Always telling everyone what her Gran had to say, grumpy Anita Unsworth was one of the mainstays of her Grange Hill class. Clashing with Suzanne Ross, and commenting pessimistically on every major event, this humourous character was always entertaining. Grange Hill Gold tracked down Anita actress Joanne Boakes to ask her about her time on Grange Hill.
What lead to you going into acting?
I went to dancing school for some extra exercise.
What roles had you played before joining Grange Hill?
I hadn’t actually done any acting before grange hill
Did you audition specifically for the part of Anita, or was it created for you?
I went for the audition unsure of for which part I was actually going for…
Did the character develop along the lines of your own personality?
Yes, my Nan was just the same and when I got annoyed with anybody I would just pretend I was arguing with one of my brothers.
Did you like the character of Anita? Yes, very much. I enjoyed my time at Grange Hill.
The character of Anita was always talking about her gran. What did you imagine her gran to be like?
I always thought she would be much the same as my Nan would be . .
Did you get on well with the cast?
Yes we all got on OK, including the adults.
Did you get much reaction to your character from the public?
I used to get quite a bit of fan-mail, but not a lot lately!
Anita spent most of her time being involved in other people’s storylines, rather than having many of her own, yet she was still a popular character. Would you have liked to have had more storylines of your own?
Who wouldn’t have liked more big storylines? But as a child actor you have to take what you are given at the time.
Did you expect your role in Grange Hill to be remembered 30 years later?
Never in a million years !!!!
What are your favourite memories from your time playing Anita?
Not really one favourite memory, as the whole five years I was there was great fun and really enjoyable.
Not one that I can remember.
Do you have any bad memories of your time there?
No, not at all.
Do you keep in touch with anyone from your time on Grange Hill?
Not until recently – hooked up with a couple of the old gang via Facebook.
The first 4 series of Grange Hill came out on DVD in November, but the BBC has refused to release subsequent series . Are you keen to see more of your episodes released on DVD?
It would be nice, although it’s not planned apparently.
2008 is the 30th Anniversary of Grange Hill and there’s been several rumours of a special celebration and a Grange Hill Film. Will you be involved in anyway?
I would love to if asked, though it hasn’t happened yet!
What have you been doing since you left Grange Hill?
Various jobs. I qualifies as a chef at catering college, although I now work for the Metropolitan Police as a communications officer.
What do you think Anita Unsworth would be doing today?
Probably working in the school somewhere.
How do you look back on your time in the series?
With the fondest of memories.
Thanks to Joanne Boakes.
(c) 2008 Grange Hill Gold