Grange Hill set for comeback as film and Phil Redmond wants originals for reboot

Grange Hill is back – thanks to the Daily Star.

Telly mastermind Phil Redmond is resurrecting the kids’ favourite show as a movie after we called for its return to help teach a new generation of youngsters valuable life lessons.

The legendary producer keeps a copy of our 2019 front page declaring `Bring Grange Hill Back to Save Britain’ on his office wall.

It helped inspire him to re-launch the programme which educated generations of schoolchildren about hard-hitting issues ranging from smoking, drug addiction and suicidal thoughts to bullying, homophobia and racism for 30 years.

The show was axed 13 years ago after BBC bosses ruled it had run its course But now Redmond – who also created Brookside and Hollyoaks and helped turn Emmerdale into one of Britain’s longest-running soaps – has penned a script for film version due out on the big screen later this year.

He plans to bring back many of the original characters as parents whose own children now attend Grange Hill.

They will join forces to try and save the school from demolition.

Along the way the movie will tackle many of today’s issues such as social media, the purpose of education itself and how children handle grief after losing elderly relatives to Covid.

Sir Phil, 72, decided to make it a movie because he believes it would now be too edgy for traditional TV broadcasters to handle.

But he said he hoped it would have the same impact as the programme which drew 12 million viewers and pop singer Shirley Manson, from rock band Garbage, credited with saving her life after school bullying drove her to self-harm.

“She was saying what I used to say during all the big controversies,” said Phil.

“Grange Hill never claimed it would solve your problem but it was a touchstone – something to guide people through rites of passage and say:

`You’re not alone’.

“It’s astonishing how many people tell me it was their favourite programme – especially politicians.

“David Cameron told me his favourite character was Gripper Stebson.

“It breaks the ice when you’re trying to get them to do things.’’

Phil met up with former Grange Hill collaborators last February (2021) to consider what had happened to the school over its missing decade.

Casting will begin soon and children’s TV legends like Todd Carty, 58, who played Tucker Jenkins, Mark Savage, 56, who was racist bully Gripper and Lee MacDonald, 53, whose heroin-hooked character Zammo McGuire helped spawn a global anti-drugs initiative, could all return.

Phil said the film will address the future of the school.

“We’ve been through four school-rebuilding programmes in my lifetime, but it’s not about bricks and mortar, it’s about getting the best out of every pupil,’’ he said.

“How will ripping schools out of communities solve anything? Or making catchment areas so big that kids have to travel miles to be with their friends?

“That’s the thesis of the movie – it’s decided the school is costing too much to maintain so it should be knocked down, the land sold and proceeds used to build a new one and replenish local coffers.’’

Though times and technology may have changed since the show was last screened Phil reckons youngsters have not.

“I’ve always had a strand about kids having the same emotions and fears,

aspirations and phobias as everybody else. Childhood doesn’t really change. What changes are fashion, haircuts and slang.”

Source: Read Full Article