Would YOU watch Corona-nation Street? Grange Hill creator Sir Phil Redmond says a pandemic soap with anti-vax storyline would be ‘fantastic drama’ but claims broadcasters are too scared of upsetting people
Renowned TV producer Sir Phil Redmond wants to see a soap featuring an anti-vax storyline after writing a spoof show called ‘Corona-nation Street’ during lockdown.
The creator of shows including Brookside and teen drama Grange Hill – infamous for its hard hitting storylines including heroin addiction and suicide – appeared on the breakfast show after receiving a knighthood yesterday for services to broadcasting and arts.
Sir Phil, who made headlines in the 90s after Brookside broadcast the first female same-sex kiss before the 9pm watershed, called on broadcasters to ‘find more courage’ when it comes to programming, and tackle some of the real-life issues that are often more dramatic than fictional ones.
Sir Phil said the anti-vaccine issue ‘would be a fantastic storyline’ on a programme like Coronation Street
Good Morning Britain hosts Adil Ray and Susanne Reid interviewed veteran TV creator Sir Phil Redmond – best known for shows like Grange Hill and Brookside
Among the hard hitting topics he’d like to see on television is the Covid pandemic.
‘I think the real secret is trying to plug into what’s actually going on around us,’ he revealed.
‘I think the pandemic in the last couple of years has shown us that there’s far more drama to be had in the real world than there is by people sitting in rooms trying to manufacture it.’
He told hosts Susanne Reid and Adil Ray that ‘socially relevant, hard hitting drama’ has had no ‘backbone’, saying it has ‘lost its way and needs to find its way back’, blaming broadcasters for lacking courage rather than producers and writers.
Discussing how his wrote a spoof soap ‘Corona-nation Street’ during lockdown, Susanna asked Sir Phil if he thinks there should be a long-running programme featuring the pandemic.
He said: ‘I’m a little bit surprised and irritated that people downed tools so easily because one of the things about our game is you can put things together with people at distance.
‘I was surprised they didn’t get hold of it as it was obvious it was going to run on for a long long time.
‘Just take the anti-vaccine thing at the moment…it would be a fantastic storyline for something like [Coronation Street] or you could go back to [Brookside]…where you have a community where there are some people who are vaccinated and boosted and the people next door are refusing to get vaccinated.
‘Someone else works for the NHS. All those different perspectives, it would be fantastic drama on television.’
He added that broadcasters should ‘not worry about upsetting people’ because the more contentious a topic appears to be, the more the audience appreciates it.
Discussing his smash hit show Grange Hill, and whether it could make a comeback, Sir Phil said he was too old to reboot it, but that there is space for that kind of programming.
TV lovers took to Twitter to congratulate Sir Phil on his Knighthood, with many feeling nostalgic after hearing the Grange Hill theme tune playing on GMB
Fans of Sir Phil’s shows took to Twitter following the interview to congratulate him on receiving his honour.
One wrote: ‘Congratulations to Sir Phil Redmond for his Knighthood. I was fortunate enough to work for him as Estate Manager years ago and later on, for a short time on a personal level. He absolutely deserves this award for his contribution let alone his unbelievable charitable nature.’
Another added: ‘Hearing the Grange Hill and Brookside themes on GMB this morning has took me right back to my childhood / youth! Wow.. Warmed my heart that did! Arise Sir Phil Redmond!’
A third wrote: ‘Waking up to hear that the brilliant Phil Redmond has been given a knighthood. Well deserved and long overdue #Brookside #GrangeHill were the definite favourites.’