LAURA SADLER: YOUR TRIBUTES
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
When news broke of Laura's accident GH Online readers were keen to show their support for her. By the end of the week these messages became ones of sympathy. Laura's death prompted a mass outpouring of grief nationally; many people could not understand how such a young life could end suddenly. Here are the messages you left on Can You Help? during June and the period leading up to her funeral.

 

Malcolm Neale: "I have to say I was disgusted at the way the press intruded into poor Laura's funeral last week. Some of the glossy magazines have treated it in the same way they would a film premiere; it is so sad." Many people have criticised the press for their coverage of Laura's accident and subsequent death, so it's clear you think this tragedy has brought out the worst in the papers. Sadly it won't be the last time they intrude on the funeral of someone in the public eye. If you have been upset by press coverage of Laura, write to or e-mail the editor of the relevant publication.10/7/03

 

Michael: "I have just been reading more letters etc on Laura on the site, what a star she was, what John Hudson summices Laura straight up from impressions I thought/got of her, very easy, very modest, a tribute alone to her albeit the fact I never saw her interviewed but that shown through In the demanding role of Judi and later Sandy to show that she was the girl from next door. Moving on, one part of the press I feel that deserves precognition for doing right by Laura Is NOW magazine - a good write up with no slating what do you think?" Laura and Peter Morton (Wayne) appeared on GMTV in 1998, when Grange Hill was celebrating its 20th anniversary. They were joined by various Grange Hill favourites including Michael Sheard and Jonathan Lambeth. Aside from that, Laura didn't make any other appearances but neither have so many other GH actors. 04/7/03

 

Chris writes: "I was deeply saddened to hear about the death of Laura Sadler - she wasn't in Grange Hill for long but in the two and a bit years she was there her acting was always first class. I am not a great fan of Holby City or medical dramas in general but in the few episodes I watched she always stood out. She seemed to excel in GH and HC at playing the "believable, down-to-earth" type of character and although she was an attractive girl, you get the feeling that unlike many actors and actresses these days she was cast on talent alone and not looks, the way it should be. She would have had a long an successful acting career ahead of her, I think, If it were not for the recent tradgedy. It seems everyone who knew her and worked with her speaks so highly of her and that is touching to see." 03/7/03

 

As Laura's funeral approaches, Andy Gregson writes: "The whole story has been very sad and I keep seeing pictures of Laura in newspapers and magazines. It has been a tragic development and I think it has affected a lot of people in ways they would not maybe expected. It goes to show how much affection and admiration existed for Laura. I only hope she knew just how much she was liked and the regard many people clearly had for her. It has been touching and commendable to see John Hudson come forward and publicly say what it is clear many people have been thinking. I hope Laura's family have been able to gain some positive from a very negative and very demanding situation. Laura will be remembered for a very long time and that alone is a tribute to her achievements professionally and personally. Laura will be truly missed. Her funeral will be difficult enough for her family and I would hazard a guess that the press will already be planning to intrude on a very personal day. I will be surprised if they don't act in the usual ghoulish way." Hi Andy. Laura's funeral is a private family occasion but the chances of press intrusion are indeed high. If any journalists are reading this, PLEASE KEEP AWAY. The outpouring of grief for Laura remains phenomenal and there are still fresh tributes arriving at www.candlesforlaura.org.uk. But Laura herself would probably have been amazed by how well-liked she was; perhaps it was this modesty which endeared her so to fans. 01/7/03

 

Joanne Mobey: "God bless you Laura you will always be young and beautiful with love Joanne m xx" 29/6/03

 

John Hudson joins in the condemnation of the press: "Cheers for posting the tribute. It's been really hard especially with it splashed across the press. You just want to collar them and scram she was a human being. It's so hard losing a friend but its worse when it's a public talking point you know?" Well last week it was the tabloids; this week the glossy mags are doing their worst. One has Laura on the cover and four pages devoted to her; another is less speculative. Again, all done for circulation - as you say John, Laura was a person and your friend. 26/6/03

 

Jason: "I used to watch Grange Hill years ago, but don't watch it now. I never saw Laura in Grange Hill but have seen all her screened performances in Holby City. I just can't believe that Laura has gone - it doesn't seem real. She was a beautiful person and talented actress - I noticed her sparkle when she first appeared in Holby City. She had so much to give, and had her whole life ahead of her. People shouldn't blame George (Calil) for the accident. I have every sympathy with Laura, her family, boyfriend, friends and colleagues - they have my best wishes and I continue to pray for them daily."26/6/03

 

Eric Johnson, a former Grange Hill extra, would like to meet up with fellow actors to remember Laura: "You may remember from writing to you a while back about gossip from behind the scene of GH when I was an extra there. would just like to post a message on the noticeboard about Laura: I first met Laura when I was an extra in Grange Hill in 1997. I can remember her professionalism and dedication to her work. The most ironic thing of all, is that I first met her when she was filming the scene where she fell out of a burning window. I can remember saying to her how much I cried when we did her memorial service in the school hall, when I was stood next to Peter Morton (Wayne). I remember her saying how impressed she was with my acting skills of how believable it all looked. However, fate has a way of repeating itself, but this time, it happened for real. Unfortunately, I don't think she made it to the end of filming party at Grange Hill for me to say bye properly, because I would have loved to keep in contact with her. I would be good to hear from anyone who was in Grange Hill when I was there (1997 - 98) so we could all maybe one day meet up and remember Laura." Hi Eric; thanks for sharing your memories. Sorry you were not able to say goodbye to Laura, but I'm sure plenty of people would like to attend your memorial gathering. It's a lovely idea and GH Online will help any way we can. 25/6/03

* If you worked with Eric on Grange Hill and you'd like to meet up to celebrate Laura's life please contact him via GH Online.

 

Tuesday's Holby City on BBC1 was the first of eight episodes Laura completed before her death. Andy Gregson writes: "I was watching the same show and it was indeed quite difficult to watch and take in. I am always affected by things like that and it was quite sad to think that such a promising career was cut short." Indeed. As Sandy Harper, Laura provided some light relief in Holby, normally full of torrid affairs and professional tension. Seeing her in action makes it harder to take in what has happened. But it was only right for BBC1 to broadcast a pre-programme announcement and dedicate the show to Laura's memory. 25/6/03

 

Vicky Browne: "I'm so sorry about what happened to Laura. She was great in Grange Hill. I am continuing to watch it and visit the website." 25/6/03

 

Prince Mohammed: "I don't believe it, its hard to take in, such a young, beautiful and successful actress, who's life was taken away so early, in the debut of her life when she was beginning to be recognised, and how coincidental that an art that she performed on TV not a few years ago has become a reality for her, this just so shocking, please let us all come together to remember her and pray for her family. Please, I ask everyone, to ignore these childish Tabloids (News of the World, The Sun etc.) They are not there to "inform" us of what's happening in the world, but to destroy and make people like Laura and her boyfriend look bad, so please ignore these Tabloids, if not to even boycott them. " UPDATED 25/ 6/03

 

GH Online's Andy Gregson is amazed by everyone's support: "You have been receiving some amazing responses to the Laura situation. It is great to see she had so much support and so many fans - I just hope she knew how well liked she was. It is interesting to see that John Hudson was reading the website - just makes you wonder exactly who does read it! It is great to see that Laura had so much support and has generated so much good feeling during her short life. It is a shame that it took tragic circumstances to bring people together. It is true that the happenings have been hard to come to terms with. I was thinking about how many GH actors have died and I cant think of many, especially with a profile such as Laura's.

"The coverage in the press has been disgusting and I have purposely ignored most of it and refused to buy or read any papers at the weekend. The Sunday papers seem to be the worst and seem to feed on peoples desires to read about other peoples' misfortunes and to do their utmost to damage whatever reputation people had managed to build up. I guess that is their business but I don't know jhow they can write what they do with a clear conscience as they must be aware of the suffering it must cause the families." mum Sonja issued a statement to the BBC a few days ago, thanking fans for their messages. She believes Laura would have been astounded at the volume and sincerity of her fans' good wishes. We didn't see many Sunday papers over the weekend but, sadly,nothing they could write would surprise me. The newspapers exist for one reason only - profit - so it's to be expected that they bend the truth. 24/6/03

 

A week since Laura's accident, Malcolm Neale writes: "I am still trying to come to terms with the happenings of the last week. I must congratulate you on your sensitive tribute to Laura. I do wish the 'gutter press' would let the poor girl rest in peace. Every paper that I have looked at over the last few days seems to have some kind of speculation regarding the happenings of the last week. It is so sad; as if her family did not have enough to contend with. I think it would be a nice idea to do a video tribute to Laura, as Fran R. Watts has suggested." Hi Malcolm; unfortunately the rumours surrounding Laura's accident continue unabated, the News of the World being the worst culprit. Laura family have enough to deal with as it is, a shame the press can't show some compassion. We're looking through the tapes to find some suitable clips of Laura in Grange Hill, so watch this space. 23/6/03

 

Fran R. Watts: "What a tragic loss. Is nice to hear that Peter and Laura had kept in touch as their partnership in GH was great to watch. A fantastic actress who I am sure will be missed. Incidents like this should make us all appreciate life and what we have. Perhaps you could turn the video vault section of your web site into memorable snippets of Laura's role of Judi in GH."22/6/03

 

John Hudson - Grange Hill's Ian - joined the show when Judi was central to the storyline: "Just like to say that's a lovely tribute to Laura. We are grief stricken with the news here at the Hill. If you could post the following tribute for me on the site I'd appreciate it. Laura was the most, kind, warm, generous and decent person I've had the pleasure of working with. Thinking back I can't remember a time when she wasn't smiling. It's a loss not only to the acting world, but to the rest of the world as well. I speak for all the current cast and crew that knew Laura when I say, we will all miss her terribly and hope she is happy wherever she is." So do we all John. We're delighted you've had the pleasure of working with Laura; she was an inspiration to us all. 23/6/03

 

Alan Browne writes: "I have a suggestion for your video vault. I would like to see the clip where the character Judi Jeffries (Laura Sadler, R.I.P) dies trying to escape from a burning building This would be greatly appreciated." Hi Alan. Judi's final scene has been withdrawn from the Video Vault, following recent events. However it will be back soon. 22/6/03

 

Matt Mills: "I am saddened to hear the tragic news. Laura was such a great actress, I could see her career going such a long way. I'm not a regular viewer of Holby City, but have seen Laura's brilliant performances on a number of occasions- It's so cruel for her life and career to end so tragically. I will always remember her excellent perfomances as Judi. My thoughts are with her family and friends." 20/6/03

 

Tom Baron sends this from Manchester: "Laura Sadler is the only Grange Hill actor who I will always remember for her hugely powerful performances playing Judi Jeffreys. I remember feeling moved by Judi's death in 1999, and who could have played the part more convincingly? Not being a fan of Holby City I was not aware that Laura was still on our screens, and it was only the other week I set about trying to find some information on the actress who I so clearly remembered from half a decade ago. Like many of her loving fans, I was immensely sad to hear of her death yesterday, we have lost a truly great person. My condolences go out to her family and friends. RIP. Laura, we'll miss you. PS Although it was the respectful thing to do to remove the scene of Judi's death from the Video Vault at this present moment in time, it would be a great shame to loose one of Laura's greatest and proudest moments forever." As you say Tom, we have withdrawn Judi's death scene for the time being. It will return, but we're not sure when. So no, the dropping isn't permanent.

 

Michael: "I've just been on the web site this morning/lunchtime (Friday), and have been looking at all the lovely and kind comments said about Laura's sad passing. I found out myself yesterday off the 10 o'clock BBC News. My thoughts are with Laura's Mum, family and friends. Everybody knew Laura's great potential ,going back to her GH days, me Included. I don't think I can add any more to what I have wrote."

 

Justin Saddington, himself a Grange Hill actor, writes: "Laura has been taken from us just as her life as a talented actress and a beautiful young woman was beginning. We live in a cruel world and a tragic accident such as this shows how fragile life can be. My thoughts are with her family and friends. She will never be forgotten. Rest in peace Laura." Indeed Justin, she will never be forgotten. And wherever Laura is now, she'll have people spellbound as she did us.

 

Andy Gregson: "Sad news this morning. Not really much to say. It is a great loss and we can now only wonder what Laura may have gone on to achieve. She had a lot to offer and a very unique and bubbly personality in her roles. I think Holby City had only started to see her realise her potential as an actress. It is very sad indeed what has finally happened. Your feature was very well written and an excellent tribute to a great actress and career. I am sure it is not something you enjoyed having to write but well done. I wonder is there anyway to send sympathies from all readers etc. at GH Online even if it is only sent by e-mail?" Great idea Andy; doubtless Laura's family will appreciate our thoughts. Perhaps Laura's agent will be kind enough to pass on everyone's e-mails. We'll make enquiries about this.

 

Grange Hill writer Si Spencer: "I only met Laura a few times - I started work on 'The Hill' just after she left and was very committed to the idea that the storylines should not diminish the death of her character but should instead try and find something positive and redeeming from it. Some years later I find myself in the unenviable position of knowing I'll have to watch her perform some of my work posthumously. Laura was a funny, talented and, in the few times I met her it seemed to me, very kind, warm and generous person. I barely knew her but her passing has hit very hard....please, in the spirit of my opening lines about positivity and redemption can we stop carping about tabloid filth and speculation and just remember not only Laura, but all other lives snuffed out so prematurely and unexpectedly. I have no faith but faith in humanity - all my fondest sympathies to her family and friends.

"And a brief PS: if the tabloids do what I expect them to do over this, please...talk to your newsagent. Tell them you will no longer shop with them if they continue to stock offensive papers. Write to the papers themselves... let that be our positivity and redemption - put a stop to this ghoulish vacuity and this horrendous tormenting of victims' families - you CAN make a difference - it happened in Liverpool after Hillsborough. They believe you want to read the worst. Make them know different."
Well said Si - the papers are out to make profit so the truth seldom gets in the way of a good story. Some of this week's coverage of Laura's accident was very probing and intrusive. Congratulations, on the other hand, to the BBC and ITN who have handled Laura's death with the sentitivity it deserved.

 

Leona Kadir, who appeared with Laura in the same seasons of Grange Hill, says: "She was lovely..I'm going to write to her parents c/o the hospital." I'm sure she was Leona, and I'm sorry I never got to meet Laura myself. Her parents will surely be delighted to hear from you.

 

Peter Frydman: "Someone has written on the Grange Hill mailing list that Laura Sadler has passed away. It is truly terrible news. I hope they throw the book at the boyfriend who supplied her with cocaine." Hi Peter - it is the worst possible news certainly. However it's not our place to point the finger for Laura's accident; that is a job for the police and I am sure they're investigating if there has been any foul play.

 

Laura Sadler's death was announced early this evening. Malcolm Neale writes: "This must be one of the saddest days in the history of Grange Hill. It is tragic that such a gifted actress should be taken from us when she was on the threshold of a brilliant career. I would like to send my deepest sympathy and condolences to Laura's family and friends." Indeed it's a very sad day for Laura's family and Grange Hill as well. I can't imagine a more cruel coincidence that an actress should suffer an identical fate to one of her creations; Laura's parents must be heartbroken. She touched the lives of everyone that knew her, and will be sadly missed.

 

Jo Kearsley asks: "Don't you think it would be appropriate to remove the feature on your web page where you state you can watch the scene where Judi Jeffries dies?" Agreed Jo. We have removed links and references to the scene where they occur until further notice.

 

Peter Lines of The Casualty Files asked us to pass on this link: "A new website has been set up at www.candlesforlaura.org.uk. Would be much appreciated if you could link to it." With great pleasure Peter. It's frustrating there's no fresh news on Laura as she enters her fifth day in intensive care. If you want to show Laura you care, visit Candles For Laura and light one for her.

 

Sean Seymour writes: "I was sorry to hear about Laura Sadler...I felt her acting as Judi Jeffreys was really good and I feel it would be terrible to lose a young actress with such potential at such an early stage in life, I hope she gets better soon."

 

GH Online's Andy Gregson hopes for the best: "I was very shocked to hear the news and quite sad. I liked her in Holby City and she always struck me as a very down to earth girl when I saw any interviews of her. Plus I always thought she was a bit of a stunner in an unusual sort of way. Not sure what it was but she just had looks and character that were very appealing. A real tragedy that this has happened. I really do hope she pulls through and am hoping for the best. I guess her career could be finished as from what I have heard the injuries could be very serious and possible have a serious effect on her mentally and physically. A fall such as that is never good and to land on a hard surface and encounter severe head injuries is not a good sign. Lets hope for the best and hope that she can make a return." And so say all of us Andy. Still no change on Wednesday afternoon but the tabloids have been at their scaremongering worst. When will they learn?

 

Michael was shocked to hear the news: "I am dumbfounded about the news about Laura. I just could not believe it. I had bought the paper yesterday and seen a bit about Holby and a accident then next thing the news comes on the radio In a shop I was in, and unreal it is poor Laura. I am just holding out hope for Laura and thinking of her family, she is a fine young actress as everyone knows who Is just really starting out."

 

While Prince Mohammed writes: "I pray Laura Sadler gets well soon."

 

Malcolm Neale writes: "That is so very sad. I join you in praying that she makes a full recovery. I do hope we may hear some good news about Laura, as you say she is very talented. I have heard no more news regarding Laura's condition, but a source in the Mirror is quoted as saying that her prognosis is 'extremely bleak'. I suppose we must face the fact that if Laura survives there may well be permanent brain or spinal damage. It is so sad that such a brilliant career should be cut short like this." Indeed Malcolm, and I'm sure you speak for us all. There has been no change in Laura's condition this evening, though obviously we hope there will be some news shortly. We'll keep you posted.