Back to School - Press Gang

Press Gang

As the children of the world start to drip back into their education after the longest summer break in history, we at /G-f delve into our school related film favourites. For Back to School weekend Steve Taylor-Bryant checks in to see what happened at The Junior Gazette...

Whether or not you are a fan, Steven Moffat is one of social media’s biggest and hottest topics. I have received hideous abuse and threats on my family in the past for daring to have an opinion about the writer so picking a Moffat vehicle for another article was always going to put me on dodgy ground. However, mindless fools in the minority darkness of anonymity on the web will never stop me having an opinion and many of Moffat's shows are either cult or will be cult TV, none more so than a children's television show that gripped adults as well and has stayed in the affections of fans for about two decades: Press Gang.

The show started on ITV as a children’s and teenager’s comedy drama set in the newspaper office of the local comprehensive school, think Grange Hill with reporters and you wouldn’t be far off. Whilst the characters were watchable for all ages, it dealt with some very important subject matter and Moffat and his team took on solvent abuse, gun control and relationships amongst many other storylines and the youth of the cast managed to drill the message home to an expectant audience.

As with most shows some stars went on to bigger and better things, some fell by wayside, so my job in this weekends Back to School is to ask the question Where are they now?

Julia Sawalha - Lynda Day

Julia went on and made many costume/period dramas, the likes of Martin Chuzzlewit, Lark Rise to Candleford and Pride and Predjudice showed her acting abilities but is the more comedic roles I enjoyed. Carla Borrelo in Jonathan Creek, the Australian barmaid in Al Murray's Time Gentleman Please (bred for bar work - Sorry Aussie readers) were both great but playing the straight guy/girl, Saffron, to the enigmatic comedy duo of Jennifer Saunders as Eddie and Joanna Lumley as Patsy in Absolutely Fabulous was possibly a career highlight.

Dexter Fletcher - James 'Spike' Thompson

American delinquent Spike was my first experience of Dexter Fletcher and it wasn’t until he played the knife obsessed Soap in Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels that I even realised he was English. Dexter has a knack of appearing in small parts in some great shows and films including Hotel Babylon, Band of Brothers, Doom, Kick-Ass, and Rev, but nowadays is making quite a name for himself with his directorial duties on the likes of Wild Bill, Sunshine on Leith, and Provenance.

Lee Ross - Kenny Phillips

The long suffering Deputy Editor (We have one named Minion) was portrayed by Lee Ross who has a face everyone recognises but no one ever knows where from. Lee was part of Catherine Tate's comedy show, played The Boatswain in the Doctor Who episode The Curse Of The Black Spot, has been in Eastenders, Robin Hood, Life on Mars, and Waking The Dead.

Paul Reynolds - Colin Mathews

Thatcherite finance department head Colin was always up to mischief and one of my favourite characters on the show. Paul went on to star in another favourite of mine - Trevor's World of Sport, as well as the historic role of Chris Craig, the young shooter of a policeman that led to Derek Bentley becoming the last man to be executed in the United Kingdom, alongside Christopher Eccleston in the Bentley role.

Other modern stars that appeared across the 43 episode run are...

Lucy Benjamin (Eastenders)

Gabrielle Anwar. (Burn Notice)

Charlie Creed-Miles (Wild Bill)

Rosie Marcel (Holby City)

Image - IMDb.
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