Norman "Gripper" Stebson was a villain who appeared in the series Grange Hill from 1981 to 1983, and served as the primary antagonist during his reign in the series, especially during the fifth and sixth series.
He is played by Mark Savage.
In his first appearance Gripper is seen shoplifting from a shop, and later on that morning forcing kids to give him money. He is also hostile towards his classmates, such as Pogo Patterson and is also seen subtly attacking a classmate during a PE lesson when playing football, however is spotted by a teacher and gets in trouble.
Gripper began picking on a new kid at Grange Hill named Roland Browning, mostly because Roland was overweight and shy with no friends. Gripper had picked on Roland during the series, making him give him money and humiliating him. When discovering that Roland was receiving help from a Councillor for his problems, Gripper revealed the secret to Roland's class by writing it up on the blackboard when Roland had refused to give Gripper more money and tried to fight him in the toilets without success. Gripper was unable to torment Roland further during series 5 due to Roland being hospitalised after being knocked down by a van.
After Roland was released from hospital Gripper wasted no time in tormenting him again and demanding money. However Gripper began to let up on Roland when picking out a new target, a Sikh boy who became a student at Grange Hill and shared a class with Gripper. Gripper took a hatred towards non-whites, and began gathering white students to join his cause against black and Asian students.
In the end Gripper was expelled from the school after leading a race war, and attacking a female student.
Gripper reformed himself after leaving Grange Hill and got a job working for a butcher. His bike was stolen by a new school bully, however he had gotten it back. Although Gripper had briefly crossed paths with his former victim Roland, Gripper didn't seem to acknowledge his presence and didn't bother him.
Gripper didn't stay on the straight and narrow for long however, as the following year he was revealed to be the culprit behind a spate of thefts at the school: His sister Emma, who was still a student there, had been helping Gripper and his long-term crony Denny Rees sneak into the school. He was finally exposed when new first year wide boy Gonch Gardner arranged to have the staff room bugged with a cassette recorder and recorded one of his raids, and the police were contacted. (Gripper was not seen on screen but his voice was heard on the recording.)
- Actor Mark Savage had received abuse and death threats due to his portrayal of Gripper.
- Another Grange Hill villain Matthew "Mooey" Humphries who appeared from 2003 to 2007 was sort of similar to Gripper. He intimidated and stole from younger students, and also picked on an overweight student Alex and made his life Hell.