Open main menu

John Alford (born John James Shannon; 30 October 1971) is a British actor. He is known for his roles as Robbie Wright in the BBC series Grange Hill (1985–90) and Billy Ray in the ITV series London's Burning (1993–98). He also had three Top 30 hits on the UK Singles Chart in 1996.



Born in Glasgow, Alford attended Anna Scher's stage school from age 11 in London, alongside future EastEnders actors Sid Owen and Patsy Palmer.[1]

He appeared as a child actor in ITV sitcom Now and Then before landing the role of Robbie Wright in 1985 in Grange Hill. Alford featured on the Grange Hill "Just Say No" anti-drug single. In 1980, he appeared in Not the Nine O'Clock News, joining in a song about a strike-breaking train driver.

In 1993, prior to his solo singing career, he took his highest profile adult role as fireman Billy Ray in ITV's London's Burning, remaining in the role for five years. In 1996 this led to a short-lived singing career during which he released a self-titled album. His first single release was "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes", which reached number 13 and stayed in the UK chart for 5 weeks. His highest hit was "Blue Moon"/"Only You", which reached number 9 in the UK charts and stayed in the UK chart for 4 weeks. His last release was "If"/"Keep on Running", which got to number 24 and stayed in the UK chart for 3 weeks.

In 2001, he gained a role in the film Mike Bassett: England Manager. In 2003 he played the part of drug-dealing and scheming flight attendant, Dean, in Mile High.

In 2005, Alford appeared in the reality TV show Trust Me...I'm A Beauty Therapist, where celebrities trained and worked in a salon doing hair and beauty. He has since appeared twice in Casualty, in May 2009 and May 2010, and was a prison guard in The Hatton Garden Job (2017).

Personal lifeEdit

In 1999 he was convicted of supplying drugs to the News of the World undercover reporter Mazher Mahmood, and subsequently imprisoned for nine months.[2][3] During his trial, Alford said in his defence that he was set up, and complained that Mahmood was not punished for this. He was released after six weeks after agreeing to electronic tagging.[4] Alford has stated that Mahmood claimed to be a well-connected prince, who could offer Alford a lucrative contract.[5]

After the collapse of the trial of Tulisa in 2014, when the judge said there were "strong grounds for believing" Mahmood had committed perjury,[6] Alford told Panorama that the conviction had led him to suicidal thoughts. He was quoted as saying, "No one can give me the 18 years I’ve lost, no one can give me that back. I hope this is the first day of a new life for me."[7]

In January 2006 Alford was found guilty of drunk driving and subsequently banned from driving for sixteen months. Magistrates ordered him to pay a £150 fine and £100 costs.[8]

On 1 October 2018 Alford appeared at Highbury Corner Magistrate's court where he pleaded not guilty to two counts of assault on a police officer and guilty to a charge of criminal damage to a vehicle belonging to Camden Council on 1 September 2018 in Holloway London. He has been bailed to appear for trial at the same court on 29 November 2018.[9]


Studio albumsEdit

Date Title Chart positions
25 November 1996 John Alford
  • Debut studio album


Date Title Chart positions Album
5 February 1996 "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" #13 John Alford
13 May 1996 "Blue Moon"/"Only You" #9
11 November 1996 "If"/"Keep on Running" #24


  1. ^ Daphne Lockyer (21 May 2000). "Interview Patsy Palmer". Sunday Mirror. Retrieved 17 April 2007.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ "R v JOHN JAMES SHANNON (AKA JOHN JAMES ALFORD) (2000)". London Criminal Courts Solicitors' Association. 14 September 2000.
  3. ^ "drugs | Alford guilty on drugs charges". BBC News. 24 May 1999. Retrieved 29 March 2012.
  4. ^ "Entertainment | London's Burning star released". BBC News. 16 July 1999. Retrieved 29 March 2012.
  5. ^ Greenslade, Roy (27 July 2014). "John Alford: the TV actor whose career was wrecked by Mazher Mahmood". The Guardian.
  6. ^ "Tulisa Contostavlos trial collapses as judge criticises Sun's Mazher Mahmood". Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  7. ^ "More potential victims of 'fake sheikh' come forward after BBC documentary". Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  8. ^ "UK | England | London | Alford banned over drink driving". BBC News. 10 January 2006. Retrieved 29 March 2012.
  9. ^ [:London's Burning star John Alford denies 'police attack' - :London's Burning star John Alford denies 'police attack' -] Check |url= value (help). Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. ^ a b "Chart Log UK: A - Azzido Da Bass". Retrieved 29 March 2012.

External linksEdit