Wednesday, February 06, 2008

BBC axes Grange Hill after 30 years

The BBC is to axe Grange Hill after 30 years, it has been announced.

The schoolgates will close for the last time later this year.

Phil Redmond devised the series in 1978 and it went on to become a national institution. But it no longer reflects the lives of schoolchildren in contemporary Britain, according to the BBC.

CBBC controller Anne Gilchrist said: "Part of CBBC's reputation for reflecting contemporary Britain back to UK children has been built upon Phil Redmond's brilliantly realised idea and, of course, it's sad to say goodbye to such a much-loved institution.

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

"We're actively seeking out new and exciting ways of bringing social realism to the CBBC audience through drama and other genres."

These include two Newsround specials tackling divorce and knife crime.

Jon East, head of CBBC Drama, said: "For 30 years, Grange Hill has become a byword for realistic and contemporary children's drama. It's now time to apply what we've learned over the years to some of the new ideas we're exploring."

Redmond recently accused the BBC of ruining Grange Hill by turning it into a show for younger children. In an interview last month, he said he would not be celebrating the programme's 30th anniversary. "The BBC has abandoned what Grange Hill was about in order to attract viewers aged six to 12 rather than its traditional 13-plus constituency, so there's nothing to celebrate," he said.

The final series will feature its youngest pupils to date, from Year 6.

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