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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 February 2008, 18:30 GMT
Mrs McClusky remembers her school
Mrs McClusky
Mrs McClusky was one of Gwyneth Powell's favourite roles
The BBC has announced children's TV series Grange Hill is ending after 30 years.

One of the programme's most memorable characters was not a pupil but headmistress Mrs McClusky.

Gwyneth Powell joined the programme in 1981 and was the school's figurehead until 1991. Here she remembers her time in charge.

I'm sad obviously and nostalgic, but I think creator Phil Redmond has said it's had its day and maybe it has.

I know it was relocated to Liverpool and set in a technical college, so it really had ceased to be Grange Hill as I knew it. It was of its time and ground-breaking.

But I don't think Grange Hill was just about issues; it was about characters. There was lots of humour in there and I think it was a very entertaining show. Most people watched it for the fun.

At first Mrs McClusky was written as a 'twin set and pearls' role but I was quite young at the time and didn't want to play it like that. We started with the clothes and she was quite fashion conscious and chic.

I was told by lots of people she was a great fillip to young women teachers who started applying for headships. The show had repercussions in all kinds of ways and the character did too. My period did coincide with the Thatcher years. I think Mrs McClusky became memorable because we had a prime minister like that.

The irony is I trained as a teacher but never taught. I went into theatre but I had the teaching practice. Some of the children were very young and they probably saw me as a teacher. I was fond of them and still am. It's nice to see them growing up.

I got on very well with Michael Sheard who played Mr Bronson. We didn't on-screen obviously. It was very sad when he died. He was a very nice man in reality.

Probably the episode I will never forget was the introduction of Roland. He locked himself in the lavatory and had to be got out with stick bombs. Then he joined the cross country run to get back to his mum for more food. It's an absolutely beautiful episode and stands alone as a play.

I'm sure Grange Hill did have social impact because people were talking about it. It was the first series that dealt with real problems in a real way without being patronising. I'm not saying it would change society, but maybe it helped a lot of young people.

'Zammo' talks about Grange Hill

BBC to shut gates on Grange Hill
06 Feb 08 |  Entertainment
In pictures: 30 years of Grange Hill
06 Feb 08 |  In Pictures
Grange Hill favourite Sheard dies
31 Aug 05 |  Entertainment
Grange Hill cast quizzed by pupils
19 Nov 07 |  School Report

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