Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Saturday, May 06, 2006
John Alford - 'Blue Moon'
Click Here to hear John Alford's single 'Blue Moon'.
This record was a top ten hit for John in the week of 25th May 1996. It was produced by Mike Stock/Matt Aitken of 'The Hit Factory' fame.
Friday, May 05, 2006
Reproduced from Daily Telegraph 6 May, 1999
London's Burning star in plea from prison over bogus drug deal
by Sue Clough, Courts CorrespondentJOHN Alford, the former star of the television series London's Burning, issued a plea from jail yesterday for the Home Secretary to change the law after he was convicted of supplying cannabis and cocaine to a bogus Arab prince.
Alford, 27, who defended himself, blamed the News of the World for entrapping him into supplying the drugs. An undercover reporter posed as the wealthy Arab and secretly filmed the actor handing over the drugs in a suite at the Savoy hotel.
Alford was remanded in custody to be sentenced later. He showed little emotion as two majority guilty verdicts were returned at Snaresbrook Crown Court, east London. But his fiancee, Tina Mahon, who had supported him during the case, trembled noticeably and later burst into tears.
Terry Marsh, the former world boxing champion, read a statement from the actor on the court steps.
Mr Marsh, who helped prepare the defence case, said Alford - charged under his real name of John Shannon - respected the jury's verdict and thanked Judge Stephen Robbins for his consideration. The judge had earlier described Alford's closing speech as "brilliant".
Mr Marsh continued: "While accepting a crime was committed, he was incited by, and aided and abetted by, journalists. Were it not for the News of the World no crime would have occurred, yet he was the only one in the dock.
"He calls on Jack Straw, the Home Secretary, in view of his experience in these sorts of matters, to give his consideration to the situation in this case and others like it."
Mr Straw's teenage son was exposed in a tabloid newspaper over an alleged cannabis deal.
Mr Marsh added: "It is too late for John, but the law should be changed to protect others. In this instance journalists were the cause of this crime. He asks the Home Secretary to live up to his words and start being tough on the causes of crime."
Alford, of Hadley Wood, Herts, who lost his £50,000-a-year starring role in London's Burning after the paper exposed him, was convicted of supplying more than two grams of cocaine and nearly 12 grams of cannabis to Mazher Mahmood, the investigative editor of the News of the World, in August 1997.
Mr Mahmood, cross-examined by Alford, denied he was responsible for the actor's downfall, saying he had only himself to blame.
Alford had succumbed to "greed, vanity and a desire for self-advancement", said Martin Hicks, prosecuting.
The court heard that after Mr Mahmood received a phone call from an unidentified showbusiness acquaintance of Alford's, claiming the actor was supplying drugs, he posed as an Arab prince with a retinue of followers. In an elaborate and well-planned subterfuge, the actor was brought to the Savoy.
The conversation turned to drugs and, as the hidden cameras filmed him, Alford agreed to get some. The "prince" handed over £300 and Alford visited a north London drug dealer. The cameras were still recording when he returned and put the drugs on the table.
Alford told the jury he had been the victim of methods from "the Dark Ages". Although conceding that he was "technically" guilty of supplying the drugs, he urged the jurors to acquit him because he had been "set up".
He said where law and justice clashed, they should ensure justice won. But Mr Hicks said the jury must chose between a filmscript "happy ending" and acquit, or return verdicts "true to the evidence, true to your oaths". After four and a half hours, the jury adopted the latter choice.
Judge Robbins told Alford he faced jail - "the only question is how long".
It was the second time that Alford had appeared in court on the same charge. Last November he pleaded guilty, claiming his barrister had said he had no defence.
But after a plea to Southwark Crown Court, Judge Robbins allowed him to change his plea to not guilty and have a new trial.
Reproduced from The Mirror 4 November, 1998
by Tim Wood
JOHN ALFORD: I am only pleading guilty to dealing in cocaine because ...
FORMER London's Burning star John Alford was behind bars last night after grudgingly admitting supplying cocaine and cannabis.
The disgraced actor and singer lost his bid to get video evidence of him dealing in drugs thrown out of court on the grounds he had been entrapped by a Sunday newspaper.
So he changed his plea to guilty, declaring: "This thing stinks to high heaven. The only reason I am pleading guilty is that I know deep down that I am not guilty.
"But my barrister has indicated I have no defence. I don't want to put my family through any more stress and to waste court time. I have told the truth. I have a clear conscience."
Judge Stephen Robbins, who said 27-year-old Alford had acted of his own free will, told the star: "A custodial sentence is inevitable."
Alford was remanded in custody until December 4 for reports. As he was taken to the cells an attractive blonde wept at the back of the court.
The actor's lawyer had asked that he not be remanded to south London's Brixton jail as he had had "dealings" with officers there when "certain threats were made against his safety".
The judge said there was nothing he could do but ordered that Brixton's governor be notified. He also ordered an inquiry into possible confiscation of assets the actor may have obtained through drug dealing.
Baby-faced Alford - who was a child star in TV's Grange Hill and had two Top 10 singles in the mid-90s - was caught selling drugs after falling for a classic sting. It was set up after reports that he was a known dealer.
A woman posing as the personal assistant of Sheik Mohammed Al-Kareen, from Dubai, told Alford's agent the star could earn £100,000 by appearing as a celebrity guest at the opening of a Middle East nightclub.
A meeting was arranged, Alford was collected by Rolls-Royce from his home in Hadley Wood, Herts, and driven to London's Savoy Hotel where suite 419 had been hired.
There, secretly filmed by a hidden camera, he met three journalists posing as the sheik and his entourage.
After the conversation turned to drugs, Alford agreed to supply cocaine to a party in north London's Millionaire Row.
He assured the "royals": "I'll sort it...I can get some."
He added the "prophetic" words: "You've got to be careful. If anyone gets hold of it you are ruined, particularly in my business."
Prosecutor Martin Hicks said: "Alford showed he had in-depth knowledge as to the drug's form, quality, purity, the way it was tested, its price, and indeed its legality."
Over dinner, Alford - later sacked from his £50,000 TV role as firefighter Billy Ray - was handed 300 to buy samples of cocaine and cannabis.
He was then driven to collect a friend in Islington, north London, before going to a house in St John's Wood.
Carrying two grammes of cocaine and 11.9 grammes of cannabis, he returned to the Savoy and was filmed dropping the drugs on a table.
Before he left, he helped himself to some of the cannabis and rolled a joint.
When Alford learned he had been duped he wept, London's Southwark Crown Court heard. He then phoned The Mirror's sister papers, the Sunday Mirror and Sunday People, to try to lessen the impact of the story.
He told reporters: "I did it as a favour. I am the biggest mug in the world. I'm not a drugs dealer. They set me up. I was led into a false sense of security."
For more than a week in court Alford protested his innocence. Insisting he had only supplied cocaine to impress, he said: "I've seen friends go down the road of hell from this drug. It is the most despicable drug in the world because it drags you down."
He admitted two charges of supplying drugs and one of offering to supply cocaine.
Robbie Wright (1985-90)
as Firefighter Billy Ray 1993 - 1998
BBC Television Shakespeare
Master Gunner's Boy
King Henry the Sixth, Part I
Fear Factor (UK)
John was born in Glasgow but brought up in Islington, north London with his younger sister, Angela.He started acting aged six and, at the age of nine, enrolled at Acland Burghley drama school, where he trained alongside the likes of EastEnders' Patsy Palmer and Sid Owen.His first appearance on the small screen came two years later as Peter in the ITV drama 'Now and Then' and soon afterwards he landed the role of Robbie Wright in 'Grange Hill', where he met his long-time girlfriend and fiancee Tina Mahon ("Ronnie"). However it was John's role as Billy in ITV's 'London's Burning' that made him a household name.On the back of his success in London's Burning, John turned his hand at singing and, in 1996, released a version of "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes", which peaked at no 13 in the UK chart.Fame and success however came with a heavy price: After a public battle to curb his drinking and gambling habits, John was convicted of drug dealing in 1999 and imprisoned for 9 months after having been caught in a classic string, set up by Daily Mirror journalist Mahzer Mahmood.
NAME: Billy Ray RANK: Fire fighter ACTOR: John Alford SERIES: 6-10
BRIEF: Billy joined the Watch in Series 6...
FAMILY: Billy lived with his Nan, after his mother deserted him and his dad died. Billy was told that his dad died a hero, fighting at war, but in reality his dad died in a pub fight.
ROMANCE: Billy dated Lauren, who worked as a stripper. In Series 9, a while after their relationship had ended, Billy discovered the Lauren had started working as a prostitute and tried to help her, which resulted in Billy being beaten up by her pimp's heavies.
TOUGH TIMES: In Series 10, Billy was accused of murder and was held by the police until Jo, his sister, confessed to the murder.
ACTOR BRIEF: John Alford was born John Shannon, and was born in Glasgow, Scotland on the 30TH October 1971. John went to the Acland Burghley School and drama school in London and got his big break in Grange Hill aged 11.
TV AND FILM ROLES: John's TV and film roles include:
Now and Then
Mike Bassett: England Manager
Not The Nine O'Clock News
THEATRE ROLES: John's theatre roles include:
OTHER: John released the single 'Smoke Get In Your Eyes' in 1996, which got to number 13. John was due to appear in a pantomime in Sunderland in December 1996, but he collapsed, suffering from a rare blood disorder. In May 1999, John was jailed for nine months, for supplying drugs to an undercover journalist.
AGENT DETAILS: JOHN ALFORDR W M MANAGEMENTThe Aberdeen Centre22-24 Highbury GroveLondon N1 2EA
DOB: 30th October 1971
TV:NOT THE NINE O'CLOCK NEWS (BBC 1982); Robbie Wright in GRANGE HILL (BBC 1985-1990); Billy Ray in LONDON'S BURNING (1993-1998); BLACK CAB (BBC 1999)
FILMS: MIKE BASSETT: ENGLAND MANAGER (2001)MUSIC: John had a brief pop career in the 1990s. His most recent hit was a cover of "Blue Moon" in 1996.
JOHN ON ROBBIE: "I'm not a sheep following other people like Robbie, I've got a mind of my own!", John says in the 1987 GH annual.FAMILY: John has one younger sister called Angela.
ROMANCE: In 1999 John was engaged to his long-time girlfriend Tina Mahon (Ronnie in Grange Hill). They went to the same school, Acland Burghley, but it was Grange Hill that brought them together! WHERE IS HE NOW?Things have been quiet for John these last couple of years. His last TV project was a short film for BBC2, "Black Cab"