Grange Hill Gold is delighted to finally be able to share our exclusive interview with Abigail Brown, who played original school girl, Judy Preston in series 1 and 2. Abigail talks to us about her time at Grange Hill, discussing violins, school bullies and hamsters amongst a wealth of other things. Check out our exclusive interview with Abigail here.
Many thanks to the amazing Abigail Brown for agreeing to speak to us.
This month four former Grange Hill stars can be spotted in very high profile roles; from television, to stage, to screen…. and even behind the scenes.
First up is Lee Macdonald who played Zammo Maguire until 1987. Having taken a break from acting, Lee usually runs his own locksmiths business, but this week makes a return to television screens with a role in Eastenders. Initially for two episodes, Lee plays bus driver Terry, but hopes this may lead to a longer term role. Filmed at Elstree, Lee found going back to the former Grange Hill studios very nostalgic; even spotting his own photo on the walls! Click here to read an interview with Lee. Lee can be spotted in Eastenders from Thursday May 31st.
Former Eastender, Michelle Gayle, moved from playing Fiona in Grange Hill to Walford, before launching her own music career. After a range of roles, Michelle also writes and directs for CBBC. However, her latest role sees her taking on one of the world’s best known characters in London’s biggest plays. Michelle has joined the cast of the stage production ; Harry Potter and The Cursed Child, playing the adult Hermione Granger. Read an interview with Michelle here.
Amma Asante, played Cheryl Webb between 1986-7, and although she began her career in-front of the camera, is now a highly regarded film director and writer. Her previous film Belle was hugely successful and this month she launched her latest film ; ‘Where Hands Touch’ to rave reviews. Read an interview with Amma here.
Finally, David Doyle played unpopular Richard Marks in series 4. Although David continued to act after leaving Grange Hill, a recent film release has given him a much higher profile. David appears in ‘Rocket Man’ – the Elton John biopic – playing a drunk man in a pub who puts his pint on a young Elton’s piano and eventually causes a huge bar brawl. David wittily says of the film ; “Happy to say I’m in this brilliant film…..it’s the story of a bloke called pub man 1, who wins a plate of sausages, starts a fight in a pub and inspires a young Elton John to become a rock star.” Rocketman is currently on general release.
Keep visiting Grange Hill Gold for even more exclusive features. Coming soon are two brand new interviews with some of Grange Hill’s best known pupils.
We spoke exclusively to Fiona Lee Fraser who played Laura Reagan (s9-11) who tells us all about playing a teacher’s daughter and her favourite Grange Hill memories.
Our second interviewee Abigail Brown played Judy Preston, a key member of the original cast of Grange Hill. Abigail talks about her time on Grange Hill and reveals exactly what happened to the school hamster when filming stopped!
These brand new interviews are exclusive to Grange Hill Gold and will be online soon as part of our Spring season. Keep visiting!
Exciting news for Lee Macdonald, who played one of Grange Hill’s most iconic characters, Zammo Maguire; he’s joining the cast of Eastenders!
Playing the part of a bus driver who takes on Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) in a radio competition, Lee will initially appear in two episodes in the Spring. As well as a return to TV screens, it also marks a return to Elstree; the Eastenders set is just round the corner from the former Grange Hill studios!
Lee said “I am absolutely chuffed to bits and excited to be joining the cast of Eastenders.”
Lee’s role as Zammo saw Grange Hill tackle its most controversial storyline; that of teenage heroin addiction and the ‘Just Say No’ campaign.
The full story can be read on the BBC News website here.
You can read our exclusive interview with Lee here.
Original GH cast member, Donald Waugh, who played ‘Hughesy’, has been hard at work using his theatrical skills for another good cause. His new production SOZO opens on Tuesday for four nights.
Donald told us ; “I have created a production called SOZO and the production highlights the plight of survivors of homelessness, addiction, mental health and disability. The production opens on Tuesday March 26th at the Streatham space project a new theatre on South London. The production runs for four nights and l have the task of trying to fill as many seats as possible for each night. I’d love for Grange Hill fans to come along and support our production. SOZO uses real people going through mental health challenges, disability, and addiction and homelessness. The characters collectively go on a journey together and come out the other side feeling empowered and with a renewed vision of how to move forward with their lives. Any Grange Hill fans are welcome!”
More details available here.
Jack Grossman’s Pop Pirates (1984)
As well as the fantastic series 5 and 6 of Grange Hill being released on DVD, the end of 2018 also saw some other great GH connected material released.
The Children’s Film Foundation was responsible for many fantastic projects, lots of which were shown on Children’s BBC in the 80s as ‘Friday Film Specials’. Of course some of these films would feature GH alumini, and two such appearances are included in a new release ‘Children’s Film Foundation Bumper Box’.
The classic ‘Pop Pirates’ featured Ricky Simmonds (Ant Jones) alongside The Who’s Roger Daltrey and has been sought after for many years on DVD. Ricky talks about ‘Pop Pirates’ in our interview here. Lisa East, who played Christine Everson, features in the highly regarded ‘4D Special Agents’. Both films are featured in this new box set, which also includes a documentary detailing the history of CFF.
Ricky and Lisa are both very happy to see their CFF Films finally released with Lisa telling us she received a copy as a birthday present last year.
You can purchase the Children’s Film Foundation Bumper Box here
You can purchase Grange Hill series 5 and 6 here.
As well as television episodes, Grange Hill fans were also able to enjoy the exploits of their favourite characters in a range of spin-off media. Besides annuals and novels, Grange Hill saw several comic strip incarnations. One of the most successful of these was ‘Grange Hill Juniors’ ; a weekly 3 page comic strip in ‘School Fun’ comic between 1983-1984. As part of our examination of Grange Hill in print, we are delighted to be able to share the first eight episodes of this classic strip here.