From Grange Hill to GB News: Can you spot the child star who now works at The People's Channel?

Grange Hill marks its 46th anniversary today

Grange Hill marks its 46th anniversary today

GB News Reporter

By GB News Reporter

Published: 08/02/2024

- 19:52

Updated: 08/02/2024

- 19:58

Grange Hill went on to become one of the biggest hits on British television after its launch

Believe it or not, today is the 46th anniversary of that chilly day in 1978 when the likes of Tucker, Trisha, Alan, and Benny first arrived at their new secondary school, Grange Hill.

Tucker flicked an elastic band at Trisha in assembly, starting a rivalry that was to endure throughout their time there.

Football-mad Benny was wearing jeans and trainers because his single mum couldn’t afford the uniform.

Nostalgic photos on the BBC’s social media today betray its nervousness then, when it commissioned just nine episodes of Grange Hill from a 28-year-old unknown Liverpudlian writer called Phil Redmond.

The child star featured only in the first season of Grange Hill

The child star featured only in the first season of Grange Hill


In those days of just three channels on TV, the grittiest offerings for young viewers were Crackerjack, Magpie, and Blue Peter.

Some critics argued there was no way children would come home from school only to tune into a series about … another school.

Grange Hill was a risk, and controversial from Day 1.

Parents and morals campaigners were appalled, complaining that the programme undermined teachers’ authority and encouraged bad behaviour in pupils.


But children adored it for its honest take on the real issues they faced, from bullying and truancy to racism and drugs.

Grange Hill went on to become one of the biggest hits in British television.

The series lasted an incredible 30 years, kickstarting the careers of generations of actors in EastEnders, Hollyoaks, The Bill, and beyond.

The original cast has been marred by tragedy. Actor George Armstrong, who played Tucker’s sidekick Alan, died aged 60 last year from leukaemia, and actor Terry Sue Patt, who played Benny, died in 2015.

Michelle Herbert, who was Trisha Yates, quit showbusiness and runs a glazing business in Dundee with her husband.

But her close friend in that first series, Ann Wilson, played by Lucinda Duckett, has ended up closer to home – she’s the Corporate Affairs Director here at GB News.

Lucinda appeared throughout the first series as a ‘good’ character who tended to save the day.

“When Benny couldn’t afford football boots, I lent him my hockey boots, and when Trisha played truant, I visited her home to check on her, but didn’t tell her mum I was worried,” Lucinda explained today.

“I stood for election to the school council and won by campaigning for a tuck shop, and when an acting prop from the school play was stolen, I suggested the thief could return it anonymously.

“I suppose I was a bit of a goody-goody, though a reasonably popular one.”

Lucinda Duckett now works for GB News

Lucinda Duckett now works for GB News

GB News

Lucinda left Grange Hill after the first series when her parents moved to Malaysia for her father’s job. “The BBC wanted to film during the summer holidays because it meant they didn’t have to provide tutors for us, but I needed to see my mum and dad,” she said.

After school, Lucinda became a journalist, later moving into corporate communications. She joined GB News in early 2021, before its launch.

“GB News has attracted controversy at times just like Grange Hill did, so perhaps my early years in television prepared me a little for life here!” she said.

“Grange Hill was popular because it appealed to the real experiences of its viewers, and GB News is similar in that respect.

“Ultimately, it’s the audience who decides what should be on television, not the critics.”

She added: “Yesterday GB News beat BBC News for an incredible eight hours, so history sometimes repeats itself.”

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