Grange Hill is the latest nostalgic series to get a reboot, with original creator Phil Redmond hoping to bring the series back as a movie.
The show, which followed the lives of children and teachers in a London comprehensive school, became one of the longest-running programs on British television and gripped audiences young and old alike with dark, memorable and shocking storylines never before seen on children’s TV.
Phil Redmond has told The Guardian that, 14 years after the show ended, he believes there’s more to say.
Phil, who has spent time teaching since 2005, told the newspaper, "We’ve been through four school-rebuilding programmes in my lifetime, but it’s not about bricks and mortar, it’s about getting the best out of every pupil."
"How will ripping schools out of communities solve anything? Or making catchment areas so big that kids have to travel miles to be with their friends? That's the thesis of the movie…”
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When did Grange Hill start?
Grange Hill aired its first episode on 8 February 1978.
The series would go on to become one of the longest-running shows on British TV and helped reimagine what children’s television could do or be.
Created by writer Phil Redmond, who was also responsible for popular soaps Brookside and Hollyoaks, Grange Hill centered on the school of Grange Hill in the fictitious North London borough of Northam.
Popular TV series ‘Grange Hill’ is making a comeback to the big screen 🎥The programme’s creator Sir Phil Redmond tells #BBCBreakfast he’s been asked nearly every day for the last 15 years, to bring it back 😮https://t.co/YDFYz2KAtU pic.twitter.com/XvfJdFXmCUJanuary 7, 2022
As well as dealing with school-related issues such as bullying and conflicts Grange Hill broke the mold for children’s TV and dealt with hard-hitting storylines like racism, drugs, teenage pregnancy, HIV and AIDS, homosexuality, knife crime, homelessness, sexual assault, and mental illness.
How long did Grange Hill run for?
Grange Hill was cancelled in 2008, after airing a series each year for 30 years.
CBBC controller Anne Gilchrist said, "The lives of children have changed a great deal since Grange Hill began and we owe it to them to reflect this."
Grange Hill’s most shocking storylines
Grange Hill's storylines tackled heavy, real world issues in a move that was often considered shocking for children's TV.
Zammo’s drug addiction
Without a doubt, the show's most controversial story came about in 1986 when Zammo Maguire (Lee MacDonald) began taking drugs.
The shocking depiction of heroin addiction caused outrage and kept audiences hooked.
The plotline became so prominent, it led to First Lady Nancy Reagan inviting some of the cast out to join in her famous Just Say No campaign.
Judi Jeffries’ death
To celebrate its 20th anniversary, a new character Sean Pearce was brought in.
The bully, played by Iain Robertson, slashed Judi Jeffries' face with a knife, leaving her scarred for life—although that life wasn’t going to be very long.
After Sean deliberately started a fire, Judi fell to her death from the school fire escape.
Chrissy Mainwaring’s teenage pregnancy
Chrissy's most famous storyline was becoming pregnant by her older boyfriend in 1991.
She had the baby but was forced to quit school to look after him. It was one of the first times underage pregnancy had been tackled by a UK soap.
Who were some of the most famous Grange Hill cast members?
As well as pushing the envelope for children’s TV, Grange Hill would be an amazing platform for future talent.
From future adult soap stars to Academy Award winners, who were some of the biggest names to come from Grange Hill?
As a script editor Anthony Minghella worked on the series for several years during the 1980s.
He would later win an Academy Award for Best Director for the film The English Patient in 1996.
Between 1988 and 1992, Maguire appeared on Grange Hill as Terence ‘Tegs’ Ratcliffe.
Sean has gone on to find success on both sides of the Atlantic, appearing in UK favourites like EastEnders as well as hit US shows including Once Upon a Time and The 100.
Todd Carty played Tucker Jenkins in Grange Hill's earlier moments, and he was even given his own spin-off after graduating from the show, Tucker's Luck.
In 1990, Todd Carty joined the cast of EastEnders as Mark Fowler where he stayed on the show for 13 years, before going on to appear on The Bill as a series regular.
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