Grange Hill

2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Television

Grange Hill
Genre Children's television series
Created by Phil Redmond
Starring See cast below
Country of origin Flag of United Kingdom United Kingdom
No. of episodes 579 and 2 Christmas specials (March 2007)
Camera setup Multiple camera (1978-1998); Single camera (1999-)
Running time 25 minutes
Original channel BBC
Original run 1978 – Present
Official website
IMDb profile summary

Grange Hill is a British children's television drama series which is shown on BBC One. The latest series was first shown on the CBBC Channel. The show began in 1978 and is one of the longest running on British television. It was created by Phil Redmond, who was also responsible for the Channel 4 dramas Brookside and Hollyoaks; other notable production team members down the years have included producer Colin Cant and script editor Anthony Minghella.

The drama is centred on the fictional comprehensive school of Grange Hill in the (equally fictitious) borough of north London called "Northam" (although when filming moved to Liverpool in 2003, it ceased to have any specific location), and follows the lives of the children as they progress through school. For its first 25 years it was produced in-house by the BBC, but the show is now made independently for the corporation by Lime Pictures, the production house formerly owned by Redmond (and formerly known as Mersey Television) which is the reason for the production move.

The programme has covered many controversial storylines ranging from students throwing benches into the swimming pool ( 1978; as a result of which, following letters of complaint from teachers and parents, the episode was withdrawn from the repeat season), to rape ( 2001), heroin addiction, and attempted suicide ( 2005), prompting many complaints from viewers. Grange Hill broke new ground by the inclusion of a gay teacher, Mr Brisley, who was in the cast from 1992 to 1999.

Grange Hill's golden period was undoubtedly the middle to late 1980s. This period attained the highest ratings in the shows history and one of the most popular storylines was of fans' favourite Zammo and his addiction to heroin. This storyline ran for two seasons (1986-87) and focused on Zammo's descent into drugs and his strained relationship with his girlfriend Jackie and friend Kevin.

The show's other favourite characters during the golden period were Gonch and Hollo played by John Holmes and Bradley Sheppard. Gonch was the Bilko of Grange Hill and during his time at Grange Hill (1985-89) partook in many money making schemes. Most of the time these schemes were unsuccessful. There was a comedic element to the duo's relationship that worked well and contributed to the success of the programme.

Some fans of Grange Hill during this period feel the 1990s marked a steep decline in the quality of the programme - believing producers failed to adequately replace established characters from the 1980s who had left the show. Similarly, the show was accused of pandering to political correctness in 1994 with the introduction of two disabled characters, Denny ( Lisa Hammond) who suffered from dwarfism and cerebral palsy sufferer Rachel Burns ( Francesca Martinez). Both characters were presented as "one of the gang" and hated any special treatment because of their circumstances.

Interest in Grange Hill renewed in the late 1990s and the series celebrated its 20th anniversary with the introduction of sinister Scottish bully Sean Pearce ( Iain Robertson), who carried a knife and slashed the face of a female classmate. By 2001 the series was almost entirely issue-led and the decision to tackle the subject of rape upset some parents. But when Phil Redmond took over production of Grange Hill in 2003, his plan was to get the show back to its roots and the issues were toned down as Redmond skewed the show towards a younger audience.

The show spawned a successful spin-off called Tucker's Luck ( 1983– 1985), and launched the acting career of Todd Carty. Also, the 1986 cast released "Grange Hill: The Album", with two singles: " Just Say No" (tying in with a character's heroin addiction) and "You Know the Teacher (Smash Head)". A film based on the series will be released in 2007. The 2007 series began on the CBBC Channel on 16 January.

In 2005, Justin Lee Collins reunited some of the cast members from the 1980s in the documentary Bring Back Grange Hill.


  • The series caused controversy from the start, showing a more gritty, true-to-life portayal of school life than the rather cosy school dramas that had gone before it. Even so, creator Phil Redmond has said that it wasn't until series 3 or 4 that he was really able to start pushing the boundaries and doing things that he wanted to.
  • Script Editor Anthony Minghella, who worked on the series for several years during the 1980s, later won an Academy Award for Best Director for the film The English Patient in 1996.
  • Former cast member Laura Sadler died after falling off a building in June 2003; four years prior her Grange Hill character was killed after slipping and falling out of the window of a burning storeroom in the school.
  • The theme used for the first 12 years of Grange Hill — "Chicken Man" by Alan Hawkshaw — was a library piece composed one hour before it was recorded during a session in Munich, Germany. Grange Hill was the first programme to use it as a theme followed by the popular quiz show Give Us a Clue, whose makers wanted it despite it already being played on Grange Hill. The version used by Give Us A Clue was a special arrangement that was significantly different to that used by Grange Hill.
  • The current theme, introduced in 1990, was specially written by Peter Moss.
  • There have been many head teachers of Grange Hill over the years: Mr Starling (1978), Mr Llewelyn (1979–1980), Mrs McClusky (1981–84 and 1986–91), Mr Humphries (1985), Mrs Keele (1992–1994), Mr McNab (1995–1997, never seen), Mr Robson (1998–2003) and Mrs Bassinger (2003–present; unseen during 2007).
  • The show is currently partly filmed in St Hilda's C of E High School in Liverpool. The 'front' of the school is actually part of the Mersey TV studios in Childwall. On the other side of the building was used to the The Parade in Brookside. This has now been turned into the exterior of the Student Union bar in Hollyoaks
  • In 2005, the character Holly Parsons was wrongly heralded as Grange Hill's first deaf character. While it is true that the actress who plays her, Rebecca-Anne Withey, is the series' first deaf cast member, Grange Hill first featured a deaf character, Eric Wallace, in 1985.



Character Actor/Actress Duration
Peter "Tucker" Jenkins Todd Carty 1978-1982, 2003
Trisha Yates Michelle Herbert 1978-1982
Alan Humphries George Armstrong 1978-1982
Benny Green Terry Sue Patt 1978-1982
Justin Bennett Robert Craig-Morgan 1978-1982
Cathy Hargreaves Lindy Brill 1979-1982
Douglas "Pogo" Patterson Peter Moran 1980-1984
Duane Orpington Mark Baxter 1980-1984
Pamela Cartwright Rene Alperstein 1981-1982
Suzanne Ross Susan Tully 1981-1984
Christopher "Stewpot" Stewart Mark Burdis 1981-1985 (Christmas Special)
Norman "Gripper" Stebson Mark Savage 1981-1985 (Christmas Special)
Claire Scott Paula Ann Bland 1981-1985 (Christmas Special)
Samuel "Zammo" Maguire Lee MacDonald 1982-1987
Gordon "Jonah" Jones Lee Sparke 1982-1983
Roland Browning Erkan Mustafa 1982-1987
Fay Lucas Alison Bettles 1982-1987
Jackie Wright Melissa Wilks 1984-1987
Luke "Gonch" Gardener John Holmes (sometimes credited as John McMahon) 1985-1989
Paul "Hollo" Holloway Bradley Sheppard 1985-1987
Robert "Robbie" Wright John Alford 1985-1990
Trevor Cleaver John Drummond 1985-1991
Veronica "Ronnie" Birtles Tina Mahon 1985-1991
Caroline "Calley" Donnington Simone Hyams 1985-1991
Eric "Ziggy" Greaves George Christopher 1986-1989
Georgina Hayes Samantha Lewis 1986-1991
Laura Reagan Fiona Lee-Fraser (also credited as Fiona Mogridge) 1986-1988
Terence "Tegs" Ratcliffe Sean Maguire 1988-1991
Matthew Pearson Paul Adams (later credited as Paul Parris) 1988-1992
Justine Dean Rachel Victoria Roberts 1988-1994
Christine "Chrissy" Mainwaring Sonya Kearns 1988-1992
Natalie Stevens Julie Buckfield 1990-1993
Richard Desmond Askew 1991-1994
Nick Gareth Phillips 1991-1993
Ray Haynes Kelly George 1991-1993, 1997-2002
Mick Daniels Joseph Kpobie 1992-1993
Natasha Stevens Clare Buckfield 1992-1993
James "Arnie" Arnold Aidan J. David 1994-2001
Colin Brown Colin Ridgewell 1994-2001
Wayne Sutcliffe Peter Morton 1995-2001
Kelly Bradshaw Kate Bell 1995-2001
Alec Jones Thomas Carey 1996-2000
Chris Longworth Ben Freeman 1996-1998
Joanna Day Fiona Wade 1996-1998
Judi Jeffreys Laura Sadler 1997-1999
Sean Pearce Iain Robertson 1998
(Ian) Hudson John Hudson (later known as John Joseph) 1998-2004
Spencer Hargreaves Colin White 1999-2005
Darren Clarke Adam Sopp 1999-2002
Becky Radcliffe Emma Pierson 1999
Martin Miller Matthew Buckley 2001-2007
Kathy McIlroy Sammy O'Grady 2001-2007
Maddie Gilks Kacey Barnfield 2001-2006
Leah Stewart Jessica Staveley-Taylor 2001-2003
Patrick "Togger" Johnson Chris Perry-Metcalf 2003-
Tanya Young Kirsten Cassidy 2003-
Annie Wainwright Lauren Bunney 2003-2005
Barry "Baz" Wainwright Thomas Hudson 2003-2007
Nick Edwards Tom Graham 2003-2004
Timothy "Tigger" Johnson Jack McMullen 2004 (final episode)-
Taylor Mitchell Reece Noi 2004-2006
Ed Booth Alex Sheldon 2005-
Alex Pickering Josh Brown 2005-
Chloe Moore Mia Smith 2005-
Sammy Lee Holly Mai (also known as Holly Mann) 2005-
Alison Simmons Georgia May Foote 2005-
Dawn O'Malley Hollie-Jay Bowes 2005-2006
Bryn Williams Joseph Slack 2007-
Lucy Johnson Daisy McCormick 2007-


Character Actor/Actress Duration
Mr Tony Mitchell Michael Percival 1978-1979
Mr Geoff "Bullet" Baxter Michael Cronin 1979-1986
Mr Llewelyn Sean Arnold 1979
Mr Graham "Sooty" Sutcliffe James Wynn 1979-1982
Mr Stuart "Hoppy" Hopwood Brian Capron 1980-1983
Mrs Bridget McClusky (headmistress) Gwyneth Powell 1981-1991
Mr Maurice Bronson Michael Sheard 1985-1989
Mr Eric Griffiths (caretaker) George A. Cooper 1985 (Christmas Special)-1992
Mr Peter Robson Stuart Organ 1988-2003
Mr Geoff (Jeff?) Hankin Lee Cornes 1990-2002
Mrs Kate Monroe Anna Quayle 1990-1994
Mr Tom Brisley Adam Ray 1992-1999
Miss Jayne Carver Sally Geoghegan 1995-2002
Mrs Margaret Holmes Rachel Bell 1997-2002
Mrs Bassinger (headmistress) Jacqueline Boatswain 2003-2006
Mr Chris Malachay Edward Baker-Duly 2003-2006
Mr Wally Scott (caretaker) Simon O'Brien 2003-2006
Miss Gayle Cathy Tyson 2007
  • Since 2003, there has been a reluctance to give teachers first names or to expand their roles in the show beyond actually teaching or keeping pupils in line.

See also: List of Grange Hill cast members


  • Tucker's Luck


During the 1980s, when Grange Hill merchandising was at its height and the series arguably at its most popular, a number of annuals and novels were published.

Eight annuals were published from 1981 to 1988.

Comic strip adventures appeared in the short-lived BEEB magazine, which portrayed new stories, and the longer running Fast Forward, magazine which loosely followed the early 90's series. Additional comic strips occurred in School Fun and in the Radio Times. Grange Hill had its own dedicated magazine, but this only lasted two issues, although there was a holiday special too.

There were 14 short story books and novels, some of which were written or co-written by series creator Phil Redmond, but which also involved authors such as Robert Leeson and Jan Needle. Below is a full list of Grange Hill short story books and novels:

1. Grange Hill Stories, by Phil Redmond. First published by the BBC in 1979. Short stories.

2. Grange Hill Rules O.K.?, by Robert Leeson. Published by Fontana Lions in 1980. The first Grange Hill novel.

3. Grange Hill Goes Wild, by Robert Leeson. Published by Fontana Lions in 1980. Novel

4. Grange Hill for Sale by Robert Leeson. Published by Fontana Lions in 1981. Novel

5. Tucker and Co., by Phil Redmond. Published by Fontana Lions in 1982. Novel

6. Grange Hill Home and Away by Robert Leeson. Published by Fontana Lions in 1982. Novel

7. Great Days at Grange Hill, by Jan Needle. Published by Fontana Lions in 1984. Short stories that form a sort of prequel to Grange Hill Stories.

8. Grange Hill After Hours, by Phil Redmond. Published by Magnet in 1986. Novel

9. Grange Hill Graffiti, by Phil Redmond. Published by Magnet in 1986. Novel

10. Grange Hill On the Run, by Phil Redmond. Published by Magnet in 1986. Novel

11. Grange Hill Heroes, by Phil Redmond and David Angus. Published by Magnet in 1987. Novel

12. Grange Hill Rebels, by Phil Redmond and David Angus. Published by Magnet in 1987. Novel

13. Grange Hill Partners, by Phil Redmond and David Angus. Published by Magnet in 1988. Novel

14. Ziggy’s Working Holiday, by Phil Redmond and Margaret Simpson. Published by Magnet in 1988. Novel

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