the most vulnerable in our society.

Maytree-500x236 I am also cycling from London to Brighton on Sunday 17th September to raise money for The Maytree. I`m an everyday London commuter cyclist who uses a bicycle as transport, it`s the quickest form of transport in London, cheap, healthy for my body & the environment & exercise. Cycling is like life. You need balance, determination, direction & by taking one step at a time can cover miles. As a test of fitness on myself I cycle to Brighton at least once a year as transport, so decided to do it for charity. You can sponsor me here. “

Grange Hill Gold urges you to support this extremely worthwhile cause.

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86 Reunited!

They say you never forget your school-days and the friends you made there. The cast of Grange Hill might have had their own real schools to go to, but that didn’t stop them forging life-long friendships at BBC Elstree!

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86 Reunited – (L-R Fleur Taylor (Imelda Davies), Ruth Carraway (Helen Kelly), Alison Bettles (Fay Lucas), George’s Partner, Lisa York (Julie Marchant),  Carleen Beadle (Supporting Artist), John Holmes (Gonch Gardner), George Wilson (Ziggy Greaves) and John Drummond (Trevor Clever). 

Last week, some of the cast from 1986’s Series 9 were reunited at a gathering to catch up and reminisce about old times. Hosted by John Holmes (Gonch Gardener), guests included Ruth Carraway (Helen Kelly) who was visiting from New Zealand, and George Wilson (Ziggy Greaves) who came down from Liverpool.

As our photo shows, a good time was had by all. Thanks to George Wilson for sharing this picture with us.

 

10 Things About Amma Asante

Amma Asante MBE has come a long way since playing Cheryl Webb in Grange Hill between 1986-7. Now hugely successful in the world of film; Amma was recently awarded the MBE for services to film. She was recently the subject of an edition of The South Bank Show with Melvyn Bragg; broadcast last month on Sky Arts. Here are 10 things we learnt about the amazing Amma after watching.

  1. Amma grew up in Streatham, one of only two black families on her street. “It took me a while to realise how rough it was, I didn’t know any other form of life. To have graffiti on the wall, matches through the letterbox was just life at the time.”
  2. Her parents were raised in the colony of the Gold Coast, which then became Ghana, before moving to London. Her father was an accountant, whilst her mother ran an African Deli in Shepherd’s Bush.
  3. BGPJLLDCEAAQzNISensing his daughter’s creativity, her father sent her to the Barabra Speake stage school.  “To be a black child, sent to stage school, to explore who you are, was quite a rare thing.”
  4. Amma appeared in the music video for Culture Club’s ‘I’ll Tumble 4 Ya’. It was her first job; for which she was paid £30.
  5. “I remember being told I’d got the job on Grange Hill, and being so happy; so glad that I was working! Because that’s all we ever wanted; to be working!” Amma told headteacher, Barbara Speake when she went back to visit the stage school as part of the programme.
  6. Her mother encouraged her to have a back-up job in-case acting didn’t work out. This lead to Amma learning to type, which eventually lead to her writing scripts. Initially she wrote scripts under her mother’s name as she believed she wouldn’t be taken seriously as a writer, as she was also still working as an actress. However, when her script was accepted, a producer wanted to meet the writer and Amma’s identity was revealed; it made no difference!
  7. OP12Her first script to be made for television was the BBC series ‘Brothers And Sisters’ which made Amma Asante the first black woman to write and produce her own television series.
  8. In order to secure funding for her first film, A Way Of Life, Amma reluctantly took on the role of director. “I found it like coming home. The few hours leading up to that 7 o’clock was absolutely terrifying, but the moment I called ‘Action!’ and this weird magic started to unfold in-front of me and the camera, I suddenly got it. I understood that this was where I was meant to be.” 
  9. Oprah Winfrey helped promote Amma’s second film ‘Belle’ in the United States. “I remember getting the call saying Oprah wants to have you at lunch. Not only this but she’s going to get Entertainment Tonight to come an shoot it and she’s asked them to screen it in segments over four nights so that you get the utmost promotion for your movie. And that’s what happened; and it made a huge difference.”
  10. Of her current film (Where Hands Touch) Amma says ; “It explores all facets of who I am, and what I want to say. I feel like my strength is through film-making, and that’s why I make films………to try to move society on in different directions.”

AMMA ASSANTE : SOUTH BANK SHOW was broadcast on Sky Arts on 19th July 2017.

The films of Amma Asante, can be purchased by clicking the links below.
A Way Of Life                               Belle                                 A United Kingdom
‘Where Hands Touch’ is due to be released in cinemas in 2017-18

‘The Forgotten Man Of Grange Hill’

Duane Orpington Grange Hill.jpg.opt229x283o0,0s229x283Mark Baxter played Duane Orpington between 1980-1984. Duane was the first of a new group of pupils, aimed at replacing the original ‘first years’ of Tucker Jenkins and Trisha Yates, as they moved up the school. Duane tried hard to stay on the right side of his violent father, getting into numerous scrapes alongside Pogo Patterson, and finally bringing down Gripper Stebson. Mark was one of the few constants in an ever-changing cast list for his ‘year-group’ until he himself disappeared from Grange Hill during the 1984 series.

Grange Hill Gold is delighted to be able to publish an exclusive interview with Mark in which he talks about his time at Grange Hill and why he’s sometimes known as ‘the forgotten man’ of Grange Hill. Check out our exclusive interview here and view some of Duane/Mark’s classic moments here.

Dream Team Reunited Again!

14925329_10207552676003042_681559192632138480_nFans of Grange Hill’s Ziggy and Robbie (aka George Wilson and John Alford) get the chance to meet them at a Grange Hill Reunion in Wellingborough in November. As well as an 80s night theme and a Qand A with George and John, there will be photo and autograph opportunities. Tickets are available here with full details on the flier below. Anyone who attended a similar event in Great Yarmouth in 2016, knows just what an entertaining partnership George and John are; guaranteeing a great night. See George Wilson talking about the event here.

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Amma Asante MBE

amaFormer Grange Hill star, Amma Asante has been honoured by Queen Elizabeth II for services to film, as part of the Birthday Honours 2017. Amma, who played Cheryl Webb for two series in 1986-7, received the MBE.

Since leaving Grange Hill, Amma has gone on to become one of the UK’s most successful directors, with her film credits including Belle, and her latest A United Kingdom.

Amma Asante was also the subject of an edition of The South Bank Show, broadcast on Sky Arts on Wednesday July 19th 2017, in which she discussed her career to date, from Grange Hill to MBE!

Duane Speaks Out!

BmqBMBCCcAAquVRJoining Grange Hill in Series 3 as a new first year lead, Mark Baxter played Duane Orpington for four series until he suddenly disappeared off screen. A prolific child actor, becoming the new ‘Tucker Jenkins In Training’ was one of Mark’s highest profile roles.

Grange Hill Gold are delighted to announce that Mark has completed an exclusive interview for us. Find out the real stories behind Mark’s time playing Duane, including his disappointment at not being able to finish Duane’s Grange Hill journey properly and much, much more. This exclusive interview goes on-line next week.

Click Here to see some of Duane Orpington’s greatest moments. (Video courtesy of BBC / Grange Hill Events)