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Tuesday, 26 February, 2002, 12:27 GMT
Grange Hill could move north
Grange Hill
Grange Hill was first shown in 1978
BBC children's series Grange Hill will move its production base to Merseyside, if its original creator Phil Redmond takes over filming.

Mr Redmond's production company, Mersey Television, is "within days" of signing a deal to make the show, a BBC spokeswoman said.

Todd Carty as Tucker Jenkins
Characters like Tucker Jenkins could return
Phil Redmond handed over the reins to the programme 21 years ago, after he left the BBC in 1981 to set up his own company, makers of Brookside and Hollyoaks.

Mr Redmond has said he would gradually transform the fictional location of the school in north London to a more "androgynous comprehensive which could be anywhere in Britain".

Grange Hill was first shown in 1978 and began its 25th series earlier this month.

'Changing'

It has hooked generations of young viewers, and tackled many controversial issues over its 24-year life, including racism, drugs, glue-sniffing and truancy.

Mersey TV will use the same writers and directors on the series, but the base will be on Merseyside.

It is currently produced at the BBC's Elstree complex in Borehamwood, on the outskirts of north London, which is also home to EastEnders. BBC office buildings represent the school in exterior shots.

"Television is changing again. I want to take the show back to the eight to 11s, so I will be looking for another Tucker and Benny generation," Mr Redmond told the Liverpool Echo.

Tucker and Benny were two of the first big characters on Grange Hill.

Phil Redomond
Phil Redomond created Hollyoaks and Brookside
The show been a breeding ground for TV acting talent with Todd Carty, who played Tucker, and Susan Tully - who was Suzanne Ross - going on to appear in EastEnders, while Alex Kingston later found success in the US medical drama ER.

"I think it could do with a bit more fun and a bit more comedy," said Mr Redmond.

He added: "There will be scousers in it, but they will be behind the camera. We do have to accept that Grange Hill has been established as a north London school for some time."

He said eventually Liverpool actors would appear in the show but "they just won't have the universally blessed accent".

See also:

08 Feb 02 | TV and Radio
Redmond set to revamp Grange Hill
05 Jun 01 | Vote2001
Hollyoaks stars support Labour
28 Aug 01 | TV and Radio
The 100 Greatest TV Kids' Shows results
26 May 01 | Entertainment
EastEnders triumph at UK soap awards
04 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Grange Hill plans lesbian storyline
26 May 99 | Entertainment
Drugs downfall of child star
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