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Last Updated: Saturday, 12 June, 2004, 08:05 GMT 09:05 UK
Redmond honoured for drama success
Phil Redmond
Redmond trained as quantity surveyor, but quit to work in TV
TV scriptwriter and producer Phil Redmond has been made a CBE for his services to drama.

The Liverpudlian was the creator of the ground-breaking children's TV drama Grange Hill, which began on the BBC in 1978, and Channel 4's Brookside.

Grange Hill addressed issues affecting young people, including drugs and child abuse, which had rarely been broached, as well as the trivialities of day-to-day school life.

Speaking of his honour, Redmond said: "It was totally unexpected and completely out of the blue.

I was actually surprised at how pleased I was, it's pretty cool
Phil Redmond on his CBE
"I was surprised initially, it's an odd feeling because you never ever think to yourself, 'I wonder if I'll ever receive a CBE'.

"I was actually surprised at how pleased I was, it's pretty cool."

Born in 1949, Redmond is proud of his comprehensive schooling and trained as a quantity surveyor, but gave this up to concentrate on forging a TV career.

He later returned to education, attending Liverpool University as a mature student, taking a degree in social studies.

Grange Hill
Grange Hill has always been praised for tackling tough issues
Grange Hill has enjoyed long-running success, still running today after 26 years, with Redmond still executive producer.

In 1982, he set up Mersey Television and began producing Brookside. The soap was one of the first programmes seen on Channel 4.

The now defunct soap ran for 21 years, with later outlandish plots including an armed siege, a religious cult moving into the close and sibling incest.

But Redmond also got involved with social issues such as adult literacy, working with the Department of Education during the National Year of Reading, weaving in relevant storylines.

Difficult issues

Other causes close to his heart are The Samaritans, the Liverpool Bone Marrow Trust and drug awareness.

In 1995, Redmond launched a youth soap, Channel 4's Hollyoaks. The show has gone from twice weekly to five nights a week.

Brookside ended in 2003
Brookside ended in 2003 after 21 years on screens
Although it had a shaky start, with the acting coming in for heavy criticism, Hollyoaks was eventually praised for tackling difficult issues such as male rape.

In 1996, Redmond was elected as Fellow of Royal Society of Arts

And the following year, he was also appointed vice chair of the newly created North West Film Commission and became a patron of the commission two years later.

His Mersey Television boasts of being one of the biggest employers in the independent production company sector, with 300 permanent staff and 150 freelancers.

When the axe finally fell on Brookside, Redmond vented his anger about the treatment the show received from Channel 4.

He kept his faith in the show, even when it was moved from its weekday evening slots to a single Saturday episode.

But this was not enough to save the soap, which ended in 2003.

Redmond's is currently working on a courtroom drama to be screened on Channel 4.

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