Royal Holloway held a special event on Saturday, April 28, to celebrate 40 years of Grange Hill, the popular BBC children’s show, with past crew and cast, such as Todd Carty and the show's creator, Phil Redmond.
Royal Holloway’s Centre for the History of Television Culture and Production teamed up with the television archive organisation, Kaleidoscope, to co-host the event.
Set in a London comprehensive school, the programme was first broadcast on 8 February 1978.
Although initially conceived as a nine-part series, the programme proved so popular it continued to be made until 2008.
It also earned a reputation for its realism and willingness to tackle difficult subjects – from bad behaviour and truancy to drug use and teenage pregnancy – which also meant it soon became a source of public controversy.
The day brought together a number of those involved in the making of the programme, including the original creator Phil Redmond and Executive Producer, Anna Home, the programme’s creator and many of the show’s cast: Todd Carty, Mark Baxter, Linda Slater, Lisa East, Joanne Boakes, Gwyneth Powell, Lucinda Curtis, Paul McCarthy, Erkan Mustafa and Ruth Carraway (via satellite).
Professor John Hill, Royal Holloway’s co-director of the Television Centre, said: “As part of our ambition to encourage awareness of and debate on television history, we are pleased to collaborate with Kaleidoscope and the Good Grief Trust in marking the 40th anniversary of Grange Hill.
Chris Perry of Kaleidoscope, added: “Kaleidoscope organised anniversary events for Blue Peter and Play School, so it seemed a natural progression to do likewise for Grange Hill.
“The show marked a pivotal moment in television drama; without it, we would have no Tracy Beaker, Byker Grove or Hollyoaks nowadays.
“40 Years of Grange Hill deserves a celebration.”
Grange Hill cast
It was set up and is run by Linda Magistris, who played Susi McMahon in the original cast of Grange Hill, after her partner, one of the programme's Directors, Graham Theakston, sadly passed away and she felt overwhelmed with grief, but couldn't find the targeted support she needed.
The Centre for the History of Television Culture and Production at Royal Holloway aims to research and record television history, understand how programmes were made, analyse the programmes produced and draw attention to neglected works and practices.
Recent projects include ADAPT, exploring the historical uses of television and technology, and Forgotten Television Drama, examining the history of television drama that has been lost, forgotten or critically neglected.
The Forgotten Television Drama project has collaborated on a number of events at BFI Southbank, London, and venues in Belfast, Birmingham and Manchester designed to bring historically significant TV drama to contemporary audiences. In association with the DVD distributor, Network, the project has also launched its own series of ‘Forgotten TV Dramas’.