1) It Was One Of The Longest Running Programmes On UK TV
The show was first aired in 1978 on BBC1, and was one of the longest-running programmes on British television when it ended its run 30 years later in 2008.
2) Its Creator Was Also Responsible For Brookside and Hollyoaks
Grange Hill was created by Phil Redmond who was also responsible for the Channel 4 dramas Brookside and Hollyoaks.
3) The Famous 80s Theme Tune Was Written In One Hour
The original theme used from 1978 to 1989 was ‘Chicken Man’ by Alan Hawkshaw, a track composed in 1 hour before it was recorded during a session in Munich, Germany.
4) It Had A Future Academy Award Winner On Staff
Believe it or not, one of the show’s script editors went on to win Best Director at the Oscars. This was the late Anthony Minghella, who won the Best Director Academy Award for The English Patient in 1996, and was nominated for 3 more Academy Awards (Best Adapted Screenplay for both The English Patient in 1996 and The Talented Mr. Ripley in 1999, and a posthumous nomination for Best Picture for The Reader in 2008 as a co-producer).
5) Ziggy Was Named After David Bowie
Eric ‘Ziggy’ Greaves (played by George Christopher between 1986 and 1989) got his nickname from David Bowie’s alter ego Ziggy Stardust. This was because he was fond of spiders, and Ziggy Stardust’s backing band was called The Spiders From Mars.
6) We Never Found Out How Gonch Got His Nickname
John Holmes starred as Luke ‘Gonch’ Gardner for five series, but we never found out how Gonch got his nickname. It was also never explained how Douglas Patterson (played by Peter Moran) came by the nickname ‘Pogo’.
7) It Contained Some Traumatic Deaths
Antoni Karamanopolis (played by Vivian Mann) died in episode fifteen of series three after he fell off the roof of a car park during a game of dare. Jeremy Irvine drowned in series seven, and Danny Kendall died of an unnamed neurological disorder in series twelve. The trauma of at least 2 of these is still with us….
8) Zammo Eventually Kicked His Heroin Addiction
Samuel ‘Zammo’ Maguire was played by Lee MacDonald and is best remembered for the storyline in series nine when he got hooked on heroin. Zammo eventually kicked the habit and got engaged to school sweetheart Jackie Wright.
9) The Theme Tune Was Also Used For Another Show
A popular quiz show also used the same theme tune. It was called ‘Give Us a Clue’, but they used a very different arrangement of the song (and Grange Hill used it first)…
10) It Had A Spin-Off Show
Do you remember the name of the spin-off show? It was called Tucker’s Luck, it ran from 1983 to 1985, and it focussed on the two lead characters Tucker and Alan finding work.
11) The Cast Released Two Singles
The 1986 cast released ‘Grange Hill: The Album’, and two singles were released: ‘Just Say No’ and ‘You Know the Teacher (Smash Head)’. This album was re-released in 2007.
12) Some Tie-In Novels Were Released
There were 14 short-story books and novels published, some of which were written or co-written by series creator Phil Redmond.
13) There Was A Computer Game
In 1987 a computer game, simply called ‘Grange Hill’, was made for the Commodore 64, Sinclair ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC.
14) The 90s Theme Tune Was More Contemporary
I bet you also remember the more contemporary theme tune used from 1990, which was written by Peter Moss…
15) The 80s Cast Were Reunited On Screen In 2005
In 2005 Justin Lee Collins reunited some of the cast members from the 1980s in the documentary ‘Bring Back…Grange Hill’, which is well worth a watch if you haven’t seen it…
16) You Can Find The First Four Series On DVD
Two DVD box sets covering the first four series were released in 2007.
17) Tucker Appeared In The Show As Late As 2008
Grange Hill ended in September 2008 with a return appearance by Todd Carty, where Tucker persuaded his nephew Togger Johnson not to give up on school like he did.
18) It Ended With A Whimper
Other Than Todd Carty’s appearance there was no spectacular conclusion, the characters simply walked out of the school gates after their end of term prom.