Grange Hill movie in the works with original stars set to return
The film will be written by original series creator Sir Phil Redmond and directed by Jessica Samuels star Sara Sugarman.
45 years after it first aired on BBC One, classic children's drama series Grange Hill is set to receive the big screen treatment – and new details of the film have now been revealed by original series creator Sir Phil Redmond.
After the project was first announced last year, Deadline has now reported that the film will feature a story based in part on the character Jessica Samuels, who was played by Sara Sugarman on the show in 1979 and was head of the Grange Hill student action group.
Sugarman will be involved in the film herself in a directorial capacity, having reached out to Redmond to offer her services when she heard he was planning a movie reboot. She may also reprise her roles as Jessica, but told Deadline that she will "have to audition like everyone else".
Sugarman also confirmed to the publication that the film will "definitely" feature appearances from some of the original cast, saying: "It wouldn’t be Grange Hill without the Grange Hillers, and there will be some surprises."
Meanwhile, Redmond told Deadline that Jessica's character growth will be one of the film's central themes, and that it will tackle social issues in the same way that the original series did.
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He said: "We don’t want it to be like a lot of these things where they just take the characters, use the brand and throw something together. I wanted to think about how best we could revisit the show. In many ways, the only place I could feel comfortable doing it now is the cinema."
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The original series of Grange Hill ran for 31 seasons from 1978 until 2008 and centred on a comprehensive school in the fictional north London borough of Northam.
It was particularly known for tackling hard-hitting social issues including racism, drug addiction, teenage pregnancy, knife crime and alcoholism.