Set in a fictional London comprehensive school, Grange Hill was, from the off, a gritty and down-to-earth programme, far out of keeping with the childrens shows of the time. Introducing pupils such as those mentioned back at the start (and not for nothing is Tucker regarded as the first hero of the show), they were matched by a now-legendary roster of teachers: who can forget Mr Baxter the PE teacher, for instance?
The secret to Grange Hills success is inherent in these two maiden series. And it was the marrying up of a terrific cast of characters to storylines that felt real, without any attempt to gloss anything up. Plus, while its Tucker and his gang that are at the centre of much of the drama, theres plenty going on in the background too to hold your attention. Nostalgics may be surprised at just how much they remember!
But does it all hold up today? Absolutely. This is Grange Hill arguably at its rawest, and its all the better for it. And while controversial storylines would really push things out in the years to follow, its surprising just how well these early episodes have endured. Whether youre new to Grange Hill or not, this DVD set is a real treasure from the archives, and a long overdue release. --Simon Brew