Not over the Hill
One of my favourite childhood memories was sitting down to watch Grange Hill with my brother. Our mum didn’t really approve and as we sat watching the comic strip credits, we knew we were being naughty. I remember the days of Tucker Jenkins, Ro-land (for that is how any self-respecting Hill fan pronounces his name), Zammo, Ziggy, Gonch, poor Danny the Druggie and the evil Gripper Stebson… I remember McClusky (who’s now retired to a lovely town in Cornwall so I hear), Baxter and the formidable, Gestapo-like, utterly terrifying Bronson (RIP).
>> NB: For a really good reflection of GH, check out this ere blog…
So of course I’m absolutely gutted to hear of its sad demise today. Of course, being a proper grown up™I have no idea of the debacle it may or may not have turned into (comments on this welcome). All I know is their reasons for axing the series seems weak and lazy. After changing the show’s channel and format, the good old Beeb decided to aim the show at a younger audience (6-11) as opposed to 9-15 (which is what I thought it was, right?). Looking at a cast list, it’s shocking to see just how many British actors started their careers on GH: Todd Carty, Susan Tully, John Alford (remember his dire solo singing career anyone?), Sean Maguire, The Buckfield Twins, Ben Freeman… I’m sure there are more, and do let me know if you can think of any.
On Grange Hill’s 30th anniversary, CBBC controller Anne Gilchrist said: “The lives of children have changed a great deal since Grange Hill began and we owe it to our audience to reflect this.”
Er… So, eh? Children aren’t actually going to school any more (actually don’t answer that one)? They don’t get bullied, try and pull girls in the playground, give their teachers the run-around, stress over exams, are tempted by drugs, sex and alcohol, yadda yadda yadda? Surely Ms Gilchrist doesn’t read the papers (or watch GMTV) because if she did, she’d see that the UK is being over run by Grange Hill-type ASBO kids, all drug addled and foaming at their potty mouths and would come to realise that she owed it to these children to reflect their lives by keeping GH alive, dagnammit!
This is a travesty.
Yes, creator Redmond felt the show had gone on too long, but bollocks to him. Bollocks.