Interview: Former Grange Hill star Mark Savage to headline 'squeaky clean' play
Mark Savage, best known as Gripper Stebson from Grange Hill, tops the bill in upcoming play Squeaky Clean.
Nicholas Hitchens: You are set to perform in Wimbledon - Explain a bit about how you came to be involved in the project?
Mark Savage: I came to be involved with this project as I admire the work of Colin Burden, the director, and his theatre company, The Bootleg Theatre co. I saw their production of 'Hanging Hanratty' a few years ago in London.
NH: And what attracted you particularly to this role?
MS: I loved the great characterisations depicted in what is a bittersweet family drama. My character, Martin Chambers is made redundant after twenty five years of working in the accounts office for a cardboard box company.
Martin's wife Ruth played by Annie Cooper, joins a phone-sex agency to help make ends meet, and their daughter Charon played by Sydnee Howard, is getting married in three weeks' time. So there is financial pressure on the family, in what should be an idyllic family occasion, i.e. daughter getting married.
Add to the mix the quirkiness of Ruth's son Alfie played by Joe Attwell, whose sole aim in life is to strip the household of things to take to a charity shop to see Rose played by Katrina Dunwell, a shop-assistant he's fallen for, oblivious of the pressures on his parents, and you end up with this oddball mixture of interests and objectives.
Then one of Ruth's phone sex 'clients' just wants to talk, and she is reminded of something that's haunted her from the past.
It is really a play about family's managing and sticking together, which in these tough economic times, is not easy.
NH: Many people may recognise you from Grange Hill - what have you been up to in the intervening years?
MS: Many people do remember the character 'Gripper', you are right. Grange Hill was a major part of a generation's youth, of which I am very proud that my earliest work is remembered and watched over 30 years later.
Since then I have continued to act. Many theatre productions, a cameo in Just Good Friends, Morrisey asked me to play the character of Dagenham Dave in his music video for the single Dagenham Dave on the album Southpaw Grammer. Many independent films.
NH: Why should people come and see the show?
MS: Ultimately I think the play is good fun, and a reflection of contemporary family life, which people will both relate to and enjoy. I'm very much looking forward to working with Colin Burden, and the fantastic cast assembled.
Squeaky Clean, New Wimbledon Theatre, The Broadway, Wimbledon 7.45pm September 3 to 21, £13.20 www.atgtickets.com/shows/the-squeaky-clean/new-wimbledon-studio
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