After 30 years, the BBC has finally decided to put Grange Hill out of its misery and has cancelled it, snapping it off like so much useless necrotic flesh. Many column inches have been filled with paeans to the golden years of this once-great British institution to mourn its passing. Lucy Mangan has a decent article up at The Guardian which reminded me of episodes lost to my memory years ago.
I don’t want to add to or compete with the glut of “Wasn’t Grange Hill great?” articles. (Largely written, I suspect, by people who haven’t watched it in 20 years. I reckon it hasn’t been worth watching for about that long anyway…)
No, I’m more interested in reminiscing about the day when I was in an episode of Grange Hill. Around 1985, I think. My school was approached by the makers of the show, and my entire school year was drafted in as extras with the odd line of dialogue. Cheap labour, I suppose. After all, we all had school uniforms. All we had to do was put on a Grange Hill school tie and, bam, we’re in costume.
My memories of that day are cloudy at best. But I do remember my class and the cast of the show interacting. They came across as a shower of drama-school shitheads, over-excited, cocky and interested only in showing off, flexing their pre-pubescent muscles, picking fights with us and driving the director insane by fucking about whenever the camera was rolling.
In the actual episode itself, I can be seen in the corner of the frame every now and then. I caught a rerun a couple of years ago. It was like a school photo with moving pictures. I wish I had a copy of it on VHS.
Oh well. Bye bye, weird little Danny Kendall and scary Mr. Bronson. Bye, Zammo, Tucker, Gonch and RowLand. And, as part of my Ongoing Lament that Opening Titles Used To Be Better, here is how I really remember Grange Hill. Badap bow bowwwww: