THE CURTAIN COMES DOWN - CLOSE UP SPECIAL ON THE END OF GRANGE HILL
Overview > How we reported the news > Reaction > Grange Hill axe timeline

How GH Online reported news of Grange Hill's cancellation, on the School Noticeboard page, back in February:

BBC CONFIRMS GRANGE HILL AXED AFTER 30 YEARS
The BBC has ended months of speculation by confirming that Grange Hill is to be axed after exactly 30 years and 31 series.

The 2007 cast. If Lime Pictures object to us using this photo, could they please e-mail us as soon as possible.Controller of CBBC Anne Gilchrist, speaking just two days before the series' official 30th anniversary, said the decision was made as part of an attempt to make her department's output more relevant to the lives of today's youngsters. "The lives of children have changed a great deal since Grange Hill began, and we owe it to our audience to reflect this," she said.

A 31st and final series will air sometime this summer, with a shift in the storyline's emphasis towards Year Six characters age 10 and 11. It is this reworking towards a younger audience that has angered Grange Hill creator Phil Redmond. Last month he told The Observer newspaper he felt Grange Hill had "run its course" if he could no longer produce the hard-hitting storylines for which the series has become known.

Tucker and BennySome newspaper reports suggest Grange Hill might have been dumped because of the production costs. "Drama is a very expensive genre and children expect high production values," Anne Gilchrist told The Times. CBBC instead plan to use Newsround to tackle social issues previously the preserve of Grange Hill, such as divorce and knife crime.

Do you think the BBC acted hastily in axing Grange Hill, or had its time come. What are your memories of Grange Hill? Has the show influenced your life or career? Let us know now by visiting our CAN U HELP? page or the forum at our partner site, The Grange Hill Blackboard.

 

And less than a month earlier, how Phil Redmond called for the plug to be pulled, as also reported on School Noticeboard:

Phil RedmondNewspaper claims Phil Redmond wants Grange Hill scrapped
Grange Hill has been "robbed of its purpose" and should be axed now - according to its own creator, Phil Redmond.

The Observer reported on Sunday that Mr Redmond was unhappy that the BBC has moved away from the series core 12-16 audience range and refocused the show on characters aged 10 and 11 in a bid to attract CBBC's new target age range of 6-12 years. "I don't like keeping things going when the point has been lost," the paper quotes Mr Redmond as saying. "I do now think the point of Grange Hill has been lost, and 30 years is a nice time for it to hang up its mortar board."

Mr Redmond's comments will come as a surprise to many as until now he had always spoken on how he believed Grange Hill could continue "for as long as people go to school". But a change in CBBC policy has forced Grange Hill - traditionally a hard-hitting drama for young teenagers, to refocus towards a younger demographic and, in Grange Hill's 30th anniversary year, this was the complete opposite of what he had planned for Series 31. "We were all prepared to bring it right back to its original hard-hitting social edge for its 30th anniversary because we knew it should have got a lot of publicity and a lot of interest,' he continued in The Observer. "'It was at the very first storyline conference that we were told there'd been an editorial shift, so that went down like a lead balloon."

Under the new CBBC broadcast policy, all programmes shown on the CBBC Channel or in the weekday afternoon children's slot on BBC1 must now cater for an audience age 6-12 years. Teenage programmes will now only appear in the BBC Switch slot on BBC2 on Saturday afternoons.

Mr Redmond has also blasted the BBC for playing down Grange Hill's 30th anniversary next month. "I think the BBC are playing down the 30th anniversary of this socially relevant, rites-of-passage teenage show. That's the brutal reality; it will be a different beast. My preference would be for it to have a new name because it is a different show and a different format." In response, head of CBBC Richard Deverell acknowledged "there would no longer be any storylines about preparing for university" but promised "we can still do meaty, crunchy issues in a sensitive way". A BBC spokeswoman said CBBC was obliged to follow the terms of its remit as decreed by the BBC Trust.

The Observer also reported that long term, the plan is to move away from Grange Hill School and relocate to "The Grange", a multimedia learning centre. More details of the new series on our Series 31 page and in our original article on the changes below.

* What do you think - is Phil Redmond right and is it time to start afresh with a new school drama series? Let us know your views at canyouhelp@grangehill.net or visit The Grange Hill Blackboard at www.ghblackboard.co.uk.