With its catchy theme tune, cast of mischievous pupils and gritty storylines, Grange Hill, set in a fictitious comprehensive school in London, provided the backdrop to a generation of childhoods.
First broadcast in 1978 and regularly attracting audiences of up to 12 million during its 30-year run, the show’s cast became household names.
Among the characters that featured over the years were Tucker Jenkins, played by Todd Carty, Zammo McGuire, Roland Browning and Suzanna Ross.
Todd Carty, 57, who played hit character Tucker Jenkins. remains one of the show’s most famous alumni having remained on TV screens since the first series aired in 1978 – most memorably as Eastenders’ Mark Fowler.
Today, some will be reminiscing on Radio 4’s The Reunion – so what happened after they left Grange Hill?
Grange Hill was first broadcast in 1978, going on to run for three decades. (Pictured: the programme’s opening credits)
Todd Carty – Tucker Jenkins
Todd’s character was so popular that he got his own spin-off show, Tucker’s Luck.
He then starred as Mark Fowler in EastEnders from 1990 to 2003, with a groundbreaking storyline when his character was diagnosed with HIV.
But after his departure from the square, he played away from type portraying the villainous PC Gabriel Kent in The Bill.
Plotting a deranged revenge plot on the mother who gave him away involving incest and raping a colleague, psychopathic Gabriel became a serial killer and eventually committed suicide.
As well as continuing to act on stage and screen, he’s also delved into producing and directing and made a memorable appearance on Dancing On Ice in 2009 because of his lack of flair.
As well as starring in panto, he appeared on Celebrity Masterchef in 2014 and in 2015, the actor and his eldest son James filmed a documentary, Dangerous Adventures For Boys, for Channel 5 based on the book by Conn and Hal Iggulden.
Carty and his eldest son, James, filmed together in a factual television series for Channel 5, Dangerous Adventures For Boys, based on the book written by Conn and Hal Iggulden
Most recently, he appeared in the film Silver Birches in 2017 about an author struggling to rebuild his life after the untimely death of his wife.
Todd has been with his childhood sweetheart Dina Clarkin since 1990, and they have two sons James and Thomas.
Todd Carty playing Tucker Jenkins – the character was so popular he got his own spin-off show, Tucker’s Luck
Todd Carty played Tucker Jenkins, before going on to appear in a range of other television shows
He played Mark Fowler for 13 years, pictured at Wendy Richards’ funeral, who played his on-screen mother Pauline Fowler
Paula-Ann Bland – Claire Scott
With her Lady Diana hair-flick, Paula-Ann played the daughter of over-protective parents.
She also enjoyed a romance with Stewpot, before discovering he was seeing Annette Firman behind her back.
Because of her success on the small screen record company bosses eyed Paula-Ann as a potential British Kylie and she even released a cover version of The Locomotion.
She left the series in 1985 and continued to act, appearing in TV series such as Spender and Only Fools and Horses.
In 1988, she caused a stir by posing topless for men’s magazine Mayfair, aged 18.
‘For a little time I regretted it, but I don’t now,’ she says. ‘That was the thing at the time.’
During the ’90s she turned her back on acting and opened shoe shops called Paola in Knightsbridge and Chelsea before starting her own PR company.
The mother-of-two was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2019. ‘I’m just starting to feel normal again,’ she says.
She’s a mother-of-two and is also an ambassador for the Good Grief Trust.
Then and now: actress, entrepreneur and PR boss Paula-Ann Bland played edgy Claire Scott in the hit show, who had a crush on teacher Mr Hopwood (left). She’s a mother-of-two and is also an ambassador for the Good Grief Trust (right)
Erkan Mustafa – Roland ‘Roly’ Browning
Erkan played a sweet, shy character with a love of crisps who suffered terrible bullying.
He played the role for six years and became an iconic character in the series, suffering horrific bullying at the hands of Gripper Stebson.
By the time he left Grange Hill six years later, Roland was able to stand up for himself and had developed a talent for foreign languages.
After leaving the drama, Erkan, who is now married with a son, appeared in Chef! with Lenny Henry, and in Blackadder.
He then set up a home-catering business but continues to write and direct.
He still teams up with Lee ‘Zammo’ MacDonald for public appearances and charity events.
Erkan was also instrumental in bringing the cast back together for a 2009 reunion at Sound nightclub in London’s Leicester Square.
Now 50, he continues to act, write and direct according to his Twitter profile.
Speaking in an interview with blog GrangeHillGold, he explained he looks back on his memories of the series and remembers ‘great fun’.
He explained: ‘It made me the person I am today. It gave me some good memories and some bad memories. I never really wanted to be an actor and doing Grange Hill, that made for 10 or 15 years of my life, think I was going to be an actor.
‘Now I know I get more pleasure from writing than acting. But it was all good really. I’ve come out with great experiences.
‘I’ve done things that other people have never done in their life, but most of all, I’ve come out with some good friends. ‘
Erkan Mustafa played Roland ‘Roly’ Browning
Erkan Mustafa found fame in the Eighties as Roland ‘Roly’ Browning who was bullied for being obese (left) Now 50, he continues to act, write and direct according to his Twitter profile (right) Speaking in an interview with blog GrangeHillGold , he explained he looks back on his memories of the series and remembers ‘great fun’
Lee MacDonald – Zammo McGuire
Lee MacDonald, 52, was the star of one of Grange Hill’s most hard-hitting storylines when his character Zammo became addicted to heroin.
As a result, he became involved in a number of anti-drugs campaigns encouraging youngsters to ‘Just Say No’.
After Zammo’s shocking death from an overdose in 1987, Lee hoped to become a professional boxer, but his hopes were dashed by injuries in a road accident.
Lee has made several TV appearances since leaving Grange Hill, including an episode of The Bill in which his love interest was played by Melissa Wilkes – who also played his girlfriend Jackie Wright in Grange Hill.
However Lee had previously claimed that playing drug addict Zammo in Grange Hill ‘ruined his career’.
He claims that he struggled to find any work afterwards as potential employers didn’t want to be associated with drug use.
He was working as a locksmith, until his agent told him to concentrate on getting his acting career back.
In April 2019, it was announced that he would appear in the BBC soap opera EastEnders as Terry.
He remains in the public eye appearing as himself on shows such as Celebrity Scissorhands and Celebrity Pointless. He also runs a locksmith business in Wallington, Surrey.
Lee got engaged to his long-time love Jess in March 2020.
He took to social media to reveal he had popped the question and gave a nod to his famous former on-screen character Zammo.
Sharing a picture of the happy couple, Lee wrote: My partner Jess ‘JUST SAID YES’! Wedding next’ alongside a red heart emoji.
Lee MacDonald played Zammo McGuire
Lee as Zammo in Grange Hill
Lee MacDonald as Zammo who was the star of one of the series’ most hard-hitting storylines when he became addicted to heroin (left) Now 52, he runs a locksmith business and continues to appear on TV as himself on shows such as Celebrity Pointless (right)
Susan Tully – Suzanne Ross
Susan Tully starred as rebellious school girl Suzanne Ross in Grange Hill from 1980 to 1984, and was the daughter of Mrs Ross.
At the age of 17 she was cast as teenager Michelle Fowler in Eastenders, playing the role of a 16-year-old single mother after becoming pregnant with 39-year-old adulterer ‘Dirty’ Den Watts.
Susan rose to fame in EastEnders as Michelle, joining the hit BBC One soap in 1985 and leaving 10 years later in 1995.
Susan rejected various offers to return to Eastenders as Michelle, and in 2016 gave the show her blessing to recast her character.
Since her EastEnders exit, Susan has paved a successful career in directing with the likes of The Bill, Silent Witness, Lark Rise to Candleford and Secret Diary of a Call Girl on her résumé.
The actress even returned to her former home of EastEnders briefly in 1989 to 1999 to direct 12 episodes.
After getting her first taste of directing on EastEnders in the 90s, she went on to direct and produce episodes of Tin Star, The A Word, Britannia, Musketeers and Silent Witness, and more recently Line of Duty.
Talented director Tully was praised for the nail-biting final episodes of Line of Duty.
Taking to Twitter after the show aired, show watchers shared their shock after discovering the show had been directed by the Michelle Fowler star.
One person said: ‘I’ve only just realised that Sue Tully (Michelle Fowler) directs #LineOfDuty She should win an award! @BBC.’
Susan Tully played Suzanne Ross in Grange Hill from 1980 to 1984, and was the daughter of Mrs Ross
Susan Tully starred as rebellious school girl Suzanne Ross (seen on the show in 1982) in Grange Hill from 1980 to 1984, and was the daughter of Mrs Ross. After getting her first taste of directing on EastEnders in the 90s, she went on to direct and produce episodes of Tin Star, The A Word, Britannia, Musketeers and Silent Witness, and more recently Line of Duty (right)
At the age of 17 she was cast as teenager Michelle Fowler in Eastenders, playing the role of a 16-year-old single mother after becoming pregnant with 39-year-old adulterer ‘Dirty’ Den Watts (seen on the show in 1995), a role which she stayed in from 1985 to 1995
Mark Savage – Norman ‘Gripper’ Stebson
Mark Savage’s character Norman ‘Gripper’ Stebson was one of the most recognisable from the show.
However, this caused some problems for the actor.
Having played Grange Hill’s scariest thug, who was eventually expelled for bullying black pupils, Mark said his life was made ‘hell’ by the show’s fans, who even attacked him in the street.
‘It was open season on Gripper,’ he says.
Mark has continued to act in theatre and film.
Mark Savage played Norman ‘Gripper’ Stebson
Gwyneth Powell – Bridget McCluskey
While actor Gwyneth Powell has appeared in numerous television programmes, including Casualty and Doctors, it is her role in Grange Hill for which she is still best known.
She played Grange Hill’s head teacher Bridget McCluskey for 11 seasons of the show, between 1981 and 1991.
Since then, her acting credits include classic British television programmes including Peak Practice, Heartbeat, and Holby City.
More than 30 years on from playing Grange Hill’s head teacher – she left in 1991 – Gwyneth remains in touch with many of her ‘pupils’, as she calls them.
Now aged 76 and married to actor Alan Leith, she appeared in BBC1’s Not Going Out earlier this year, playing a juror.
Gwyneth Powell played Bridget McCluskey
Sean Maguire – ‘Tegs’ Ratcliffe
Sean joined Grange Hill in 1988 at the age of 11, rising to fame thanks to his role as ‘Tegs’ Ratcliffe.
He subsequently played apprentice footballer Aidan Brosnan on EastEnders.
The episode in which his character, Aidan, who had turned to drug abuse, tried to take his own life, was watched by a massive 23 million viewers.
Sean later moved to Hollywood, appearing in the sitcom Eve, and played Robin Hood in the series Once Upon A Time.
He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and three children, and runs an acting school.
Sean Maguire played ‘Tegs’ Ratcliffe
John Holmes – Luke ‘Gonch’ Gardner
Luke ‘Gonch’ Gardener stepped into the shoes of Pogo Patterson as Grange Hill’s ‘ginger entrepreneur’, joining the cast in 1985.
Always full of money making schemes, Gonch was a wheeler dealer who ran a toast bar, a dating agency, a homework service and a PE kit lending scheme all from the classroom.
In 1989, during Gonch’s last series, he fell in love with Mandy Freemont.
Actor John Holmes left the show to complete his education and studied at the University of East Anglia, where he eventually became president of the Student Union for several years.
John gave up acting after Grange Hill and is now an English teacher in Warsaw.
John Holmes (middle) played Luke ‘Gonch’ Gardner
George Christopher – Ziggy Greaves
Popular Scouser Ziggy Greaves arrived at Grange Hill in 1986 and spent four years on the show, with his character compared to original scamp Tucker in the first series.
He went on to appear in Brookside as Little Jimmy Corkhill.
‘I guess I was typecast from Grange Hill a bit,’ he says.
George has also appeared in numerous theatre productions, including some he’s written himself.
He reunited with some of his Grange Hill class mates for Channel 4’s Bring Back Grange Hill and also works for a taxi firm.
The 51-year-old is now a support worker at a psychiatric hospital in Liverpool.
George Christopher played Ziggy Greaves
Popular Scouser Ziggy Greaves arrived at Grange Hill in 1986 and spent four years on the show, with his character compared to original scamp Tucker in the first series (left) He reunited with some of his Grange Hill class mates for Channel 4’s Bring Back Grange Hill and also works for a taxi firm (right)
Michelle Herbert – Trisha Yates
Michelle played bad girl Trisha Yates in the school drama from 1978 to 1982 but after leaving Grange Hill, Michelle gave up acting and worked for a major sweet manufacturer.
She made a brief return as Trisha in the final episode of Tucker’s Luck, a Grange Hill spin-off based on Todd Carty’s character Tucker.
Michelle moved to Dundee in the early 1990s to bring up her family, where she works alongside her husband running their family glazing business.
She noticed a small dimple on her breast while on holiday in Rome in May.
She was diagnosed with breast cancer and following a mastectomy was given the all-clear.
Michelle is now trying to raise awareness of the lesser-known symptoms of breast cancer and is urging women to check their breasts for dimples.
Michelle Herbert played Trisha Yates
Michelle played bad girl Trisha Yates in the school drama from 1978 to 1982 but after leaving Grange Hill, Michelle gave up acting and worked for a major sweet manufacturer (left and right)
The Reunion is on Radio 4 today at 11.15am.