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Andrew Hayden-Smith as Ben in Byker Grove

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Byker Grove to close its doors after 17 years


Category: Children's

Date: 11.05.2006
Printable version


Richard Deverell, Controller BBC Children's, today announced that after 17 years, 18 series and 344 episodes, the next series of Byker Grove will be the last.

 

The decision comes as CBBC focuses more tightly on the primary school age-group as its core audience, a decision born out of the BBC's Creative Future recommendations.

 

Richard Deverell said: "The time has come for us to say a fond farewell to Byker Grove and I would like to thank all the people who have been involved in the show over the years for their valued contribution.

 

"It has been a great programme for CBBC with some ground breaking storylines over the years.

 

"It has spawned some excellent talent both on and off screen and the production has always been of the highest standard.

 

"We've made the decision after considering carefully how it fits with our portfolio of programmes and services and our focus on the primary school age group."

 

Ivan Rendall, Managing Director, Zenith Entertainment, said: "Having been involved with Byker Grove for around 15 years it will be the end of an era.

 

"It's sad that Byker Grove won't be returning to CBBC but Zenith is working on a number of exciting projects for the future."

 

Byker Grove was originally created by Adele Rose and blasted onto screens as a pilot back in the autumn of 1989.

 

It was commissioned for a series, which started in 1990 by the then BBC Children's Commissioner Anna Home.

 

Set in the Byker district of Newcastle upon Tyne in and around the Grove, the show portrays the lives of children aged 11 to 16.

 

Byker Grove has always tackled thought provoking and controversial storylines including drug addiction, child abuse, teenage pregnancy and abortion.

 

In 1995 it became the first children's drama to tackle the subject of homosexuality when Noddy Fishwick kissed his close friend Gary Hendrix at the back of a cinema.

 

The series has also been responsible for launching the careers of Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnally (Ant & Dec) who played P.J. and Duncan and who also had success in the pop charts as P.J. & Duncan aka.

 

Other original Grovers were Donna Air, Jill Halfpenny and CBBC presenter Andrew Hayden-Smith.

 

A number of other pop acts also emerged as the result of the Grove including Crush (Donna Air (Charlie Charlton) and Jayni Hoy (Leah Carmichael)), Point Break (Brett Adams (Noddy), David Oliver (Marcus Bewick)) and Summer Matthews (Emma Miller).

 

Zenith Entertainment is working on other ideas for BBC Children's as part of the current commissioning round.

 

BBC Children's continues its commitment to North East production and will look to commission a new drama from the region for 2008.

 

The final series of Byker Grove will go out on CBBC ONE in September 2006.

 

Byker Grove Fact Sheet

 

Byker Grove started in Autumn 1989.

 

Byker Grove launched the careers of Ant & Dec, Jill Halfpenny, Donna Air and Andrew Hayden-Smith.

 

Ant and Dec first appeared on screen as P.J. and Duncan - Duncan in episode one and PJ in series two episode 14.

 

Ant and Dec returned to Byker Grove in October 2000 for the funeral of Geoff, the indefatigable manager of the youth club who died in an accidental gas explosion.

 

There have been a number of deaths in Byker Grove in 16 years including Geoff the youth club manager in a gas explosion in 2000; Flora from a brain tumour in 1997; Ben Carter who was knocked down and fatally injured by Craig on the Quayside in 2003; Gill in a car crash in 1990 and Jemma who was electrocuted in 1994.

 

In 1995 Byker Grove became the first British children's drama to broach the subject of homosexuality when Noddy Fishwick kissed his close friend Gary Hendrix at the back of a cinema.

 

Pop acts to be spawned from Byker Grove include P.J. and Duncan aka, Crush, Point Break and Summer Matthews.

 

Others who appeared in Byker Grove over the 18 series include Denise Welch who played Lisa, Donna's step mother in series one, and Roger Lloyd Pack who appeared as Beckett in series two.

 

The theme tune for Byker Grove was written and produced by The Kane Gang.

 

KH

 

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Category: Children's

Date: 11.05.2006
Printable version

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The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



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