Kids drama that introduced gay teachers is axed

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A children’s television programme that tackled gay themes is to cease production after 30 years on air.

Grange Hill caused controversy by introducing a gay teacher in 1992. Mr Brisley remained part of the fictional staff until 1999.

However, it was not the first controversy the show had stirred.

In the late 1970s it was tackling the dangers of paedophiles and in the 1980s it found unparalleled popularity with its campaign against heroin.

The character of Zammo and his fight against addiction led to the young cast releasing a hit single, Just Say No, and being invited to the White House to meet First Lady Nancy Reagan.

Grange Hill went on to tackle domestic abuse, rape, suicide, teenage pregnancy, disability, bullying and a range of other difficult issues.

Now, after eight head teachers and exactly 30 years, Children’s BBC has decided to axe the show.

CBBC controller Anne Gilchrist said:

“The lives of children have changed a great deal since Grange Hill began and we owe it to them to reflect this.

“We have to not confuse our own nostalgia for something that we loved for something that children will want nowadays.

“We think we have got a lot of exciting new shows coming up that will please them and challenge them equally as well as Grange Hill did in the past.”

There will be one final series, transmitted this year.

Grange Hill’s creator Phil Redmond told The Observer:

“I don’t like keeping things going when the point has been lost.

“I do now think the point of Grange Hill has been lost, and 30 years is a nice time for it to hang up its mortar board.”

The show launched the careers of several actors, among the EastEnders stars Todd Carty and Sean Maguire.