'Grange Hill' legend set to join 'EastEnders' after 32-year break from acting

Lee MacDonald as Zammo McQuire in Grange Hill
Lee MacDonald as Zammo McQuire in Grange Hill

Grange Hill legend Lee MacDonald is set to join EastEnders after taking a 32-year break from acting.

MacDonald’s last regular television role was in 1987 as Grange Hill character Zammo McGuire, an anti-social teenager who developed a heroin addiction. Since then, he has put acting aside to run his own locksmith and key-cutting business.

However, EastEnders bosses have now convinced him to return to acting and join the show.

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According to The Sun, MacDonald will feature in two episodes of the BBC One soap this summer, squaring off with Danny Dyer’s Mick Carter as they compete in a radio competition to win gig tickets.

On being cast in the role, MacDonald said: “I am absolutely chuffed to bits and so excited to be briefly joining the cast of EastEnders. I can’t say too much yet but watch this space. Top banana!”

Speaking about his return to acting, he added: “My agent wants me to drop the shop. She says I should try and push myself as an actor and not a locksmith. But I’m quite happy to say I’m a locksmith, ’cause that’s what pays the mortgage!”

This will be MacDonald’s first major acting role in 32 years, having only made cameo appearances in Birds of a Feather and The Bill since leaving Grange Hill.

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Last year, MacDonald spoke to The Mirror about the 40th anniversary of the first episode of Grange Hill, saying: “Before Grange Hill the only kids’ programmes you could watch were cartoons.

“Then all of a sudden comes this drama that kids can relate to. It just hit home – and it was really mischievous.

“People have such fond memories of it, they say it had a huge impact on their childhood. The first episode I ever filmed was at Chessington Zoo. We went on a ghost train – as an 11-year old, that was unbelievable.