SPORTSMASTER TO HEADMASTER: 15 YEARS OF MR ROBSON
Francesca Martinez: Grange Hill's Comedy Sensation
Grange Hill For Christmas
The Gripper Stebson Years
The Michael Sheard Interview
Laura Sadler: 1980-2003
Sportsmaster to Headmaster: 15 Years of Mr Robson
Flying High with Grange Hill

CLOSE UP SPECIALS
The Curtain Comes Down: the demise of Grange Hill
Grange Hill Reunited
Grange Hill Moves North
Fifteen years is a long time in teaching, with the classroom a completely different place now to what it was in 1988. But one person who's seen it all is Grange Hill's headteacher Peter Robson. He's taught them all from Ziggy Greaves to Leah Stewart. But he was also Grange Hill's longest serving teacher, clocking up 15 years at the famous school. That's four more years than Mrs McClusky!

Hang on a minute - "was" the longest serving teacher? You've guessed it - everyone's favourite headteacher has called it a day after sixteen series. Will Grange Hill ever be the same? So, as Mr Robson leaves on a high, let's look back at his meteoric rise from sportsmaster to headmaster.
Mr Robson in 1988
Mr Robson's first appearance


1988 - SPORT'S NEW BROOM
Mr Robson first arrived at Grange Hill in its tenth series, first shown in 1988. Grange Hill was celebrating its tenth anniversary and he was one of several new additions that year. He was the new head of sport, a vacancy unfilled since the departure of "Bullet" Baxter two years earlier. He was also E4's form tutor. Straight away, Mr Robson gained a reputation as a no-nonsense, firm-but-fair type. He wouldn't stand any larking about from the likes of Trevor Cleaver! But he was anything but the typical, sadistic Sportsmaster which Grange Hill had seen before - Mr Robson believed P.E. wasn't about winning. He wanted sport to be for everyone, not just the champions. And so, he set up lunchtime sports clubs.

Unfortunately, not everyone appreciated Mr Robson's "sport for all" philosophy. Traditionalist Freddie Mainwaring, the school sports captain, believed the school teams would suffer and clashed with Mr Robson throughout the series. "England have got Bobby Robson, we've got Wally Robson!", Freddie told his girlfriend Laura Reagan. But despite numerous childish protests, Mr Robson admired Freddie's resolve and backed down on withdrawing Grange Hill from the district cup.

As the years progressed, Mr Robson soon rose to become deputy head following the departure of Mrs McClusky, a job he got permanently in 1995. But it was the icing on the cake when in 1998, Mr Robson finally became head teacher after 10 years of service at Grange Hill.

WHAT'S IN A NAME?
"A PE teacher named Robson?", you might have thought when he first appeared. Why not - three years earlier there was a music teacher named - McCartney! Not to mention Brian Capron's character, the woodwork teacher Mr HopWOOD. There was certainly a trend in the 1980s for Grange Hill teachers to have names in some way connected with their subjects. Why this is we don't know. However, as Mr Robson moved away from the PE department the significance of his name became less.

PUPILS FIRST
Freddie Mainwaring may not have welcomed Mr Robson's approach to PE, but his "sport for all" ideology said a lot about Mr Robson himself. In an age where teacher find themselves flooded with bureaucracy, Mr Robson always put the pupils first. "I won't lose contact with the kids", he promised Mrs Monroe once promoted to deputy head in 1991. And he kept his promise; acting as personal trainer to athletic ace Mike Bentley and arranging work experience to boost Calley Donnington's confidence. What's more, he still taught PE as late as 1995. And he's always enjoyed a good relationship with his staff; even as headmaster, he remained on first name terms.The more caring side of Mr Robson has emerged in recent series. When Maddie was caught drinking in school in 2002, Mr Robson could have excluded her. Instead he provided a sympathetic ear and after a heart-to-heart, visited Maddie's mum urging her to be around more for her daughter. The following year Mr Robson came to Amy's rescue when the pressure of exams was too much for her.

LOSER IN LOVE...THEN MISS RIGHT COMES ALONG
In many ways Mr Robson is a traditional "old style" Grange Hill character. Like the majority of Grange Hill's teachers he was single for many years. But not for want of trying. A romance with visiting American teacher Martha Jordan in 1994 fell apart and she returned to Texas. The following year, Mr Robson was to meet his future wife. Jayne Carver started teaching at Grange Hill as a probationer in 1995, but it wasn't until 2002 they realised their feelings for each other. After a whirlwind romance, they got married and the couple have just celebrated the birth of their daughter, Clara. Congratulations to them both!

LINKING MANY ERAS
When Mr Robson began teaching at Grange Hill, it was a very different school. With ten years of teaching experience behind him, he was brought in to become the school's new head of PE since Bullet Baxter. Head teacher was the formidable Mrs McClusky, with the fearsome Maurice Bronson her deputy. Little did Peter realise that in the years to follow he'd be doing both jobs!

As form tutor of E4 - later E5, Mr Robson had in his charge such Grange Hill icons as Ziggy Greaves, Calley Donnington, Trevor Cleaver and Danny Kendall. When Danny died in 1989, Peter was a rock to both Miss Booth and Mrs McClusky who were most affected by the rebel's passing. As Mr Bronson and eventually Mrs McClusky moved to pastures new, Mr Robson found himself ascending the career ladder at an astonishing rate. In 1991 he found himself acting deputy head, despite not being the most long-standing staff member of the day. Grange Hill itself was undergoing something of a transition in the late 1980s. Starting with Zammo's heroin addiction in 1986, the show was gradually progressing towards the current format of hard issues. But day-to-day school life would not be ignored - there would still be the crazy scams, unruly pupils and belly laughs which gained the programme its reputation. It was less common in 1988 for teachers to have their own storylines, but soon that would change. Who would have imagined Grange Hill of 15 years ago doing a storyline about the effects of a government inspection on the head teacher?
 
1988 New head of PE, replacing Geoff Baxter. Also E4's form tutor
1992 Acting deputy head after Mrs McClusky's departure
1993 Sixth Form co-ordinator
1995 Deputy Head
1998 Head Teacher
2003 Mr Robson quits - the end of an era
 

THE MAN IN THE HEADMASTER'S OFFICE
Mr Robson also set another precedent. Before his arrival, Grange Hill teachers only to stick around for a few years. But Mr Robson was with the show now for 16 series. What made Stuart Organ, the actor who played him, stick with the show? "Well, I’m pleased to say in the business it’s pretty highly regarded," he said in an interview for Grange Hill.com. "I mean, I wouldn’t stay with it for so long if I didn’t believe in the series. I think it’s a terrific series. And most people I speak to who are actors think the same (they think it’s one of the best children’s dramas, if not the best on TV)". Interestingly, Stuart's parents wouldn't let him watch GH when he was young;and reacted with dismay when they discovered their son landed a part in the series. "Now they won't miss an episode!", Stuart adds.In recent years, Stuart has appeared in several other shows alongside his work for Grange Hill. These include Wycliffe, The Bill, Holby City and London's Burning. His latest role in The Bill was 29 April 2003. Before Grange Hill, Stuart was best known as Brookside's Kevin Cross, son of grumpy pensioner Harry. He now lives in London, though once lived in Liverpool, where Grange Hill is now filmed, based at the Everyman Theatre.

* As well as PE, Mr Robson teaches maths and geography.

* At the end of his stint on Grange Hill he'd been teaching for 25 years (any significance there?)

* A firm believer in sport for all, Mr Robson tried to block the appointment of the competitive Dai Hard Jones in 1997

* The pressure of Grange Hill's Ofsted inspection became too much in 2000, Mr Robson suffered a breakdown and descent into alcoholism. But he's usually cool in a crisis and is known for his sympathetic ear.

* Mr Robson was last seen teaching PE in 1995, dealing with Lucy's bigoted classmates who refused to get in the swimming pool because they thought she had AIDS.

* Until his final year Mr Robson's first priority was the welfare of pupils. But the school fire led him to seek Special Technology status for Grange Hill and, to fund this, he sanctioned the sale of school playing fields.
HOW DID HE GO?
It's certainly an achievement playing Grange Hill's longest serving teacher. But now Stuart has finally cleared out the headmaster's desk, apparently unhappy with recent series. There have been many ideas about Mr Robson's departure - would he become a househusband and look after his new daughter? Or has Malarkey worked his way to the top job?

No. Mr Robson was asked to chair the regional committee for special technology status. Mr Robson will remain an iconic figure of Grange Hill whose presence linked together the show's evolution.