Grange Hill Graduate Gonch Joins Sussex
The tally of Sussex student celebrities has risen with the arrival of John Holmes to study on the Common Professional Examination course in CLS.
John's alter ego, Gonch, was a Grange Hill stalwart from 1984 to 1989. One of the most cherished in the Grange Hill canon of Tucker-style likely lads, Gonch was a wheeler-dealer scam artist whose madcap schemes were always doomed to failure. John's progression through academia may have been looked upon with horror by the entrepreneurial Gonch, though the street nous of his on-screen character could come in handy in the law profession. John is at pains to point out that "Gonch wasn't very trustworthy - I'm much more trustworthy than him". Even so, he admits that the man and the scam were hard to prise apart - "Though I never adopted any of the schemes, there was a bit of a chicken and egg situation going on. I did the programme for so long that I wasn't sure where he finished and I began!"
Unlike Gonch, whose distrust of educational authority was notorious, John has taken well to academia, studying politics and economics at Norwich as an undergraduate before becoming involved in Union politics as a sabbatical officer. Younger students may sadly have missed John's time as Gonch, though as he points out, "they may have seen me on the recent repeats." John played an 11 year old at the age of 14 - which caused some severe continuity blunders when his voice broke mid-term - so he is no stranger to being older than the students he is surrounded by. At 28, though, he stresses that he has "never felt in any way mature."
From behind-the-bike sheds to a calling to the (East Slope) Bar may seem an obscure transition, but John is coping well - "Gonch would probably be an Only Fools and Horses-style market trader by now, but I get to have two careers. As barristers are self employed, you can choose what to do with your time to a certain extent, so I won't rule acting out completely as a future career." We endured Tucker's Luck - will the next big thing be Return of the Gonch?
Friday October 16th 1998