Grange Hill's Ruth Carraway unrecognisable 33 years after playing Helen – moving to New Zealand and working in a prison

Grange Hill's Ruth Carraway unrecognisable 33 years after playing Helen – moving to New Zealand and working in a prison

GRANGE Hill's Ruth Carraway is unrecognisable 33 years after playing Helen Kelly in the kids' TV show.

The former actress's four years on the show in the late 80s were full of memorable storylines.

She burst onto the scene as a member of bully gang the Terrahawks fronted by Imelda Davies.

Fortunately, she grew as an individual and became a popular female role model who pursued a career in the male dominated engineering industry.

Grange Hill was Ruth's first acting job and she went on to star in Streetwise, a drama about bike couriers in London starring Andy Serkis, and Aids feature film Closing Numbers in the early 90s.

However, she underwent a major career change and joined the public sector as a youth and prison worker.

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She is now based in New Zealand.

In an interview with nostalgia site Grange Hill Gold, she said of being cast in Grange Hill: "It was a long process and I was immensely happy when I finally found out I had been given the part of Helen – it was the start of a new chapter in my life – how exciting."

Her punky character famously got a butterfly tattoo on her arm which she soon regretted and tried scrubbing off with a brillo pad in the school toilet.

In real life, she's a big fan of body art, saying: "I’ve got quite a few tattoos now – I’d love more but I’ve purposely stopped myself otherwise before you know it I’ll be covered from head to toe!"

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Ruth admitted to be surprised yet touched that the character is still so fondly remembered by fans and heralded her as a positive female role model.

She said: "The reaction from the public was very positive when Helen was keen on embarking on a career in engineering (considered a male job in the ‘80’s). 

"I never really thought about it but Helen was a positive female role model wasn’t she?  Obviously once she’d stopped the bullying and the stupid dare things."

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