Check out this new interview with Ricky, Thanks to Michael Silvester and Grange Hill Gold
Ricky (“I have a middle name but I’m not telling you”) Simmonds is 19 and lives with his parents. “But I’m moving out after Christmas. Not Hampstead. To somewhere less expensive” He plays Ant in BBC’s Grange Hill, but in February is leaving the series.
Where do you buy your clothes? This jacket and jumper are from Next. I like Next jackets and jumpers. I’m a bit funny with jeans. I tend to wear the same ones all the time. I’ve only got two pairs. I can’t remember where I got this pair from. I think Take Six. Nothing flash. I don’t go out and buy clothes every week. I usually go once every three months and buy a new selection. I’ve got a friend – female who comes along with me because I’ve got no colour sense I’d wear orange and red together.
Where do you get our shoes from? I wear Converse boots all the time. I’ve got about four pairs. I don’t think I’ve got any shoes. . . Oh, I’ve got a pair for weddings.
Do you fret about your appearance? I go through phases. Sometimes for a few months I’ll try and dress up and sometimes I’ll go for a few months not caring about whether my clothes are alright or my hair’s a state.
Do you wear after shave? I wear Antaeus by Chanel. I usually get it duty free.
Where do you buy your underwear? John Lewis. I was in Brent Cross (London) one day and I had to get some Y-fronts. I was in a real rush and I just dashed into John Lewis, grabbed a pair, liked them and have been buying them ever since. I wear mostly Y-fronts, but I’ve got a couple of pairs of boxer shorts for wild nights out.
Who does your hair? My hair! It’s very dodgy. A friend cuts it for me – a friend who used to be a hairdresser. I don’t like my hair I’ve had it like this for the last 20 years! In February, when I finish Grange Hill I’ll get it cut in a different style – but I’ve had to keep it like this for a yea because of the series.
What’s the most expensive item of item clothing you’ve ever bought? That’s a hard one. I think it’s a leather jacket I bought a few years ago and at the time I paid about £150 for it. Is that a lot? I don’t know about prices – I just go into a shop and pay out for things. Buying clothes is a real chore.
What do you think of your “make-over”? The shoes are alright and I love the hat. I like baseball hats. I love the jean jacket – that’s the best thing. Would I ever go out like this? Well maybe but I’d swop the trouser for jeans.
Girl Magazine 3rd October 1987
Ricky Simmonds one time heartthrob of Grange Hill has decided to turn his talents from acting to pop with his new band Protocol. We asked him to tell us why!
Does the beginning of Protocol signal the end to acting for you? Not really, I’m not doing acting at the moment and I’ve no definite plans for a new part, but I definitely hope to do more at some point in the future. I’ve left Grange Hill of course, but that was simply because my contract had come to an end.
What were the rest of the Grange Hill cast like? Did you socialise much? Yeah quite a bit, of course there was a problem in that everyone lived in different parts of London so you couldn’t spend every evening together, but when we did go out we had a good time together. They were all very nice people and we got on well together.
What’s your role in the new band? Vocalist, but I play guitar and keyboards. I write a lot of material and enjoy that.
Can you take criticism? I’ll come up with a brilliant idea for a definite No.1 hit and it’ll get slagged off by the rest of the band immediately! I might sulk for an hour, but basically I know it’s for the best that they’re honest.
How long have you been interested in music? That’s a tricky one – I can’t really remember that far back! I’ve been playing in bands since I was at school I’ve been writing music for three years and formed this band a couple of years ago.
Who else is in the band and how did you get together? Danny the drummer is my brother, It’s nice having your brother in the band because you know each other so well you can be perfectly honest with each other Paul plays bass guitar and he’s a friend of Danny’s.
What do you think of the current charts? (This was late 1980s – note from web mistress Becky) Not sure about that at the moment. A few months ago I thought they were great because there were ten new bands at one point with records in the charts. That’s great! I also liked quite a lot of the re-releases that were in the charts. I love sixties music so I like hearing that sort of stuff played. I don’t agree with all that guff about re-releases crowding new records out of the charts. If a single’s good it’ll get there, no matter what else is out. Basically I love chart music.
Do you think actors can cope better than other pop singers with live performances because they’re used to stage fright and coping with it? No! The most experienced actor can throw a wobbly. I always get very nervous. But that’s a good thing, it gets the adrenalin going.
When you’re a rich pop star what’s the first thing you’ll buy yourself? What! I don’t think I’ll ever be a rich pop star! But if I did I’d buy myself a dishwasher. I’ve recently left home and bought my own flat in London, now I realise how spoilt I was! There always seems to be a sinkful of washing up and no one else to get on with it except me – I’m sick of it!
Have you got an image? As we’re making very commercial music we don’t want a slick commercial image to got with it – that would just be too much! There are defiantly not going to be any hats in this band! We’re going to wear what we always wear, not go and buy alt of trendy stuff just for the sake of it. The other two are frankly more interested in fashion that I am. I hate shopping. At the moment I just dress in jeans and stuff with a nice pair of ear muffs!
Do you have any phobias? Spiders and Dentists. Actually I’ve got to go to the dentist tomorrow, you’ve reminded now. Oh No!
Do you like being a pin up? Am I? No one told me about it. It would defiantly give me a shock to see myself on the cover of a magazine.
Describe your perfect girlfriend. Someone with a lot of personality and a brilliant sense of humour. Nice to look at, yes but that’s a secondary asset, not the most important thing.
What type of song do you like performing most? I do like writing ballads. A couple of songs I’ve written in half an hour triggered by something I’ve read in the paper. It’s when I get a one chord sequence into my mind and can’t get the rest of it out that I’m struggling for weeks to get it down. Other songs start off musically when we’re having jamming sessions. Some songs are based on incidents that have happened to me of my friends, too.
If you get to No.1 will it go your head? No, I’ll just never talk to any of my family again because I’ll be too successful! I can’t honesty see it going to my head, no not at all.
Would your family watch you on Top of the Pops? Yeah, they’re my greatest fans!
What are you’re favourite sweets? I love and adore Jelly Tots
Interview from My Guy magazine.
Who did you have your first crush on? A teacher when I was in the second form of primary school. I gave her a box of Black Magic (Chocolates) at Christmas, she gave me a kiss on the cheek and I went bright red.
How about crushes on famous people? Did you have any of those? Of course, well, I also liked Joanna Lumley, Debbie Harry and Chrissie Hynde. But now it’s Nana Mouskouri (laughs) No, actually I like Kim Basinger and Lauren Hutton.
Who did you first go out with? Your first actual girlfriend? A girl called Francine Bassen. It was the first year at secondary school. We were on a trip to Horsham in Sussex and we got it together. I went out with her for all of a couple of weeks. It’s all experimenting at that age and very innocent – nothing serious!
So have you beaten that two week record by a lot since then? My longest relationship was only five months. I was involved with someone but not sort of constant because she didn’t live near me. Because of that we did not actually see much of each other. Anyway that seems to be over now. I’m young free and single and just enjoy mingling.
When it comes to chatting up a girl, who makes the first move? Well, no girls come over to me (laughs). I don’t know. Put it this was if I see a girl at a party, there is no way I could just walk over and start talking. If it’s a situation where I’m looking at someone and liking what I see I’ll need to psych myself up to get over my shyness. I’ve always been shy and the fact the people recognise me doesn’t make it easier for me to go up and start talking to people.
What do you look for most in a girl? Enormous . . . personality! The best kind of relationship stems from someone you work with because you get to know the person really well. Whenever you take someone out on a first date, you can’t relax. For me it’s good to be good looks and someone you can trust without either of you getting jealous.
You must have been aware when you where in Grange Hill that all the girls went mad ‘cos you were the next best thing after Tucker? (Blushing) Well, I did hear certain things. Yeah (laughs) I used to get a lot of fan letters about 60 a week, in fact it’s flattering, but you can’t take it all that seriously, can you? I used to get a few sympathy letters to do with my character, too.
Was Grange Hill as good fun off screen as it looked on screen? Yeah, it was brilliant. I loved it. I did it only for a year and then went back for a few episodes for another year. It was great. You know all the time I was in Grange Hill I never got had a screen kiss! Not once! The nearest I got to one was when I was on a bench once with this girl and we had a cuddle – I was consoling her –and Bronson accused us of kissing.
Do you have any of Ant’s qualities? Could you relate to him?
No, to be quite honest. He’s quite a serious character takes everything seriously – he’s basically a miserable sod! But well-respected – everyone gets on well with him. He was the star of the school – the hero – good at sports. I was more of a spectator than a doer at school, definitely.
Have you any regrets about leaving Grange Hill?
No, I was glad to finish because it wasn’t really what I wanted to do. At the time we used to go to clubs together and everyone used to stop and stare. That was brilliant a great buzz. It was good while it lasted, but I’m enjoying concentrating on my carer with the band now.
So what about the band and the record – are you going to do a Wicksey?
There’s an obvious comparison between me and him since I was involved in a TV show before the record. But the difference is his song had something to do with the TV show unlike mine. This has nothing to do with TV or anything I’ve done in the past – it’s completely separate. It’s our own attempt with a band. It’s not like, ‘Hey, lets make a cash in’ – we’d like to make a career out of it. It would be nice if I could still do some acting, but music is the main thing at the moment.
Do you wear boxer shorts? I thought you were going to get a lot more personal that that! Yeah, I’m wearing plain ones today. I’ve got a pair with hearts on and a pair with New York buildings on them. No pink hippos, I’m afraid.
So who’s in Protocol? Well apart from Ricky, there’s his brother Danny and Paul Freud on the bass and guitar. All three were originally in a six piece band called Clear Conscience, but eventually the lads decided to form their own band – Protocol. And, like the title of their first single we’re absolutely sure there’ll be no holding them back!
All pictures and quotes (unless otherwise stated) come from magazines, which I have bought, especially for this website, to share with everyone else! The photos and quotes are copyright of the person or company which took them, as are the words. I can only thank them and Ricky for the great pictures and quotes! In reproducing them on my website I infer no copyright whatsoever.