Phil Redmond Grange Hill Creator Given Knighthood
The man who created TV shows Grange Hill, Brookside and Hollyoaks, is to be given a knighthood for services to broadcasting and arts.
Merseyside-born Phil Redmond, 71, quit his job as a surveyor in the 1970s and became responsible for some of the most gritty shows on British television.
The son of a bus driver and a cleaner, Redmond based his ideas for Grange Hill on his own school – St Kevin’s, Kirkby.
He was previously appointed CBE in 2004 for services to drama.
Mr Redmond said he was “proud” to receive the honour for his work in broadcasting and arts in the north-west region in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
He said he was as “proud” of his work when Liverpool was European Capital of Culture as he was of his TV achievements.
“It shows what can be done if you follow your dream,” he said.
Redmond, whose first job was a quantity surveyor, began to write jokes for comedian Les Dawson and others, and decided to try his hand at full-time scriptwriting, quitting his job in 1972.
After studying sociology at the University of Liverpool, he wrote episodes for the ITV sitcom Doctor In Charge and ITV children’s series The Kids From 47a.
His big break came with Grange Hill, a series about a London comprehensive school, which, in his words, took BBC children’s TV away from “Enid Blyton, middle-class drama”.
The popular show ran from 1978 to 2008 and made headlines for its gritty social realism, tackling issues such as racism, drug abuse, teen pregnancy, mental illness and HIV and Aids.
The same thematic approach led to his soap Brookside, which ran from Channel 4’s launch night in 1982 until 2003.
Filmed in brand new houses in a cul-de-sac close to a real-life housing estate in Liverpool, it became the base for his production company.
The series broadcast the first pre-watershed lesbian kiss on British television between Beth Jordache (Anna Friel) and Margaret Clemence (Nicola Stephenson).
In 1993, Redmond was brought in to shake up the ITV soap Emmerdale and devised a storyline that involved a plane crashing into the rural village, killing and wounding many of the inhabitants and giving the show its highest-ever viewing figures of 18m.
He turned back to youth drama with the launch of Hollyoaks in 1995.
An honorary professor of media at Liverpool John Moores University, he was the creative chair when Liverpool was European Capital of Culture in 2008 and led an unsuccessful bid to bring Channel 4 to the city.