Link your site to GH Online!

On Monday 10 January 2005, Lime Pictures (formerly Mersey TV) succeeded in shutting down Grange Hill Online, in a long-running dispute over use of images on the site owned by Lime Pictures. This was a crushing blow not just for GH Online, but for all Grange Hill fans who value our service. It was also the same day a brand new series of Grange Hill started.

Mersey TV suspends GH Online
TORPEDOED: GH Online re-emerges on 10 January

However, the site moved to a new server and returned with a skeleton service that same evening. Most of the site reappeared within weeks. But we remain unable to use any Mersey TV photos, even video captures of the latest series. Photos of the new characters can be seen at www.grangehill.com. In addition we can no longer offer video clips of material from Series 26 onwards.

If you enjoy GH Online or Grange Hill, we're asking you to speak up for us. If you feel the images ban is hurting GH Online or Grange Hill itself please e-mail the BBC and Lime Pictures to tell them how you feel.

John Hudson "Get the campaign going".
John Hudson, Grange Hill actor 1998-2004
Ian Steele "I have sent the e-mails to Mersey TV and the BBC. I think what they have done is childish, it's not like their site is any good! I will pass the address on to others and ask them to mail in too.
Ian Rushmere, GH actor 1990-1995


Why has this happened?
Since www.grangehill.com launched in 2003, there has been a cold war between the two sites yet ConkerMedia, who operate grangehill.com, openly admit GH Online provides Grange Hill with "wonderful publicity". Mersey TV legal spokesman Anita Phillips has accused GH Online of driving traffic away from grangehill.com and Grange Hill itself.

GH Online was using a number of images from Lime Pictures sites but only for essential illustrative purposes on pages such as character profiles, episode guides and Star File. The BBC discontinued printed cast photos in 2003, so this option is no longer available. Lime Pictures even object to us using images from home tapings of Grange Hill! We would have preferred to have a working arrangement with Lime Pictures, indeed we always credited any images of theirs to make clear that GH Online was not claiming the pictures as their own. We repeatedly asked Lime Pictures for "official" press images but to date none have been forthcoming.

When Grange Hill was made at BBC Elstree the crew were very supportive of GH Online and were happy to allow us to publish character photos on the site. In recent months there have been signs of an unofficial "warming" towards GH Online from Lime Pictures but we are still unable to publicise the latest series effectively without images and video from the newest series.

As copyright owners of Grange Hill, Lime Pictures are perfectly entitled to protect their intellectual property and, if necessary, take action against us. But since GH Online generates valuable and positive publicity for Grange Hill, it's the programme which could suffer. And it's hardly fair to the fans.

We would love to gain official recognition from Lime Pictures and indeed the past 12 months have shown signs that Lime Pictures may now be warming to GH Online. Phil Redmond has even praised the site in his weekly column for the Liverpool Daily Post.


What you can do
If you enjoy GH Online; or Grange Hill, we're asking you to speak up for us. If you want GH Online to be able to use images and video from the more recent series, please e-mail both Lime Pictures and the BBC to tell them how you feel.

Some tips for writing to Lime Pictures:1) Please make your e-mails diplomatic, reasoned and at all times polite. Being aggressive will not help us at all!

2) Please only send ONE letter/e-mail each. Bombarding Lime Pictures with several letters on the subject could prove counter-productive and strain relations between them and GH Online;

3) You may wish to remind Lime Pictures of the detremental effect less publicity via GH Online could have on Grange Hill (ie. falling audiences).


Why contact the BBC?
The BBC pay Lime Pictures to make Grange Hill, they are the executive producers and would have the final say. We hope the BBC would be sympathetic to our plight and realise what they stand to lose from less publicity for the show.


Cast Members back GH Online
A number of ex-cast have voiced their opinions on the dispute with Lime Pictures These include Ian Steele, aka Ian Rushmere, who played Brian Shaw for five years from 1990. Also offering support is John Joseph - Grange Hill's Ian Hudson who was a Grange Hill regular when production passed to Mersey TV, and Robert Craig Morgan, who starred as Justin Bennett in the first series of Grange Hill.


Contact details
The following panel gives the contact details of senior BBC executives including the Director-General, Mark Thompson. These people care genuinely about what they do and have real influence, so you would be e-mailing someone who really can make a difference. Remember - the BBC is funded by us or our parents. Now for those all-imporant e-mail addresses:
Lime Pictures   The BBC
Grange Hill creator and Mersey TV founder


Legal Advisor, Lime Pictures


Lime Pictures web team


Owners of Lime Pictures

BBC Director-General


Controller of Children's Programming



You can also write to the following address:

Please tell as many people as you can about this campaign. The more support we can drum up the greater the chance of Lime Pictures realising what an important service GH provides for the programme. Rather ironically, Lime Pictures are beginning to realise for themselves how lack of publicity hurts Grange Hill; the move of the programme away from BBC1 in favour of exclusive scheduling on the digital CBBC Channel last year resulted in far less publicity for the series.

GH Online is run by volunteers who give up their free time to provide a fan site at their own considerable expense. The site gives Grange Hill lots of free publicity, we do not gain anything financially and on no account has Lime Pictures lost any revenue as a result of our site. grangehill.com restricts itself to the present series of Grange Hill whereas we cover the entire period that Grange Hill has been broadcasting, 1978-2008.

Once again, we ask for your support in this crucial matter. Many thanks for your help and tell your friends!
The GH Online team