She was the Grange Hill bad girl whose love-hate relationship with class enemy Tucker Jenkins was must-see TV.
Michelle Anderson, nee Herbert, played Trisha Yates in Grange Hill and spent four years playing the classroom rebel after joining the cast in 1978.
She left professional acting behind aged 16 after making her final appearance in 1982 where Trisha managed to humiliate three teachers in the school revue.
Michelle worked for a major sweet manufacturer but made a brief return as Trisha in 1985 for the final episode of spin-off series Tucker’s Luck.
Trisha was working for the DHSS when Tucker bumped into her.
Trisha accepted a date with the teenager, who was played by Todd Carty, although art was certainly not a mirror reflecting reality during their time in Grange Hill.
There was no chance of off-screen romance after she knocked back Todd when he invited her to go and see Saturday Night Fever at the cinema with him.
They were again reunited in 2018 for a special sketch to celebrate the show’s 40th anniversary, although it’s unlikely she will return for the movie revival in 2023, which is being brought back by the show’s original creator, Sir Phil Redmond.
Nowadays, Michelle helps run her husband Darren’s business, All Glass And Glazing, in Dundee where she has lived for more than 25 years.
Michelle almost missed out on the role in Grange Hill when the owner of the drama club she attended failed to enter her for the auditions.
However, the director decided he didn’t want the children put forward, and chose a group of pupils who had not been selected, including Michelle, who at the age of 11 ended up being the youngest member of the original cast.
The series, which began on February 8 1978, centres on the lives of pupils in a fictional comprehensive school and has featured some tough storylines.
Trisha was a bit of a rebel who got into trouble for flouting school dress regulations but Michelle was very different from her on-screen persona.
In a 2011 interview found in the DC Thomson vaults Michelle said she did not like watching herself on screen in Grange Hill.
“The first time I watched the show it was a screening of the pilot and I thought, ‘I’m never going to watch this again’, ” she said.
They were probably all trying to meet Todd but they ended up turning over tables and rocking the bus we were on.”
“I never smiled in the programme so I look utterly miserable.
“Even to this day I can’t stand watching it because I have such a sour face, which isn’t like me at all.”
She said the actors had a great time filming over the years but were well behaved, unlike the characters they played.
“People are always looking for a kiss-and-tell story but there aren’t any,” she said.
“I certainly wasn’t going behind the bike shed to kiss Tucker.
“We couldn’t get up to mischief because we were always chaperoned.”
It’s probably just as well the BBC kept a close eye on the young actors, as their fame meant children across the country were desperate to meet them.
“One day Todd Carty, who played Tucker, and I were the last to leave the set,” said Michelle.
“A group of kids from a local school found out we were filming and rushed down to the set.
“They were probably all trying to meet Todd but they ended up turning over tables and rocking the bus we were on.
“It was mad.”
Michelle was offered other acting roles when she left Grange Hill after series five in 1982 but decided to leave professional acting for good.
“I used to meet people who would have a hard time accepting I wasn’t actually Trisha,” she said.
“Some people got really upset about it and that was one of the reasons I decided to leave.
“I still wanted to be involved with drama and continued as an amateur actress for a while but I didn’t want to do anything like Grange Hill again.
“I wouldn’t change my life for anything because I love my family but part of me does wish I had kept on acting because it was fun.”
After Tucker’s Luck, Todd went on to enjoy 13 years as EastEnders’ Mark Fowler, before becoming everyone’s favourite evil cop Gabriel Kent in The Bill.
He returned to Grange Hill to play Tucker in 2003, before his last scene – riding off on his motorbike in the final episode – in 2008.
Michelle returned to the limelight in 2015 to raise public awareness of the lesser-known symptoms of breast cancer and urged women to check for dimples.
That was the year that she discovered she had breast cancer while drying her hair on holiday in Rome and had to undergo a mastectomy.
She said: “All the breast cancer campaigns focus on looking for lumps but I didn’t have any.
“All I had was dimpling of the skin — it’s not something you’d notice on a daily basis.
“Even my doctor wasn’t sure there was something wrong just by looking at me.
“I had a mammogram, an ultrasound and a biopsy, and they detected a medium-growth tumour, which was 6mm in size.
“I was shocked, but I had an inkling it was cancer because of my family’s history.”
Michelle’s daughter Chloe and friend Rachel Drummond decided to raise money for Breast Cancer Care, which included a 10k run and a skydive over Errol.
Grange Hill fans helped the family smash their fundraising target following a rallying call from a website dedicated to the much-loved BBC TV series.
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