As massive fans of anything 80s related, we’re always extremely thrilled when any of our beloved films or TV shows are revived for modern audiences. And whilst many of the recent retro reboots haven’t come close to matching the shows that preceded them, we have thoroughly enjoyed seeing the return of some of our favourite childhood characters in the likes of Masters of the Universe: Revelation, Cobra Kai and The Wonder Years.
So it’s fair to say that we were rather excited when we heard that Grange Hill, one of our favourite TV shows of all time, is being adapted into a movie that is set to hit cinemas in 2023.
The announcement was made by the show’s recently knighted creator Sir Phil Redmond, a TV producer and screenwriter who was also responsible for bringing us classic Channel 4 soaps Brookside and Hollyoaks.
Redmond has revealed that production of the new movie will be underway very soon, and he even hinted that some of the show’s classic characters may return.
Redmond is keen that the new version of Grange Hill has a “realistic view of what education is like now,” saying “we’ll just take a look at the way Britain is now, not the way policymakers would like us to think it is. We will take a realistic view of what education is like now and what that means to kids going through it”.
Grange Hill first aired all the way back in 1978, and it was on our screens for an impressive 30 years and 601 episodes, making it one of the longest running British TV shows of all time.
The show wasn’t afraid to deal with hard-hitting subjects, and featured storylines that included bullying, drug addiction and even death, the seriousness of which attracted a fair amount of controversy.
“Really what the controversy boiled down to was that we were showing real kids with real working class accents on the screen,” Redmond has recently been quoted as saying. “It wasn’t particularly the issues [themselves], it was that we were changing the perception that children’s television should all be Secret Garden and Enid Blyton”.
Grange Hill was extremely successful, spawning tie-in novels, computer games, a spin-off show called Tucker’s Luck and even a 1986 music album, which featured the anti-drug themed top 20 single Just Say No.
Plans for a movie based on the hit show were reported as far back as 2006, when Redmond revealed he had finished work on a script, but the idea didn’t gain traction and was eventually abandoned.
The upcoming version of the film is based on a brand new screenplay, which has been written by Redmond and Celyn Jones, who played English teacher Mr Green in the original TV series.
Jones expressed his delight in being asked to assist in the show’s revival, saying “In a previous life I played Mr Green the English teacher in Grange Hill. I can reveal Sir Phil Redmond suggested that it was time to bring back Grange Hill. I think bringing back Grange Hill was the bat signal he couldn’t ignore any longer”.
Unfortunately there has been no word on which of the classic cast will return, as despite Zammo McGuire actor Lee MacDonald revealing that he “would love to do it,” Celyn Jones has said that ”until they are in that school dinner queue we cannot say who will be coming back”.
Jones has also echoed our view that Grange Hill’s original theme tune, a track called Chicken Man by Alan Hawkshaw, should definitely return in the upcoming movie reboot.
“When the news was released about the movie, I am sure you would have heard somebody, somewhere, singing the theme tune,” Jones enthused, continuing “I want the theme tune, I want the badge, I want a sausage on the fork”.
Redmond and Jones are hoping that this new version of the classic franchise will get a big-screen release, but they are also open to the idea of it being picked up by a streaming service.
We don’t particularly care when and how we get to see Grange Hill The Movie, because we’re just thrilled that one of the best children’s TV shows of all time – which we first sat down to watch with our family at tea time over four decades ago – is still loved and appreciated by people all over the country.