CBBC unveils new dramas
Anne Gilchrist, Controller, CBBC, today announced a raft of exciting new dramas and returning favourites for CBBC.
Super sleuths, investigators, spies, a singing family and the tales of a cartoon boy trapped in the real world will all come together for a truly fantastic drama line-up.
From the makers of Doctor Who, The Sarah Jane Adventures returns for a second series of alien investigations and, from the makers of Spooks, the kids from M.I. High are back for a third action-packed gadget laden series.
New to the CBBC drama family are Half Moon Investigations about crime, corruption and general wrong doing in the school playground; We Are Family (working title), following the colourful and heart-warming comedic adventures of a singing family who are a talk show's resident pop group; Roy, the story of an extraordinary cartoon boy marooned in the real world; and Paradise Café, a beachside mystery with a supernatural twist.
Anne Gilchrist says: "Drama is at the heart of CBBC and we are very excited about these new and returning commissions. As well as the titles we're announcing today, we are also developing an exciting drama based in the north-east of England for 2009/10 and a project from Lime Pictures with writer Jeanette Winterson. The dramas will be from across the UK, and I am extremely proud of such a strong line-up."
As part of the changes to the drama line-up, CBBC is also bidding a fond farewell to Grange Hill after 30 fantastic years, and, at the end of the series to air later this year, the gates will close for the last time.
Anne continues: "Part of CBBC's reputation for reflecting contemporary Britain back to UK children has been built upon Phil Redmond's brilliantly realised idea and of course it's sad to say goodbye to such a much-loved institution. The lives of children have changed a great deal since Grange Hill began and we owe it to our audience to reflect this.
"We're actively seeking out new and exciting ways of bringing social realism to the CBBC audience through drama and other genres.
"Yesterday we announced two Newsround Specials tackling divorce and knife crime and we will continue to make programmes about the ups and downs of contemporary Britain."
Jon East, Head of CBBC Drama, says: "For 30 years, Grange Hill has become a byword for realistic and contemporary children's drama. It's now time to apply what we've learned over the years to some of the new ideas we're exploring."
Tony Wood, Creative Director of Lime Pictures, says: "It has been a privilege to be involved with one of the great titles in the history of British television. I am proud of the relationship that Lime has built and maintained with the BBC over the past few years and look forward to working with them on future projects."
Notes to Editors
CBBC is the BBC's channel for 6 to 12-year-old children, dedicated to mixed genre programming.
CBBC offers a varied schedule of high quality drama, factual and entertainment programming alongside an extremely strong online presence. It aims to be informative and entertaining, involving, inspiring and empowering for children in their primary school years.
Following the relaunch of the channel in September 2007, CBBC's reach is now 37%, up from 27% last year. Share is now 10%, up from 7%.
In 2007, CBBC won eight BAFTA awards at the British Academy Children's Awards including Best Drama, Best Entertainment, Best Animation and Best Factual.
- Half Moon Investigations
13 x 30'
- We Are Family (working title)
13 x 30'
CBBC in-house production
13 x 30'
Executive producers: John Rice for JAM and Sue Nott for CBBC
- Paradise Café
13 x 30'
Executive producers: Christopher Pilkington for Initial and Sue Nott for CBBC
- M.I. High
13 x 30'
Executive producers: Stephen Garrett for Kudos and Sue Nott for CBBC
- The Sarah Jane Adventures
12 x 30'
Executive producers: Russell T Davies, Julie Gardner for BBC Wales and Sue Nott for CBBC
Grange Hill storylines
Grange Hill has entertained viewers for 30 years with a mix of gritty storylines and high jinx from its wonderfully unreconstructed pupils.
But it hasn't always been about contentious storylines – there have also been some great fun moments.
In 1981, Tucker helped Tommy stow away on a cross-channel ferry trip, Roland was too fat to fit through the turnstiles at a zoo in 1982, Mr Bronson had his toupee stolen by Gonch and Hollo in 1985, and the perennial animal on the loose at school storylines featured in almost every series!
- On Wednesday 8 February 1978, Grange Hill opened its doors for the first time, and changed the face of children's television. Phil Redmond's hard-hitting teen drama went on to become the UK's longest-running children's series, and Tucker Jenkins became an anti-hero for a generation of children.
- The first series caused outrage amongst parents, and a branch of the Women's Institute in Somerset even called for it to be banned. Series two became a twice-weekly format, and Grange Hill became an issue-led programme. The canteen protest by the Student Action Group in 1979 even led to a debate in Parliament, and Jessica Samuels, Trish Yates and Cathy Hargreaves called for the abolition of the school uniform, which led to them storming the office of headmaster.
- In 1982, Tucker Jenkins was written out of the series, but Tucker, Alan Humphries and Tommy Watson appeared in the spin-off show Tucker's Luck.
- Perhaps the most controversial storyline was in 1986 when Zammo Maguire descended into heroin addiction. This led to the hugely successful Just Say No campaign, which peaked at No. 5 in the charts, and raised £103,000 for the Standing Conference on Drug Abuse (SCODA). In May of that year, the cast and crew were invited to The White House by Nancy Reagan, who was involved the American Just Say No project.
- Teenage pregnancy featured in 1992 when Chrissy Mainwaring became a schoolgirl mum. In 1995, the show tackled the subject of AIDS, which resulted from the death of Lucy Mitchell's mother. Mr Brisley became Grange Hill's first gay teacher and he encountered homophobia from some of the school's pupils. The show has always reflected what is happening in the real world, and in 1998 it looked at the ever-increasing problem of knife culture, with the knifing of Judi Jeffreys.
- In February 2005, Alex Pickering was bullied for his obesity and attempted suicide.
The new term
- For the final series, Grange Hill viewers will be introduced to the school's youngest pupils to date – Grange Primary's Year 6. Serena Sulli, who is in Year 6, will be introduced to the main school via the CLC (Community Learning Centre). But will her visit to the CLC give her a taste of what's to come when she finally arrives at "big" school?
- Year 7's newest recruits, Theo and Laxo, are set to become a class act when they get caught up in all sorts of high jinx. There's also a new face in Year 8 – Ducket. Ducket's real name is something of a mystery and is known only to officialdom.
- Mr McDonnell is back with a new post – Deputy Head. Controlling the anarchy that is Grange Hill comp isn't so much of a worry to Mr McDonnell. However, he sometimes wonders why he took the job when he has to contend with three siblings from the Johnson family all at the same time!