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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 May 2006, 11:46 GMT 12:46 UK
Byker Grove to end after 17 years
Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly
Byker Grove launched the careers of Ant and Dec
The next series of children's drama Byker Grove will be the last, the BBC has announced.

The show's cancellation comes as the CBBC programme strand begins to focus on a primary school audience.

Controller of children's programmes Richard Deverell called it "a great programme for CBBC with some ground-breaking stories".

Byker Grove has been running for 17 years, and launched the careers of Ant and Dec, and actress Donna Air.

The drama, which is set in a Tyneside youth club, was first shown as a pilot in 1989. A full series was commissioned the following year.

It has featured several hard-hitting storylines, including drug addiction, teenage pregnancy and abortion.

In 1995, it became the first children's drama to tackle the subject of homosexuality, when Brett Adam's character, Noddy Fishwick, kissed another boy in the back of a cinema.

Launchpad for success

Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly played PJ and Duncan in the programme before graduating to a career in pop music.

More recently they have found success as the hosts of ITV1's I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! and Saturday Night Takeaway. They recently made their film debut in Alien Autopsy.

The duo returned to Byker Grove in October 2000 to attend the funeral of youth club manager, Geoff, who died in an accidental gas explosion.

Other actors to have appeared in the series include Jill Halfpenny, Denise Welch and Roger Lloyd Pack.

The final series of Byker Grove will be broadcast in September on BBC One.

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