Jill Halfpenny: I used to wish there was a Geordie Grange Hill – The Guardian

I loved the format and was so taken with the method the visitors would talk to each other. “Famous individuals simply actually get on,” I believed.

Jill Halfpenny in The Drowning. Photograph: Photographer – Bernard Walsh/Unstoppable Film & & Television/ Channel 5/ Photographer – Bernard WalshUnusually for me, as my life has actually been dogged by expectations grossly overshooting truth, Byker Grove was everything I d hoped. From the minute of learning I had the part to getting here on set and shooting my very first scene, I adored it. Whatever lives I had actually thought of the Grange Hill lot living, this was it! I loved having the heavy stories. I enjoyed all the chat and chatter off set. I enjoyed working, generating income and, well, just being a star.
We dealt with stories that kids telly had not touched. We felt like we were part of a show that was “pushing the limitations”. Naturally, remaining in Newcastle was really various from filming in London. London is utilized to cams and actors, and you see well-known individuals on television or the streets a fair bit, and its sort of subtle, but cool. Newcastle in 1989 was bit different. It went more like this if you were thinking people would acknowledge me in the street and be truly pleased and ask for a sign (pre-selfie days).
” Are you that lass off Byker Grove?”
” Yeah.”.
” Its shit.”.
And off I d trot into MK One to invest my hard-earned money.
Byker Grove took on storylines that kids telly hadnt touched.
It was a quite crazy experience to be a fan of kids telly and after that be on it. And then IT took place. Dream truly fulfilled reality. The Grange Hill lot and the Byker Grove gang were to fulfill up and play a charity football game together. “OMG,” I believed, this is going to be incredible. Were all gon na enjoy each other cos thats what popular people do; they just get on. I saw it on Parkinson. Turns out it was a bit awkward. We were teenagers and were trying to be a bit aloof. I cant keep in mind ball game, I was too busy trying to impress a young boy.
Next came the Broom Cupboard with Andi Peters, Going Live! with Schof (Brother Beyond were the big guests, but I was most thrilled about Trev and Simon). Four years later on, and with A-levels looming, it was time for me to leave the Grove. I was so sad to go, however I d got the bug and after my tests I went off to “that there London”.
Seeing telly as a kid was an excellent source of pleasure for me, however being on it was one of the happiest times of my life.
– The Drowning starts on 1 February at 9pm on Channel 5.

Maturing, I loved to watch telly and dreamed of being on it myself one day. I never ever much liked cartoons. I found them a bit dull, but I liked an American sitcom. Diff lease Strokes was a preferred, as were Roseanne, Fresh Prince and, most of all, an odd little show called Small Wonder.
The facility was that an otherwise regular family had a little secret … a girl called Vicki. She was a bit eccentric: charming, but odd. And the secret was that she was a robot. They kept her downstairs in a cabinet at night. It was a principle that strangely entranced me. My mam had an airing cupboard opposite the toilet upstairs. It was narrow and was utilized for drying towels. If I got rid of among the badly glued rods from its location, there was simply enough room for me to enter there and pretend I was Vicki. Due to the fact that no one else played, it was a quite brief game. Basically, I simply got in and out of the cupboard a couple of times and pretended to boot up like a robot, while refining my American lilt.

Growing up, I enjoyed to see telly and dreamed of being on it myself one day. I discovered them a bit dull, however I enjoyed an American comedy. If I eliminated one of the badly glued rods from its place, there was just sufficient room for me to go in there and pretend I was Vicki. I enjoyed having a job, earning money and, well, just being a star.
Were all gon na love each other cos thats what famous individuals do; they simply get on.

They kept her downstairs in a cabinet at night: Small Wonder. Picture: ZUMA Press, Inc./ AlamyJossys Giants and Press Gang were a huge offer for me, however of course the indomitable Grange Hill was up there.
It was revealed that a brand-new show would be made in Newcastle to measure up to Grange Hill– Byker Grove. I d had quite a bit of theatre experience by then, but never in front of an electronic camera.

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