Cast of Fame reunite to raise money for Claire House Children's Hospice in Merseyside

It's the 80s TV show that took the world by storm, sparked a craze for leg warmers and made dancing on top taxis an art form.

Following on from the smash hit film of the same name, Fame hit our screens exactly 40 years ago in 1982 and made Thursday nights magical for the next five years.

Set in a New York performing arts school, it turned its young and talented actors into stars overnight.

Doris, LeRoy, Nicole, Peter, Bruno and Coco all became household names, and millions tuned in the watch every episode, the famous theme music signalling the time to get your tights on and start practising the highkicks.

The show amassed up a huge fanbase here in the UK, including Merseyside Police Detective Sue Hinds, who loved it so much, that she decided to get the cast back together to perform a series of reunion concerts in the UK.

Sue Hinds pictured with Fame star Valerie Lansberg. Credit: Sue Hinds

Sue said: "As a child I absolutely loved it. Doris was my favourite character and was I was about 11, I wrote a fan letter to Valerie Lansberg who played her.

"She wrote back and we ended up becoming penpals and have stayed in touch."

It was this friendship which gave Sue the idea to stage the first cast reunion in Liverpool in 2019.

Sue and Valerie became friends after Sue wrote a fan letter to Valerie when she was 11 years old. Valerie says Sue is now like family. Credit: Sue Hinds

"I couldn't believe we managed to pull it off - it took months and months of planning, but as soon as I got the idea I knew I wanted to make it happen," Sue said.

"It was quite surreal walking around Liverpool with the cast of Fame.

"2022 marks the 40th anniversary of the show so had to do another reunion this year!"

Speaking to Granada Reports from her home in the US, Valerie added: "There is something very special about coming back to the UK for this concert.

"I was amazed the effect the show had here - the UK is such a huge fanbase. We loved doing the last reunion concerts because we get to see the fans!"

It was Valerie's idea to make the shows a charity event and Sue knew exactly which charity she wanted to support.

Sue said: "Having cared for my mum, I know I wanted to support a charity that cares for people.

"I don't have children of my own but I couldn't imagine how difficult it must be having a poorly child and how important respite must be to parents in that position.

"So I decided that Claire House Children's Hospice was the charity I wanted the show to support."

Claire House site in Wirral

The hospice in Wirral has cared for thousands of children and their families over the years, providing essential medical and respite care so that parents and siblings can have a break, whilst knowing that their child is being cared for by a team of professionals.

Claire House has recently opened a second site in West Derby, close to Alder Hey Children's Hospital where many of the children they help are treated. 

Hannah Shannon from Claire House says: "We have a playroom for the children and can offer complementary therapies but at the moment we can only offer daycare.

"Children can't stay overnight, so we need to raise more funds through things like the Fame concert in order to be able to look after more children who really need us."

Seven-year-old Gwendolyn Vials Moore spends much of her time at Alder Hey.

She has complex medical needs and has to go for appointments at the hospital several times a week.

Her mum Cora said: "It just makes it so much easier because we can come from the hospital straight to Claire House and not have to worry so much about being away from her because if we get a call, then we can be back there very quickly."

Isaac Vials Moore

Gwendolyn's brother, 11-year-old Isaac, also benefits greatly from the care provided there.

"Gwendolyn loves it here, everyone is so kind and they have such big smiles and are so welcoming," he says.

"You just feel happy when you arrive.

"It also means that my mum and dad get to have a break and that I get some time on my own with them and that makes me really happy.

"Claire House is one of the best things that has ever happened to my family."

His mum Cora agrees, she said: "Gwendolyn has such complicated medical needs that she needs a lot of attention.

"Claire House means we can spend time focusing on Isaac too. He's so good with her and looks after her so well."

The TV series Fame ran from 1982 to 1987 and several cast members went on to form The Kids From “Fame”.

Their self-titled album spent a total of 12 weeks at the top of the UK charts in the summer of 1982 and led to two hit singles, Starmaker and Hi Fidelity, with lead vocals by Valerie.

The Fame Reunion shows take place in Birmingham in September 2022 with proceeds going to Claire House Children's Hospice.

Of the original stars, eight will take part, including Valerie Landsburg, who played Doris; Lee Curreri, who was Bruno; and Erica Gimpel, known to fans as Coco.

Also on the line-up are Carlo Imperato, who played Danny; Cynthia Gibb who played Holly; Jesse Borrego, who played Jesse; PR Paul, who was Montgomery; and Nia Peeples, who played Nicole.