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> 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
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.
The BBC has ended months of speculation by confirming
that Grange Hill is to be axed after exactly 30 years and 31 series.
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.
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
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:
claims Phil Redmond wants Grange Hill scrapped
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."
Grange Hill has been "robbed of its purpose" and should
be axed now - according to its own creator, Phil Redmond.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit The Grange Hill Blackboard at www.ghblackboard.co.uk.