on 20 May 2008
Surely one of the longest-awaited DVD releases of the last fifteen years, the seminal school drama created by Phil Redmond is a nostalgic treat for anyone of a certain age - even those whose parents wouldn't let them watch the first time around! The first few bars of the iconic theme tune (in all its quirky glory) set the tone, and you are instantly transported back to the fag-end of the 1970s when Thatcher first set out her stall, Punk was in its prime and Tom Baker was saving the universe as Doctor Who.
Series one looks and feels fairly dated but despite this the context is recognisable to anyone who has ever started secondary school and to the legions of bullies' victims and angst-ridden pubescents down the ages (so basically most people over eleven!) The fashions, transport and mannerisms may be archaic but Peter `Tucker' Jenkins, Benny Green, Alan Hargreaves (later Humphries), Trisha Yates and Justin Bennett are, and always have been, in every school throughout the land. The series' first proper bully - the odious Michael Doyle - wheedles and whines his way throughout, whilst the teachers are also well-represented by the legendary `Bullet' Baxter, too good to be true form master Mr Mitchell and soppy music teacher `Sooty' Sutcliffe. Other notable characters from the first series are the hilarious Hughes, prototype-Imelda Davies Jackie Mann and thoroughly wet girls Ann Wilson and Judy Preston, both with RP accents to die for. Interestingly, seemingly key characters have been weeded-out by the second series; sadistic games master `Doctor' Foster and sensitive art teacher Mrs Preston disappear without mention whilst Judy moves to Brookdale and Ann is dismissed by Trisha as having `moved away' during half-term. Original headmaster Mr Starling is replaced by Mr Llewellyn and Tucker's sidekick Watson also just fades away. This is one of the things that kept the programme fresh and by the end of the second series Grange Hill was clearly here to stay.
Playground `high-jinks' are mixed with more serious issues such as racism and theft, generally in a non-patronizing way and with all credit to the raw cast. Series 2 is definitely more confident in its approach and gives Tucker and co. less exposure in favour of other characters such as the dull Andrew Mann and half-Greek Antonio. Cathy Hargreaves and Suzi McMahon are brought on board to replace Ann and Judy and Justin is gradually relegated to a supporting role, dozy Simon Shaw rising to prominence in his stead. Series 2 focuses on the new Head and his controversial timetable reforms as well as bringing tragedy and pyrotechnics to `The Hill' in what would set the tone for series' to come.
Overall this is a great buy and I can't wait to get hold of series 3 & 4. Let's just hope that further series are forthcoming on DVD with the anticipation of Gripper, Roland, Zammo and Precious Matthews lying tantalisingly around the corner...
on 29 November 2007
I began at the local comprehensive school in September 1977, and Grange Hill first appeared on TV in 1978. So I am Tucker and Trisha generation.
The series was terrific, right from the first. Times were hard and often brutal in the 1970s - this was the era of Punk, Sid and Nancy and the Winter of Discontent and Grange Hill never shied away from the realities of life.
The Benny Green/Michael Doyle racism storyline was absolutely groundbreaking in children's drama.
Grange Hill was a tremendous influence on schoolchildren across the land, I remember my own school set up a school council, based on the Grange Hill model, in 1980!
The militancy of the kids as they confronted the school uniform issue in series 2 was another sign of the times.
Whatever type of child you were - a jack-the-lad Tucker Jenkins, studious Justin, up-front Trisha or terrified Judy, this show is for you. And the setting is not a pretend, romanticised 1970s - it IS the 1970s. So much has changed - back then there was no World Wide Web, no mobile phones...
But the adventures of Trisha, Tucker and co in the big bad comprehensive school are as compelling now as they were way back then!
on 12 August 2011
I am pleased that the BBC have released Doctor Who (especially the Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker eras), but I would also like the BBC re-issue and release the first twelve series (1978 to 1989 along with the 1981 and 1985 Christmas Specials, and the 1988 Documentary - Behind the Scenes 'Grange Hill' as a special feature) of Grange Hill from Tucker Jenkins, Trisha Yates, Alan Humphries, Benny Green and Justin Bennett first day at Grange Hill to Series 12 with Grange Hill waving goodbye to Ziggy Greaves, Gonch Gardiner, Vince Savage, Helen Kelly, legendary and 'dearly departed' teenaged rebel Danny Kendall and the most legendary 'toupee' and 'bowtie' wearing French Teacher of all time Mr Maurice Bronson played excellent with great passion by the legendary Star Wars and Doctor Who actor Michael Sheard.
I hope the BBC brings out the 'Golden Age of Grange Hill' on DVD, and introduce us to the legends, such as as legendary Head Misteress Mrs Bridget McCluskey, Mr Tony Mitchell, Mr Jeff 'Bullet' Baxter, Mr Richard Keating, Mr Graham Sutcliffe, Miss Terri Mooney, Mr Stuart 'Hoppy' Hopwood, Mr Bill 'Scruffy' McGuffy, Mr Nick Smart, Mr Craig McKenzie, Miss Gilly Booth, Mrs Liz Reegan, Mr Peter Robson, Mr Peter King, School Caretaker Mr Eric Griffiths, Zammo McGuire, Roland Browning, Faye Lucas, Annette Fireman, Johan Jones, Kevin Baylon, Julie Merchant, Janet StClair, Cheryl and Louise Webb, Jackie and Robbie Wright, Paul 'Hollo' Holloway, Trevor Cleaver, Cally Donnington, Veronica 'Ronnie' Burtles, Fiona Bishop, Georgina Hayes, Ant Jones, Julia Glover, Freddie and Chrissy Mainwaring, Laura Reegan, Matthew Pearson, Terrance 'Tegs' Radcliffe, Justine Dean, and the two in-'famous' bullies who made every teacher and pubils lives a misery and an absolute nightmare at Grange Hill Norman 'Gripper' Stebson and Imelda Davis, and many more (got character's names from Wikipedia). Please, please release this classic 1970s and 1980s legendary drama for the young at heart and for everyone who remembers the 1986 Anti-Drug song 'Just Say No'.
Naturally viewing this series as an adult is not the same as when I saw it as a child. Back then the thought of going to a "big" school was scary and grown up and Grange Hill managed to both frighten and entertain me back then. Watching this DVD, not only did numerous plots come back to me, two other things struck me, the first no doubt a cliche by now:
1 Things were easier back then. Parents used more discipline, teachers were more respected and children were better behaved. In many ways, the Grange Hill of 1978 was an almost twee institution compared to a typical school and it's problems today. It's funny to think that 30 years ago many of the issues raised in this show were seen as too controversial and gritty for child viewing.
2 Certain curios on the show, long forgotten, zoomed me back in an instant to when I was very young - the leather purse necklace worn by Madeline Tanner. I had one, I'd totally forgotten about it and seeing them again brought fresh memories of when I'd purchased it as a 6 year old. I could even smell the texture of it. The shopping mall scene - kitsch plastic fountains, garish public seating and facades of shops no longer in existence.
I would highly recommend this dvd - the plotlines are enjoyable and the timeline a nostalgic treat. Tucker Jenkins and Trish Yates became household names and deserve to be brought to a new generation of schoolkids.
on 6 December 2007
I have been waiting and searching for Grange Hill DVD's for quite some time, and was delighted to see them on Amazon's site. They have not disappointed. I watched Grange Hill as a child in the seventies, couldn't wait to get home from school, and although I am not running home from work to watch it now, I was pleasantly surprised that time has not covered Grange Hill in rose tinted spectacles. It is truly as good as I remembered. Buy it, you won't regret it!
on 15 January 2008
Being of 1981 vintage, I'd never seen episodes of Grange Hill this far back - Tucker and Pogo were names banded around on nostalgia websites for those of us who remember the Bronson era of Grange Hill. I liked it then, and I still like it now. Well written with great humour and sadness in measure. I view Grange Hill as the Sweeney of kids tv - a show that took the rule book and tore it up. Ok fashions have changed and production budgets have increased, but shows that broke the mould and for that remain favourites. Every episode see's poor Tucker in more trouble, but then along would come an episode where Tucker is the real hero and saves the day, in a moment that cant fail to put a smile on your face. The only downside I see is the akward boxes, I struggle to get the discs out without a fight!
on 9 August 2012
I may be only 10 years old but even a child from this generation can see the quality of 70's childrens TV. Head back to 1978 London with Tucker and Trisha and the rest of the Grange Hill gang. I felt poor Benny Green's pain as he suffered getting a severe telling off from his head teacher after failing to have any football boots, Justin's embarrassment when Tucker steals his school trousers in the changing rooms, Judy's fear when she is being bullied by the older girls. Grange hill is a childrens show which tackles harder subjects such as racism, bullying, and more! 10/10, wonderful show, great price I highly recommend! Buy it now, while you have the chance!
on 8 March 2009
I have nearly finished watching series 1 and 2 and am addicted - can't wait to buy next set. Can't believe the story lines - shoplifting , bullying , stealing , racist bullying , school protests , truancy , girls being followed , detention even corporal punishment !!! Can't believe my parents let me watch it !! Some episodes could never be shown on TV in this PC age . It is great to see it again - the old fave characters , fab sarcastic Mitch and Baxter . All those who remember it - treat yourselves to a great era and relive it all again !!
on 19 April 2015
I started high school in 1978 and now i have a son starting this year in august. Bought these dvds and we watched them back to back over a weekend!!
My son loves them and i tthoroughly enjoyed them too. Was a bit shocked at some of the racism in the first series, seems incredible that could have ever been acceptable but these are a must buy for anyone who grew up with grange hill and my son proves today's kids can enjoy them too.
on 6 March 2009
I started secondary school in 1978 when Grange Hill started. I was an avid watcher for many years, following the exploits and Tucker and the gang (I also enjoyed Tucker's Luck).
I can't remember when I stopped watching, but am glad the BBC has released these episodes. I do remember watching the very last episode for nostalgic reasons. It was awful, not a patch on these originals.
I am now watching them with my 8 yr old daughter who absolutely loves them. "Jenkins," said Mitchell. "What sir, me sir, no sir." These are lines she trots out all the time. Whatever happened to old Mitch?
A must for anyone aged between 30-40