Prison, casinos, death and So Solid Crew – what became of the Grange Hill kids

Grange Hill will go in history as one of the most groundbreaking children's TV shows of all time, having run for 30 years.

The show tackled serious issues like racism and drug use, reaching out to teens up and down the country facing similar struggles.

First airing in 1978, the BBC series featured characters including Zammo Maguire – who descended into heroin addiction – and his mate Roland Browning, as well as popular Caroline "Calley" Donnington.

The network felt it had run its course in 2008, cancelling the landmark series for good, but it will forever hold a special place in the hearts of millions of Brits.

But where are the stars of Grange Hill today? It's fair to say life hasn't been a walk in the park for all of them…

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Robbie Wright (John Alford)

Robbie Wright was a central character on Grange Hill from 1985 to 1991, famous for his romance with Calley Donnington and friendship with Ziggy Greaves.

After leaving Grange Hill in the 90s, he went on to star in the hit ITV series about the lives of fire brigade officers, London's Burning.

The actor also had relative success in the music industry, with three Top 30 hits on the UK singles chart in 1996.

In 1999, Alford's career was left in ruins when he was convicted of supplying cocaine to undercover News of the World journalist Mazher Mahmood.

Speaking about the conviction, the actor told Panorama: "No one can give me the 18 years I’ve lost, no one can give me that back."

Last year, Alford pleaded guilty to two counts of resisting an officer in London's Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court and was given a 12-month community order.

Zammo Maguire(Lee MacDonald)

Zammo's battle with heroin addiction was one of the most moving storylines on Grange Hill, running for several years before his character's exit in 1987.

In a 2015 interview with Radio Times about his Grange Hill history, he said: "The worst years, when you’re growing up, are probably 14 to 18 when you’re shy and it’s all a bit awkward. But because of Grange Hill, that was all different.

"I remember going to a museum with my school, and getting chased by all the girls from a girls’ school. "

He added: "When you’re 14 or 15, being chased by girls… well, let’s just say I’d love it to happen now."

Following his departure from the show, MacDonald earned a few small roles in Birds of a Feather and The Bill.

Just last year, he starred opposite Danny Dyer's Mick Carter on EastEnders, playing a foul-humoured bus driver in a one-off guest appearance.

Acting aside, however, Lee spends most of his time working in his key-cutting business in Surrey.

Luke "Gonch" Gardener (John Holmes)

Moneymaker Luke 'Gonch' Gardener was famous for his savvy schemes on the show, as he used his maths skills to earn himself some extra pocket money.

First appearing in 1985, some of his most notable business ventures included a toast bar, a dating agency, a homework service and a PE Kit lending scheme.

In his final season on the show, Gonch fell in love with brunette beauty Mandy Freemont, played by Melanie Hiscock.

Actor John Holmes left Grange Hill in 1989 to pursue an education, heading to study at the University Of East Anglia.

Leaving acting completely behind him, he spent several years as president of the Student Union in the Brit university.

Today, Holmes seems to have taken inspiration from his role as moneymaker Gonch, and runs his own casino.

Caroline "Calley" Donnington (Simone Hyams)

Caroline "Calley" Donnington was known for her wacky obsession with horoscopes and her brief shoplifting habit.

However, actress Simone Hyams felt she had little in common with Calley, telling the 1986 Grange Hill annual: "I only ever believe my horoscope if it says I'm going to have a good day."

Hyams played the teenager from 1985 to 1991, before going on to star in shows like Baywatch and The Bill.

The former child star also appeared in Michael Winner's 1993 flick Dirty Weekend, which was banned from video release for two years due to its violent and sexual content.

In the film, she played the unnamed character of the "Party Girl".

Hyams went on to land a gig as a corporate events manager for Richard Branson's Virgin Group, before deciding to turn away from the spotlight completely.

Suzanne Ross (Susan Tully)

Suzanne Ross is remembered as one of the most beloved characters on the show, as played by actress Susan Tully.

Written out in 1984, Suzanne's character left a legacy, as she told The Guardian: "The series was controversial from the get-go: parents wouldn’t watch it, teachers were up in arms, but it was an enormous hit and my peers would never miss it.

"For its day, it was groundbreaking: we did a story about racism, with Gripper Stebson, a bully who becomes a right-wing skinhead."

After her Grange Hill exit, Susan went on to star as Walford favourite Michelle Fowler in EastEnders for a decade.

In the late 90s she made the switch into directing, deciding to get behind the camera on major British TV shows.

To this day, she is the woman behind major shows like BBC One's The Musketeers and Sky Atlantic's Britannia.

Andy (Ashley Walters)

Ashley Walters cut his teeth playing Andy on Grange Hill from the age of 14, appearing in just 12 episodes of the show.

Speaking about his breakout fame with Complex, he said: "I'd always been quite popular, locally or whatever, but just having people that you don’t know, knowing you, was a weird experience at first.

"But being a kid having that sort of success was really cool. I was getting paid for it! I could buy new phones, new trainers, stuff like that."

Music buffs will know Walters best as but a member of the music group So Solid Crew, who shot to the top of the charts in 2001 with their hit single 21 seconds.

The actor-turned-singer was arrested and jailed for 18 months in 2002, after he was found carrying a loaded gun.

Walters' acting career picked up again in the years that followed when he landed a major role on Brit drama Top Boy.

Benny Green (Terry Sue-Patt)

The first character to appear onscreen and best pal to Tucker Jenkins, Benny was one of the most beloved fixtures on Grange Hill.

Played by Terry Sue-Patt, Tucker was a central character on the series from 1978 to 1982.

Several years after leaving the cast of Grange Hill, Sue-Platt starred the 1989 film The Firm, along with Gary Oldman and Phil Davis.

He later nabbed smaller roles in shows including Desmonds, General Hospital and Jackanory.

Heartbreakingly, Sue-Platt was found dead in his London flat in October 2015, aged 50, reportedly following a battle with alcoholism.

Discussing his death, Sue-Platt's co-star Lee Macdonald told The Guardian: "I was devastated. Absolutely gutted. I looked at the tributes and I just sat there crying."

Tucker Jenkins (Todd Carty)

Played by Todd Carty, Tucker was the lead fixture on the series for seven years, even landing his own spin-off show in 1983 – Tucker's Luck.

Central to the show, Tucker was famous for his schoolyard pranks with best pals Alan Humphries (George Armstrong) and Benny Green (Terry Sue-Patt).

Carty returned to the role in bit parts in 2003, and then again in 2008, playing a grown-up version of his original character.

The former child star then went on to play Mark Fowler on EastEnders from 1990 until 2003.

He later landed a regular gig on The Bill's cast as the evil Gabriel Kent, before pursuing gigs with travelling theatre companies and on shows like Celebrity Masterchef.

On top of that, he is responsible for one of the most spectacular falls in Dancing on Ice history.

Roland Browning (Erkan Mustafa)

Roland Browning was a legendary character on the show, tackling sensitive issues like bullying from 1982 until 1987.

Speaking about the role, Erkan Mustafa told Grange Hill Gold: "I was just a normal child attending school.

"The national press were advertising the fact that they couldn’t find a fat child at stage school to appear in Grange Hill. A teacher put me up for the role and said “Go on. You can do it."

Over social media, Mustafa explained: "I came out of acting to do music which did not work out as it was meant to."

After leaving the BBC One series, he made special appearances on shows like Soccer AM and Celebrity Juice.

Mustafa also appeared alongside former co-star Lee Macdonald – who played Zammo – as a guest presenter on E4.

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