In 1978 the BBC launched an ambitious programme for children that they were a little bit unsure about. The programme was Grange Hill. It was set in a fictional North London school and set out to be unlike the usual laughs and romantised school programs there had been before. The writer was Phil Redmond who was determined to make a family show that didn’t duck the serious issue that children and teachers all faced. The show would centre around the kids with the teachers being prominent but not drowning out the stories of the pupils. The themes were the relationship between the teachers and students and how they were evolving in light of new educational studies and the phasing out of corporal punishment.
The first series only ran for nine episodes. The BBC were reluctant to run such a show given the subject matter that Redmond was proposing to cover. Secondly they were concerned that children would not want to see more school having only just left on their own some 2 hours before.
However the show proved a hit and began to show a semi accurate portrayal of school life. Some of this proved enlightening to parents. The subject of drugs was graphically shown with the descent of popular fresh faced character Zammo Mcguire. It was unsettling to see the boy fall so far over the years. Abuse, learning disorders and relationship issues plus sexuality were all approached and the writers had to tow a fine line between entertainment and drama. The show ended in 2008 but Redmond has plans to revive it. It will certainly need to take in things like Websites for schools such as those from fsedesign.co.uk/websites-for-schools into account and the way the digital age has affected schools.