Date of Birth: 29 September 1964, Islington, North London, UK
Birth Name: Terry Sue-Patt
Terry Sue-Patt was a former child actor and star of the long-running BBC children’s television drama Grange Hill, in which he played Benny Green between 1978 and 1982; he appeared in almost 30 episodes of the series which was set in a comprehensive school in the fictional London borough of Northam and became one of its best-loved characters.
The small and somewhat vulnerable-looking Benny was the first child to make an appearance in the first episode of Grange Hill when he let himself in through the school gates and was caught kicking a football against a wall by an irate caretaker. But Benny was not one of the chief trouble-makers in the show; generally his role was that of the anxious side-kick to the mischievous Tucker Jenkins (played by Todd Carty, who has since gone on to a successful acting career in adulthood). Their various scrapes were the basis of many of the storylines, and prompted, on more than one occasion, the hapless Benny to exclaim: “Flippin’ ’eck, Tucker!”
During Sue-Patt’s time with Grange Hill (created by Phil Redmond, who also wrote and produced Brookside and Hollyoaks), the series tackled the problems faced by a group of pupils growing up in the capital in the late 1970s and early 1980s with a candour hitherto unseen on children’s television. It was regarded as controversial viewing by some parents with its frank approach to issues involving bullying, racism, teenage pregnancy and drugs. Mary Whitehouse spoke out vigorously against it, deeming the series “quite unacceptable for family viewing”. The social and political messages brought it media attention, but it was the day-to-day life of the characters football in the playground, lining up for disgusting school dinners and escaping the clutches of the bullying and self-righteous PE teacher “Bullet” Baxter which attracted Grange Hill’s young viewers. They came to regard Sue-Patt and his on-screen contemporaries with almost as much affection as their own schoolmates.
Terry Sue-Patt was born on September 29 1964 in Islington, north London, one of six children of African parents. He was educated at Sir William Collins Comprehensive School, and was also a pupil at the Anna Scher Theatre School.
Terry’s early acting experience included small parts in various Children’s Film Foundation productions, and in 1978 he landed the role of Benny after being spotted by a talent scout while playing football in a park. He went on to appear in General Hospital for ATV and the BBC’s Jackanory. In 1990 he played a gunman in the Channel 4 sitcom Desmond’s, and during the 1990s he appeared in the BBC Schools programme Scene. He also played Yusef in The Firm (1989), directed by Alan Clarke.
Grange Hill aired for 30 years until 2008 when it was felt that the show had run its course.
Latterly, Sue-Patt worked as an artist and photographer and exhibited his work which was influenced by graffiti and by artists such as Basquiat, Gilbert and George and Picasso in London galleries.
In 1989 Sue-Patt’s brother, Michael, was killed in a car crash. Terry Sue-Patt was sitting in the passenger seat next to him at the time of the accident and he subsequently struggled in his recovery.
Date of Birth: 3 October 1938, London, England, UK
Birth Name: Peter Thomas Staheyeff Carson
Nicknames: Peter Carson
Peter Carson was editor-in-chief at Penguin from 1980 until 1998, and weathered the transition from a tradition-bound era in British publishing to the current age of more corporate and consumerist thinking.
When Peter came to Britain from the US to head Penguin in 1978, the company was failing and dysfunctional, unsuccessful in economic terms and not in tune with what the public wanted to read. It soon became clear to me that the small Allen Lane hardcover unit that Peter then presided over he was also Penguin's history editor represented a view of publishing that accorded with my own. Before long, he was asked to head Penguin's general publishing. It was not easy for me to persuade him to accept the title of editor-in-chief. "I would prefer to just be called 'editor', " he said, "but I'll take on the larger role." he insisted that the job required the title. He then took a leading part in enacting the many changes that rapidly ensued in marketing, sales and publicity. By the early 1980s, Penguin's stature had recovered.For 20 years he was a behind the scenes adviser on issues ranging from industrial relations during James Callaghan's government to numerous company acquisitions. He supported the development of indigenous publishing in Penguin's overseas companies, which had previously almost entirely distributed British books; and trained Penguin India's first editor. Many issues that arose in his years were dramatically conflict-laden, such as the struggles involving Penguin's publication of Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses and the historian David Irving's unsuccessful libel case. But more than most, Peter eschewed confrontation, and was a trusted confidant in difficult times. As Penguin's reach expanded around the world, the question sometimes came up of publishing in foreign languages. Peter was against this and did not do it (although Penguin now has). The increasing corporate dominance of Penguin thought that there was enough Anglo centric terrain for us to plant our feet in. Peter had other reasons. He loved the dominance of English and felt it should be more widely used, but should be used properly. The universal use of English, with the addition of more and more slang or foreign words, was not something he looked forward to. "French for the French," he would say, "they have a rather good language. English is what we do here at Penguin."The company's backlist interested him at least as much as the novelty of the new. When he saw some miniature Spanish books on a trip to Madrid, Peter proposed to publish pocket-sized Penguin 60s at 60p each to celebrate Penguin's 60th anniversary in 1995, he and his staff managed to produce a list for the series within three days. When these first 60 titles sold in the many millions, he had a list of a further 60 ready over a weekend. Peter's coolness extended to his negotiating style as staff often heard him on the phone offer for a book he had agreed to try and buy. He would say few words to the agent, but with considerable firmness and no emotion. peter only ever got upset with his own conservatism, when we failed to acquire Umberto.
Peter was born in London, educated at Eton college, where his classics studies won him the Newcastle prize, and did his national service in the navy before going to Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1959. His Russian mother, Tatiana, was a formidable presence and made certain that her son could speak her language. His Anglo Irish father, Joseph, had survived the Somme but died when Peter was nine, in the midst of a career both in the Foreign Office and as a barrister.It seems hard to believe, but Peter was not overly diligent about his studies, and after university seems to have greatly enjoyed his first job, escorting tourists on coach tours through Austria. In his first publishing post, with the general division at Longman, which he joined in 1963, he kept pubs in business and filled the premises with smoke.John Guest, a great Longman editor who in later years worked for Penguin, took him on and taught him the essentials of editing and publishing. Peter progressed quickly and moved to Penguin in 1972 when Pearson, which owned both Longman and Penguin, merged the general publishing lists. He came over from Longman with Eleo Gordon, whom he married in 1975 and who herself became a Penguin stalwart. Peter's interests ran from the most scholarly to many aspects of pop culture. Actually, he was interested in life itself what was going on today, what had happened yesterday and in centuries past. Historians such as Ian Kershaw, Simon Schama, Mary Beard, Robin Lane Fox and John Cornwell represent only the tip of the iceberg of authors Peter brought to prominence. While his primary interests were non-fiction, Peter was no stranger to fiction and loved reading mysteries, and before he left Penguin had acquired Zadie Smith's White Teeth. As with the best writers, the work of inspiring editors and publishers lasts much longer than their own lives. Publishing is well-populated by the people Peter hired or nurtured, among them Andrew Franklin, who went on to found Profile Books, and with whom Peter had a third act after he left Penguin in 1998. At Profile, where he remained until 2012, he was again permitted to express his individuality by commissioning major work by, among others, Rosamund Bartlett and Robert Irwin. Peter was not, in his mature years, particularly a person for the social side of publishing. He had his lunches and knew the best restaurants not necessarily the most posh and attended parties, but left early. At home Eleo created the order that made it possible for him to read virtually everything, travel widely with their daughter, Charlotte, especially to eastern Europe, and translate from the Russian for Penguin and Norton. Only a few days before he died, Peter was extremely happy to have completed a translation of Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilyich.