The BBC has finally expelled Grange Hill, the school-based drama that for the last 30 years encouraged conscientious school kids to become stroppy little hooligans at best and soap actors at worst.
After three decades of snot-nosed caperings both the Beeb and the show’s creator Phil Redmond have decided the school saga has lost its point.
From its first episode in 1978, which kicked off with high-adrenaline footage of Tucker Jenkins racing to beat the school bell while scoffing a slice of toast, the programme caused outrage amongst the Daily Mail reading classes with its gritty depiction of life in a tough inner city comprehensive, which may or may not have been in London.
It depicted a world where “kids” were forever gobbing off about extreme human rights abuses such as being forced to wear a school uniform or call male teachers "Sir" - all the while dodging fearsome bullies such as Booga Benson and Gripper Stebson and saying “flipping ‘eck”.
Early storylines included Cathy Hargreaves becoming a compulsive shoplifter after being stalked by a man who turned out to be her estranged dad, Zammo Maguire turning into a hopeless smackhead by 1983, Danny Kendal doing a bunk with Bronson’s car, and numerous kids hurling themselves off sheds, shopping centres etc.
As the 80s drew to a close things got even grittier, with teen pregnancies and the like. Or at least that’s what our younger siblings told us, as we’d gone to college by then and stopped watching.
The program was accused of killing off any vestigial deference amongst British school pupils and parents towards teachers. In fact, for all its social conscience Grange Hill was probably the best recruiting agent private education ever had in the UK.
Even worse, it gave producer Phil Redmond a launching pad to make the even more groundbreaking and ultimately even gloomier Brookside, not to mention Hollyoaks, a program with all the social depth and conscience of a Cheshire-grown fembot.
The IT angle? The more mature readers may remember a storyline involving computer studies teacher, Miss Lexington, otherwise known as Sexy Lexxy. Which she was, in a very late 70s kind of way. ®