GET THE CLASSIC 'CHICKEN MAN' BY ALAN HAWKSHAW HERE
WORLD'S BEST ever kids' school drama, set in the eponymous somewhere-in-London comprehensive. The Glorious Tucker and Benny Years ('77-'81) and the "Ro-Land"/Kendall/Zammo Era ('82-8) are by far the best things creator PHIL REDMOND has ever put his name to. The spark, alas, died with rebel-with-cause Danny Kendall, but the show still limps emptily on for new generations. Below, we present a pupil and teacher roll-call scooping up a fair portion of the best of these two periods.
STEVEN 'BANKSIE' BANKS
ALSO-RAN clean cut kid most famous for growing hopeless bumfluff 'tache upon graduation to all-new sixth form, inviting condemnation from Bronson and ridicule from Baxter and fellow pupils alike.
HAPLESS, perpetually-sick/injured kid with lank hair and morose disposition. Played by ROBERT CRAIG-MORGAN. Fell off the roof of a shed, got nosebleeds. etc. Wretched, really.
Keep your Grippers, Doyles, Davies and McCall (you don't get a look in, boy) the official Grange Hill Bogey Man for all time was the mad, bad, zitty Welsh lad who terrorised the corridors of Grange Hill with pure, indiscriminate violence. In the latter years we would be invited to inspect a somewhat simplistic composite of nature and nurture that resulted in, say, Imelda Davies shoving wads of fibre-glass down people's back. In Booga's day all we had to know was this: He's a Nut-Job! Best Booga Memory: In order for the school disco to go ahead, Bridget insisted that the pupils grassed on the perpetrator of some typically mindless piece of vandalism or theft (can't remember the exact details). Tucker, in the show-must-go-on spirit, eventually stepped forward and fingered Booga for it. Booga's retribution was terrible, leading to scenes of Booga and his gang whooping like them boys in The Lord of The Flies as they charged through the corridors hunting the fleeing Jenkins. The end result? Tucker got a bloody good kicking ... end of episode.
LOOSE-LIPPED, weedy athlete who joined the show in the sixth form and immediately became the lucky lust target for Georgina Hayes, who famously told Helen Kelly that he was still a virgin, forcing the less liberal fraternity in Tunbridge Wells to assault the typewriter in disgust. Ended up winning loads of medals at some event despite a piss-up the night before and an archetypal "pushy dad", who was never seen out of a tracksuit. Played by RENE ZAGGER, now pounding ver beat as PC Nick Klein in The Bill.
Does she really? Was the "other one" out of poor-as-you-like lunchtime rap outfit Fresh 'n' Fly, with Michelle "Hattie" Gayle's Fiona. Romantically linked with Gonch for a while.
ERKAN MUSTAFA'S roly-poly pathologically quiet figure of fun went from young, bullied, chocolate-wrapper-hoarding son of MIKE SAVAGE off EUREKA! through broody, antisocial stooge to Gripper Stebson and unwilling 'boyfriend' of Janet St. Clair to jumpered sixth-form cookery expert with scarcely an ounce shed. Got lost when orienteering with Bullet Baxter. Nearly always had his hand in a packet of KP Cheese 'n' Onion. Rounded character, ho ho.
UGLY FAT GINGE with volcanic complexion and surly disposition often, bizarrely, in league with Imelda Davies. Penchant for export lager which caused him to fall asleep on yet another school trip abroad and float out to sea on a tyre. Vince Savage was his hopeless one-man 'gang'.
TOMBOYISH punkette psychopath of the mid-'80s, very much 'her own girl' and hater of Ziggy Greaves (a vendetta which led to her own expulsion in a pitched water bomb battle gone wrong). Her gang, "The Terror Hawks" (cheers, 1985!) went head-to-head with TREVOR CLEAVER. And blinked. Georgina Hayes was the only other notable member of Les Ts.
STANDARD GH blonde played by SIMONE HYAMS, most famous in real life for thinking Michael Winner "worth the candle", so to speak.
ALL-ROUND bully and git, the only force malevolent enough to unite Tucker and Trisha (albeit briefly). Put the hard-fought-for lunchtime common room into jeopardy after his money making scheme (yep, another one) of stealing light bulbs from the school and selling them to the local stereotypical Jewish hardware store was rumbled. The anti-Tucker with his foppish fringe and dinner-money extortion rackets was the original Gripper Stebson. OK, never quite as feared as Gripper and if you see the old episodes again he's frankly a disappointment pretty much due to his soprano voice. Still there must have been something about him, because for many under 12's he personified that terrible evil that awaited you when you moved to the high school. Had two sidekicks called 'Macker' and 'Robo'. His dad was on the local council (there were strong hints that he was a Tory of the Enoch Powell tradition) so he was a privileged, spoiled bully as opposed to Gripper, who was a deprived, under-privileged one. Played by VINCENT HALL.
ASSOCIATE of Fay Lucas. Always getting into scrapes and berating Fay for being 'Goody Two Shoes'. Played by NADIA CHAMBERS.
THIRD member of the Jonah/Zammo gang, Played by TERRY KINSELLA. A goofy, nay Walrus-faced, kid with a speech impediment whose only role is to be a pain in the arse and piss people off. His sub-Wildean dialogue includes: Dinner Lady: "You've made me lose my temper." (Flynn looks behind counter) Dinner Lady: " 'Ere what yer doin'?" Flynn: "I'm lookin for your temper." Hilarious.
THE BILKO of GH. Money-making schemes 'were' him, from bingo in the boiler room to 'clean your PE kit for 50p' to selling 'buttered toast'. Bugged the staff room and caught Stebson nicking stuff. Inevitably went 'too far' and was undone by his greed and semi-comprehending shortarse associate 'Hollo' Holloway. Played by the familiarly-named JOHN HOLMES.
ATTRACTIVE best mate of Laura Regan who was the kind of mature, "well-developed", hair-flicking stay-out-late girlfriend many young male viewers wished they had.
A SCOUSER, and so always held in low esteem by the bulk of the none-more-cockernee Hillites. Passions - football! Of course! And, er, 'mischief-making'. Seen here with long-time compadre Robbie, indulging in some good clean we're-gonna-be-in-trouble-before-25-minutes- are-up fun. Overcame arch rival Imelda Davies, but eventually pissed off anyway. Played by GEORGE CHRISTOPHER.
PLAYED by TERRY SUE PATT who, like Ant Jones, started off in CFF Films. Member, of course, of Tuckers' gang. Overcame racism and 'his dad's unemployed!' prejudice to play for the district footie team. "Go on, then. Go ahead and hit me. But it won't make me wrong, will it?"
TRISHA'S best mate and hockey companion, played by LINDY BRILL. Had troubled relationship with mum, dad and 'real dad', which inevitably led to her getting caught doing a bit of 'cry for help' shoplifting... of a record of 'Amazing Grace' of all things. Fancied the much-fancied 'Hoppy' Hopwood, and followed him around the corridors. Until he told her to 'go away'.
INITIALLY girlfriend of short-stay budget Tucker ANT JONES and member of IMELDA DAVIES' daft "Terror Hawks" gang. Latterly as lovetorn 'across the barricades' case after Ant was relocated to St. Josephs. Ended up going out with Ziggy.
PARTHER IN CRIME of Gonch, of course, usually coming off the worst in their many money-making schemes (ie. doing most of the work, taking most of the blame when it went pear-shaped), unless there were some hapless second-formers to rope into the proceedings. Effortlessly baited T Cleaver with the 'haunted boiler room' bit. Left two years before Gonch, who was never quite the same after. "Push off, Cleaver!" Played by BRADLEY SHEPPARD.
THIRD member of the Jenkins gang. Burly chess-playing lummox played by GEORGE ARMSTRONG and also to be seen hanging about with Billy MacArthur. Dramatically floored by 'Hoppy' Hopwood after he discovered him having a crafty Woodbine in class.
ILL-STARRED cousin of Jonah's, dared by him to jump in the pool after a swimming lesson to get Fay Lucas' bangle (thrown in by Zammo) for a rather weak 'dare'. Went in, never came out alive, despite the best "Don't... die... (thump)" efforts of have-a-go hero Baxter, who later got a bollocking (as did the episdoe itself from irate viewers) for leaving the kids unattended in the pool.
TODD CARTY'S original 'rapscallion' will always be synonymous with The 'Hill. From his original incarnation as a tiny, bowl-cutted brat, mouthing off to Baxter and getting one over on nemesis Trisha Yates, to senior leather biker, lording it benevolently over all the school, including Gripper. Head of the original 'gang of four' (cf Alan Humphries, Benny Green, Tommy Watson), who were forever pleading with the Man to 'leave it aaaht'. Nickname derived, somewhat predictably, from lunchtime tuckshop fondness. The downbeat TUCKER'S LUCK and a job at a filling station followed.
COOL, mulleted, slightly dull semi-rebel, most famously seen in CFF masterpiece POP PIRATES. A favourite of 'Pip' Schofield, suspiciously. Ended up transferring to rival school St. Joseph's after one Bronson run-in too many. Played by RICKY SIMMONDS.
EARLY mate of Zammo. Got gloomy monicker after Jeremy Irvine incident. Famously stole a couple of Rodney Bennett uniforms with Zammo and passed themselves off as RB pupils for a day, until Bullet turned up to borrow some PE equipment... Played by LEE SPARKS, who went on to appear in rubbish ITV schools musical drama BEHIND THE BIKE SHEDS.
FAMED, a la JUSTIN BENNETT, for taking a plunge from the roof of a local shopping centre, during an increasingly life-threatening series of chicken games. Cue limp body on ground, shocked face of mate, silent end credits. Prior to that, all he did was fall asleep in class because his dad was working him too hard in the shop.
SPIKEY, whiney-voiced 'lib girl' who formed part of Imelda's "Terror Hawks" (do you see?) gang and later blatantly told Bronson that she hadn't done her French homework because she "was watching Clint Eastwood". Later accused Bronson of chauvinism when he told her she should forget her ambitions to be an engineer and go for secretarial training instead, proving him wrong by completing a successful work placement at some factory, enduring the not unexpected sexist jibes from the workforce in the process. Also went through a series of crap 'dares' with Georgina, which resulted in her having a tattoo of a spider put on her arm. Played by RUTH CARRAWAY.
MISUNDERSTOOD artistic genius, mural-daubing man-with-a-mission, instigator of the Speaking Wall and Radio GH, and redesigner of the GH badge into a rubbishy purple graphic which coincided with the series buckling under and going crap. A loner, ever moaning at McCluskey to get him a graphic design work placement and "keep Bronson off my back!", the sickly boy finally copped it, poetically, in the back of Bronson's car after stealing it, leading to the infamous silent hounding of Maurice in the playground the next week.Played by JONATHAN LAMBETH.
MUCH-FANCIED 'romantic lead' material (ie. her character wasn't too thrilling, to be honest), Fay's main schtick was gymnastics, leading to many 'you shouldn't be neglecting your studies' discussions and bitchy "Urgh! She's got all muscles!" comments from fellow girls. Played by ALISON BETTLES, seen here Just Saying No in the dreadful 'pumping iron/roller disco' video for that rather misguided spin off 'message' single. Hung about with BELINDA ZOWKOWSKI and ANNETTE FIRMAN.
OLDER brother of Chrissy. Clearly fancied himself, having had a brief thing with Julia Glover before going for the older Julie Merchant. In the barge trip which took place when Zammo/Roland et al were in their last year, Fred took his entire designer wardrobe with him, got all his clothes ripped or muddied, and ended up wearing an Arran sweater and looking a prize pillock. Ended up going out with Laura Regan after Julie left school, and Julia was removed elsewhere by her disapproving father (see below). Also older brother of Chrissy.
SECOND-DIVISION 'hard', menaced Gonch, but not that much. American football fetish. Rubbish Gridiron Gang (cue endless running about the playground in shoulder pads and helmet like a prize mid-'80s pillock) included 'Spit' (not the dog, alas).
ANOTHER money-making schemer (what was it with The 'Hill and proto-capitalists?), at his peak during the year GH had their sponsored walk. I believe he opened a book on the results of the walk and, for some reason, backed Roland to win it. Of course, it didn't work out like that. McClaren out-Pogo'd Pogo and out Gonch'd-Gonch for being the funniest, and wiliest GH money-maker. His sidekick was that chap who later went onto to play "gay" Barry in EastEnders.
FAT GIRL perennially teased by Pongo Yates and driven to anorexia (well, only eating one sausage at teatime for a bit).
THE SHAUN RYDER of GH, turned from second-form mini-rogue and associate of 'Jonah' Jones and ill-fated Jeremy Irvine to one-boy rock 'n' roll casualty within the space of one season. In short, he chased the dragon and got a smack in the nose. Overcame the evil poppy against the odds, mind, thanks to patient teachers and a dreary-looking dry-out clinic. Catchphrase: "It's not cut glass, it's smooth. Dead posh, though! Fifty quid?" Played by LEE MACDONALD.
FELLOW PUPIL of Tucker et al. Token black girl, and as such had few memorable 'escapades', alas. Actress went on to appear in lacklustre drama Call Me Mister. See also Glenroy, token Rastafarian of smashed open day exhibit and massive sound system for hire at school disco fame.
SAPPY kid with a crush on Miss Lexington ("can I carry your bags, miss?"), but not of Clair Scott/Hopwood proportions.
FATTO ginger kid with nickname of unknown origin, prone to tuckshop "raids" and proto-Gonch moneymaking schemes designed to feed said "urge", including short-lived Rice Krispy cake racket. Actually tried that "exam answers on chewing gum wrappers" gambit. And was, inevitably, caught at it. Played by PETER MORAN, who even wrote an autobiography and called it, rather bitterly, 'Pogo-Stuck' (geddit?)
FOXY Asian sixth-former who annoyed her pal Georgina by getting a modelling assignment for a magazine while Georgina was turned down, only to be denied her big chance by her stereotypically mollycoddling parents, who deemed the opportunity unsuitable for their culture. Dated Robbie Wright for a while, who chivalrously broke the ice by introducing himself to her parents rather than let them find out surreptitiously that she was seeing (gasp) a white boy. Played by VEENA TULSIANI.
CLEARLY SUSAN TULLY, of course. Hated school uniforms, loved 'Scruffy' McGuffy, and helmed the anarcho-synicalist Student Action Group to save the latter and scrap the former (Uniform's a drag, so says the SAG!"). After leaving, spent a bit of time dressing up like Mrs. Robert Smith (left) and strutting round the GH corridors waiting to be 'done' by McCluskey, whereupon she would inform her that she weren't at this school no more, and so could wear what she liked, so ner.
"LET ME help you, Rol-aaand!" Yep, the hapless Roly's would-be girl, played by SIMONE NYLANDER and not Michelle Gayle, who was in it much later, as Fiona part of awful sub-Cookie Crew outfit Fresh 'n' Fly (cf RONNIE BIRTLES).
SLACK JAWED, buzzcutted and thick, thick, THICK stooge to Trevor Cleaver. Believed the mottled one had eerie supernatural powers with little encouragement. Came into his own during misguided Harriet the donkey saga.
'SWEET' girl with a serious crush for Mr. Hopwood, leading to fictitious diary entries which portrayed her school girl sex-fantasies with 'Hoppy' as though they were real. Of course, in Grange Hill, everyone's diaries are regularly read by their mums ("darling, I was just worried about you - and you haven't been speaking to me lately") which in this case led to Mr Scott storming red-faced around Grange Hill looking to twat him who'd dunnit to his daughter. Pogo's response when encountering Mr Scott rampaging: "Get Bullet!" Played by PAULA ANN BLAND.
VIOLENT, racist junior thug who, despite having ROLAND BROWNING in his 'gang' (along with Danny Rees, etc.) ruled GH with an iron fist until finally kicked out with help from tough-but-fair Bullet Baxter. Last seen harrassing Zammo and pals at the GH junior fun-run on his butcher's delivery bike. How the mighty, etc... Supported Chelsea. Was a wizard at Space Invaders. Played by MARK SAVAGE.
CHRISTOPHER 'STEWPOT' STEWART
WISECRACKING best mate of Duane Orpington, who blanked him and then punched him after both went after Claire Scott and Stewpot won. Comeuppance was due, and Duane was delighted when McCluskey suspended the young lovebirds after they were caught snogging in the book cupboard. MARK BURDIS was yer man, who now frequents two piss-poor police shows; Operation Good Guys and The Bill. He is completely bald.
ANOTHER early 'Hill bad girl a la Trisha. Dared nice-but-troubled Cathy Hargreaves to do a bit of tealeafing down the local Woolies. Nasty.
THE fourth member of Tucker's original gang, and possibly the least memorable, apart from the infamous incident when he was smuggled onto a school coach via the emergency exit for a camping trip to France. With, of course, disastrous consequences.
THE FIFTH-FORM bride! Aka the prospective 'Mrs. Zammo McGuire', aka (really) MELISSA WILKES, of OUR SHOW "Grand Pricks" infamy. Worried a lot, mostly about Zammo, but also about mysterious rival suitor "Loop Wind". As well she might, quite frankly.
ZIGGY'S co-conspirator, as Hollo was to Gonch or Benny to Tucker. Outstayed the Zig, and got mixed up in football hooliganism before leaving. Li'l bruv of Jacki (above). Played by JOHN "I've been stitched up!" ALFORD.
ARCH-RIVAL to Tucker (who called her 'Pongo', for easily-guessable reasons) and violent hockey-bitch. Played by MICHELLE HIBBERT with a Lorraine Chase voice. Scruffy and sarky, but (yes) 'a good girl at heart'.
ASSOCIATE of Fay Lucas, and quite possibly the wettest character ever to appear on Grange Hill. The episode in which her clarinet is stolen is undoubtedly the least compelling in the show's history. Played by PAULA TARAS.
ARCHETYPAL 'tough but fair' PE teacher played by MICHAEL CRONIN. Was the perennial downfall of Tucker, Doyle and co., and had it in for Gripper and his fellow, even-more-of-a-bastard PE teacher Mr. Hicks ("Slip on the wet floor, did you?"). Combined use of violence with diplomatic hardness. Didn't manage to save Jeremy Irvine however, or complete an orienteering course with Roland.
Art teacher, accused by Julia Glover's father, who was head of governors, of moonlighting when she sold some of her pottery at a craft fair.
ARCHETYPAL 'tough but a bastard' fruity-vowelled French teacher (Latin was his first subject, but when he switched from posh Rodney Bennett to oikey GH he had to 'downgrade' as it were) played by the ace MICHAEL SHEARD. Was the perennial downfall of everyone, and hounded Danny Kendall to extremes, until Dan exitted in Bronco's car, after which his status was greatly diminished. Zammo-assisted swimming pool dunking of long-suspected wig didn't help matters, either. "You, boy!" was the bellowed phrase in corridors up and down the building.
BLUFF, brown-coated elderly caretaker, forever fixing something in the corridor when a herd of kids blundered through, cocking it all up. Ever on the alert for things being nicked. And, as the stories got dafter, 'the ghost of Grange Hill' in the boiler room. Silliness culminated in the ridiculous hiding of a doomed donkey in a PE equipment shed with Cleaver, Savage and Imelda. Played by GEORGE "A" COOPER.
TECHNOLOGY teacher. Corduroy jacket wearing good bloke, a proto-Mr Robson. Most famous for being the object of first Cathy Hargreaves', then Claire Scott's infatuation. Played by proto-Neil Pearson BRIAN "FULL HOUSE" CAPRON.
AMIABLE, half-caste good bloke who treated the kids as adults while having to deal with Mr Scott constantly seeking advice on his Cleaver trouble. Was particularly prone to making sacrifices in order to teach the kids something - he shaved off his moustache in a pact to make Banksie remove his crap bumfluff, and later raced the same pupil around the school a few times in some sort of fitness challenge but, ever the sportsman, he was about to win when he grabbed Banksie and pulled him over the line to force a draw. He also tried, alongside Miss Booth, to give up smoking in order to force Danny Kendall to kick the habit. Why was Kendall seemingly the only kid to smoke at that school?
THE object of Duane Orpington's teenagerish lust, 'Sexy Lexy' taught Computer Studies. Thought to be really having a bit of a thing with Mr Hopwood. But so was Miss Mooney, among others...
'THE MIDGET' MCCLUSKEY
ARCHETYPAL 'tough but fair' headmistress of diminutive stature who ruled the GH roost for most of our chosen Cream period. Was to the left of psychos like Bronson, but to the right of wildcards such as Scruffy. Tried her best with Kendall. Regularly heard in her office - "I'm not as harsh as you children seem to think...", or "This is a school, not a borstal. Ties and blazers must be worn at all times. Am I making myself clear, Suzanne?" Yes, Miss.
ARCHETYPAL renegade tutor of Open Universityesque 'unkempt' appearance, forever up against McCluskey for his 'progressive' teaching methods. Supported pupil endeavours such as the Student Action Group, flexitime, speaking wall, and perennial school magazine which was forever getting him into trouble for a) subversive conent and b) wearing out the photocopier. Was sacked for this, then reinstated after the SAG protested to McCluskey.
JOLLY Scottish craft teacher (always in a grey woodwork-master jacket) who had a permanent grin and a willing ear. Probably the only teacher in the whole of GH's history who never had a grudge held against him by any pupil, therefore dull.
MUMSY English mistress, wooed 'Sooty' Sutcliffe for ages only to unceremoniously dump him when he finally made his move on a trip to Chessington Zoo (the same one where Roland shut himself in the cafeteria eating sausages all day).
History teacher. Had secret child called Simon. Mini-scandal as she wasn't married.
GIRLS' PE teacher played by CHERYL BRANKER, adept at dealing with period anxieties, wannabe gymnastic champions (Fay Lucas) and hockey thugs (Trisha Yates). Shouted abuse at obligatory gang of boys trying to see into the girls' changing rooms twice per series, on average.
PE TUTOR and mother of GH pupil Laura. Duties as per Miss Peterson.
WIMPY and socially-unskilled biology teacher who was constantly tormented by Cleaver and Imelda and kept running to Kennedy for advice. Finally snapped when Cleaver told him to "go tell your boyfriend Kennedy!" after another round of pisstaking, and only a last-ditch plea from Ronnie Birtles stopped him (alas) from smacking the fat ginger tosser deservedly in the face, following a brilliant slow stroll towards Cleaver's desk, with the boy's appeals for peer help ("stop him someone!") falling on deaf ears. Later got a small semblance of retribution by dissecting a heart in front of the class, forcing Cleaver to lose face in front of the others by copiously throwing up.
GITTISH, moustachioed pre-Bronson wanker, despised just as much as the syrupped French teacher would later be, but not feared. Spanned three main eras of Gripper/Zammo/Gonch, and best remembered for giving a patronising lecture in something or other as the camera focussed on the words 'SMART ARSE' which Clare Scott had written in her exercise book, cue the odd complaint. Also identified the voice of Gripper Stebson as the thief after Gonch had bugged McCluskey's study.
HANDSOME, well-mannered (ie. rather poofy to the viewing child) English teacher, involved in brief romance with Miss Mooney. Lasted a fair part of the 'Hill course, too - he was around for ages. Shite at teaching - just hid behind the desk all lesson, allocated parts from Shakespeare to the thick kids then took the piss out of them when they couldn't read it properly. Played by JAMES WYNN.
THE caretaker who preceded old Donkey Griffiths. Exactly the same as Griffiths. Same traits and everything.
Classic 'Hill japes the old-fashioned way - the precarious chair tower, and (for some reason) a low-budget We Are The Champions! recreation.