The second death of Grange Hill

Grange Hill is changing from a school to, er, a 'creative learning centre'. It's also going to be aimed at 6 year olds. What on earth is going on?

Roland Browning

Gawd bless the BBC. Not content with meddling with, well, seemingly everything according to some reports, the latest object of one of its policy decisions is Grange Hill.

Now I should come clean, here. I haven’t watched any new Grange Hill for years. It died for me when Chrissie Mainwaring broke up a big fight between Grange Hill and St Joseph’s by wheeling a baby into the middle of it. I felt robbed back then: they’d been building up to that fight. Hell, they owed us that fight. They wouldn’t have tried any of that shit back in the old days, that’s for sure.

Anyroad, the latest, bizarre move to hit the show is that it’s now going to be aimed at six year olds. The very same Grange Hill that brought us Danny Kendall dying in Mr Bronson’s car, or Zammo lying in a drug-fuelled state. Now? It’ll be about some kids colouring in triangles in different colours or something. Maybe mommy might tell one of them off, or something equally dramatic. The tension, dammit, will simply be too much to bear.

Who comes up with stupid stuff like this? Apparently, because Grange Hill lives on the CBBC Channel, that channel’s remit is now being adjusted so all programmes must be suitable for six to twelve year olds. And I get that: I’ve got a kid, and I’d hope that a channel would have some age appropriate guidelines. But what’s wrong with BBC One? Which seems to be a constant loop of Blue Peter, whenever I turn its kids TV on?

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Instead what’s happening is that Grange Hill is going to be phased into a programme called The Grange. The Grange, of course, isn’t a school. Instead, it’s – I shit you not – ‘a creative learning centre’ with a focus on ‘multimedia technology’, If Pogo had had that kind of technology, he’d have a porn site up and running in minutes. Now? You just dread to think. The only storyline that’s been confirmed, hilariously, is about an escaped puppy. A fucking dog, for crying out loud.

Grange Hill creator Phil Redmond is, predictably, not very pleased, and has called on the BBC to simply kill the show the more natural way. Redmond had, apparently, been working on a plan that would give the show its edge well and truly back by the time of its 30th birthday next year.

It’s safe to say that won’t be happening any more. Unless the aforementioned puppy loads up on spliffs, starts quaffing alcopops and buys Babyshambles records.