Grange Hill set to return to our screens in 2023 - but not as you know it

Casting is set to begin soon and familiar faces may return to play parents and grandparents. Credit: PA

School drama Grange Hill is set to return as a film by the series' creator.

Writer, Sir Phil Redmond, who created the iconic series as well as Brookside and Hollyoaks, told the Guardian he had begun working with former collaborators last February on a film about a new generation of pupils at the London school.

Sir Phil told BBC Breakfast he has been asked nearly every day for the last 15 years to bring the show back.

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The groundbreaking show, set in a gritty London comprehensive, brought us characters such as Zammo, Tucker, Mrs McClusky and Roland. Casting for the film set to begin soon, and Sir Phil says he hopes familiar faces will make return to play parents and grandparents.

The original BBC show, which began in 1978 and aired for 30 years, did not shy away from hard hitting topic, covering drug addiction, teenage pregnancy, sexuality, homelessness, HIV, gun crime, disability, child abuse and cancer among other themes.

He said the movie version will also tackle subjects such as how children handle grief, social media and the purpose of education itself, as the ageing head fights a losing battle against a deputy eyeing up a promotion to run the proposed “superschool”.

"We’ve been through four school-rebuilding programmes in my lifetime, but it’s not about bricks and mortar, it’s about getting the best out of every pupil.

"How will ripping schools out of communities solve anything? Or making catchment areas so big that kids have to travel miles to be with their friends?

"That’s the thesis of the movie: it’s decided the school is costing too much to maintain so it should be knocked down, the land sold and proceeds used to build a new one and replenish local coffers," he said.

Phil Redmond at Buckingham Palace, after collecting an OBE from the Queen for services to drama in 2004. Credit: PA

"I've always had a strand about kids having the same emotions and fears, aspirations and phobias as everybody else.

"They only lack the life experience. Rather than riots in the dining hall, this time their voices are heard through social media, a rebuttal unit run by the school geek against council propaganda," he said.