2014 sees the first Grange Hill Reunion run by Grange Hill Events. Taking place on Sunday May 25th in London (see site for details), the event brings together cast from the 70s and 80s and gives Grange Hill Fans the chance to meet the stars they grew up with! Grange Hill Gold interviewed organiser Scott Frankton to find out exactly what his plans are for the day!
What gave you the idea for a Grange Hill event?
I’ve been a fan of Grange Hill for as long as I can remember and I’ve always been curious that there hasn’t been an event for fans to meet the cast and crew before – there seems to be ones for just about every other cult TV show – from Doctor Who to On the Buses – so the absence of a Grange Hill event really stuck out. The Grange Hill fan community is a very dedicated one and if you missed Erkan Mustafa’s 2009 reunion, like I unfortunately did, this will go some way to making up for it!
Have you arranged events previously?
I’ve arranged events previously through my normal day job and I help out with a range of Doctor Who themed events – so I’ve built up a number of contacts which has made it a lot easier to arrange this type of event.
How long have you been planning the event for?
There are five key people involved in organising the event and like all things, it started out as idle conversation in the pub about wanting to meet some of our childhood heroes and it developed from there. We started organising the event in July 2013 – our initial hope had been for the event to take place in October, but we had to wait for availability for our venue, the George IV Public House and Comedy Club, so postponed it until May 25th. We officially launched the event with tickets to purchase the first week of January 2014 – we always wanted to give the fans amble time to find out about the event and make arrangements to attend!
What kinds of things will be going on at the GH event?
The main focus of the day will be a series of interview panels – these will run for an hour or more and are going to be hosted by Erkan Mustafa. He is the ideal person to get the best and juiciest tidbits out of all of our guests. We will be screening key moments from the guests episodes in Grange Hill, which will hopefully bring back memories of their time on the show. After each panel there will be a chance to meet the guests on a one to one basis, have photographs with them and get as many autographs as you like. I know I will be! We will also be having exhibits from the Kransky Artist and Terry Sue Patt on show (and available to purchase) from their Grange Hill School Art Exhibition (that was launced in Brick Lane last year). We’ve also got a few more surprises in store – but I don’t want to reveal too much!
What is your overall aim for the event?
Just for everyone to have fun! I always wanted to attend an event like this and meet the cast and I know lots of other people want to aswell. For some people it’s about collecting new autographs, for others it’s getting a photo – personally, I can’t wait to hear all the stories and anecdotes about the show. Grange Hill has been poorly served by DVD releases (only seasons 1-4 and then no extras, interviews or commentaries). With such a great and huge cast it’s such a shame that they haven’t had “their moment”. Part of the appeal for the guests is also a chance to meet not only the fans, but catch up with people they haven’t seen in a long time. I know Nicholas Pandolfi went to stage school with Vinny Mann – so he is looking forward to catching up with him. During the process of contacting guests, we also had the unenviable moment of discovering that Joann Kenny who played Jane Bishop had passed away over three years ago. This came as a complete shock to us and the fans and as such with her family’s blessing we will be raising money for children’s charity, Dandelion Time based in Kent.
What does the ticket price entitle a guest to?
The ticket price will give people access to the event, all stage panels and two free autographs per guest. We’ve currently got 8 guests announced with more to come, so that works out at just over £2.50 per autograph which these days is very good value. If you went to a Collectormania or Memorablia event individual autographs are upwards of £15 each. All photographs with the guests will be free of charge so you can take as many as you like.
What can you tell us about the guests attending?
For our first event we wanted to get the best guests possible from the heyday of the show in the 70’s and 80’s – the actors everyone remembers. We’ve currently got Lee MacDonald, Melissa Wilks, Erkan Mustafa from the Zammo/Roland era – I can’t wait to hear their stories about visiting the White House and the Just Say No campaign. Terry Sue Patt and Vinny Mann hail from the late 70’s era – I’ve always wanted to know the story behind Vinny Mann’s departure from the show. Paula Ann Bland, Nicholas Pandolfi and Tony McPherson are from the early-mid 80’s period – it’ll be interesting to find out how Tony as a young black actor felt with the very strong storyline of Gripper’s racist bullying. We are also hoping to get a few of the teaching staff along to keep the pupils in order – so keep checking on Facebook and Twitter for latest updates.
If everyone can spread the word to Grange Hill fans across the country please do – the more people that attend, the more guests we will be able to have join us. Selfishly – I’d like to meet all of them!
Here at Grange Hill Gold; we fully support Scott’s plans and are looking forward to the event. For more details check out the website www.grangehillevents.co.uk and keep your eyes on Grange Hill Gold for all the latest developments and coverage.
UPDATE : See our review of the event here.