SCHOOL'S OUT! Redmond Blames BBC for Watering Down the Hard-Hitting Show That Kept Us It's the End of an Era as School Drama Grange Hill Is Axed after 30 Years. TV Editor Peter Grant Looks Back at the Show That Became an Institution

Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England), February 7, 2008 | Go to article overview

SCHOOL'S OUT! Redmond Blames BBC for Watering Down the Hard-Hitting Show That Kept Us It's the End of an Era as School Drama Grange Hill Is Axed after 30 Years. TV Editor Peter Grant Looks Back at the Show That Became an Institution


Byline: Peter Grant

GRANGE Hill will close its famous doors this summer after its last-ever term.

The part drama, part soap has been axed.

Made by Liverpool company Lime Pictures, who took it over from Phil Redmond's Mersey TV three years ago it has left its mark.

A final school report however sealed its fate. Children's BBC yesterday confirmed their list of new programmes for the future.

And Grange Hill was NOT part of its plans.

Its creator Redmond, who had the original idea in 1975 and sold it to the BBC three years later, today reflected on the axing.

He told the ECHO: "Thirty years not out is not a bad innings ...will do better next time.

"And just like the end of Brook side I want to quote the late Beatle George Harrison ... 'all things must pass'.

Recently Prof Redmond turned into the show's severest critic saying he would not be celebrating the programme's 30th anniversary.

He accused the BBC of ruining Grange Hill by turning it into a show for younger children.

He said: "The BBC has abandoned what Grange Hillwas about in order to attract younger viewers aged six to 12, rather than its traditional 13-plus constituency, so there's nothing to celebrate."

Filmed in Elstree for 25 years, the fictitious North London Comprehensive came lock, stock and blackboard to Mersey TV's Childwall campus in 2003where Redmond became typically 'hands on' again. Lime Pictures took over three years ago.

Throughout its history, Grange Hill looked at every topic available on the social register.

Like Redmond's other major successes, Brookside and Hollyoaks, it broke TV taboos.

And, in the process, received compliments and complaints in equal measure.

But Grange Hill ticked all the boxes when it came to controversial but entertaining television.

BBC controller Anne Gilchrist said in a speech yesterday, reminiscent of a prize-giving ceremony: "Part of CBBC's reputation for reflecting contemporary Britain back toUK children has been built upon Phil Redmond's brilliantly realised idea.

"The lives of children have changed a great deal since Grange Hill began and we owe it to our audience to reflect this."

Tony Wood, creative director of Lime Pictures, said of this report: "It has been a privilege to be involved with one of the great titles in the history of British television."

The 31st series of Grange Hill begins this summer and will feature 20 episodes and run towards the end of the year. …

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