Page last updated at 19:08 GMT, Monday, 15 September 2008 20:08 UK

Grange Hill rings its final bell

Tucker Jenkins back at Grange Hill

The last episode of long-running BBC school drama Grange Hill has been shown on BBC One.

The programme, which first hit screens in 1978, featured the return of one of the original characters, Tucker Jenkins, played by actor Todd Carty.

The drama has tackled tough issues such as drugs and teenage pregnancy, but was axed after TV bosses said it no longer reflected modern children's lives.

The final episode saw an unexploded bomb being discovered under the school.

As pupils were preparing for their end of term prom, the WWII shell was found in the sewerage system.

'Emotional'

"It was a nice episode to go out on," Simon Luxton, webmaster of fan site Grange Hill Online, told the BBC News website.

"It was great to see Tucker and nephew Togger exchanging stories of their respective scrapes at the school and Tucker's acknowledgement of the 30th anniversary was a nice touch.

"As a fan it was emotional watching the last episode of a series that has been part of my life for many years, but having everyone just walking out of the school gates off into the sunset was a nice throwback to the very first scene in episode one and leaves the door open, as it were."

The programme's creator, Phil Redmond, said earlier this year that the drama had lost its hard-hitting purpose and that it was "time to hang up its mortar board".

Tucker Jenkins (right) in the final episode

The show's heyday is considered to be the early to mid-1980s, with gritty storylines including Zammo's drug addiction which led the programme to spearhead a "Just Say No" campaign.

But the final series has concentrated on the school's younger pupils.

Cult

Todd Carty said the secret of the show's success was that it was shot through a child's eyes and was never patronising.

"In those early days they weren't as hard hitting - I think I threw water bombs and was in the days when you could get a little knock around the head and no one would say anything, but it's just stood the test of time," he told BBC News.

"It's a generational thing - people of my age will remember Tucker and Benny and Trish, and then Zammo 10 years later."

Some of the teachers from the fictional school also became cult figures among viewers, including Mrs McClusky, who was head teacher from 1981 to 1991.

Actress Gwyneth Powell said earlier this year that the show's demise was both "sad and nostalgic", but agreed with Phil Redmond that its time was up.

Filming on the show was moved to Liverpool in 2003, and the series - which was originally set in north London - ceased to be set in a specific location.


SEE ALSO
BBC to shut gates on Grange Hill
06 Feb 08 |  Entertainment/Arts
In pictures: 30 years of Grange Hill
06 Feb 08 |  In Pictures
Mrs McClusky remembers her school
06 Feb 08 |  Entertainment/Arts

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