|Created by|| Adele Rose |
|Developed by|| BBC |
|Theme music composer|| Kane Gang |
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||18|
|No. of episodes||344|
|Executive producers|| Andrea Wonfor (1989–90)|
Ian Squires (1990–92)
Ivan Rendall (1992–95)
Matthew Robinson (1995–97)
|Producers||Matthew Robinson (1989–95)|
Helen Gregory (1995–97)
Stephen McAteer (1997–99)
Morag Bain (1999–01)
Edward Pugh (2002–05)
Tim Holloway (2006)
|Production location||Newcastle upon Tyne|
|Running time||25 minutes|
|Original network||BBC One (1989–2006)|
|Picture format|| 4:3 (1989–2000)|
|Original release||8 November 1989 –|
10 December 2006
Byker Grove is a British teen drama television series which aired between 1989 and 2006 as part of CBBC on BBC One. It was created by writer Adele Rose and executive producer Andrea Wonfor. The show was broadcast at 5:10pm after Newsround (later moved to 5pm). It was aimed at an older teenager and young adult audience, tackling serious and sometimes controversial storylines.
The show ran between 1989 and 2006, and was set in a youth club in the Byker district of Newcastle Upon Tyne, England. In 1987, Wonfor approached soap writer Adele Rose. Together they created a single pilot episode featuring children aged 8–11 at an out-of-school club (transmitted on BBC in 1988). In autumn 1988, Wonfor gained the backing of Anna Home, then Head of the Children's Department at BBC Television. Home gave the go ahead for a run of a series of six 25-minute episodes to be broadcast by the BBC. The age of the main characters was raised to 12–16 after support from first producer-director, Matthew Robinson. The first series centred on young teenagers crossing the bridge from childhood to adulthood.
Byker Grove was not filmed in the Byker area of Newcastle. The actual youth club set was in Benwell, which is in the west area of the city, Byker being in the east. Byker Metro station (the suburban rail network in Newcastle and the Tyne and Wear area) and other landmarks in the real Byker (such as the Byker Wall and surrounding estate) were used for filming backdrops.
The youth club building seen on-screen is The Mitre, which used to be a nightclub and a pub (which was mentioned in a few storylines from episodes in the late 1990s).After the success of the first series (6 episodes, 1989), The Mitre was bought by the BBC's London property department, which then granted Zenith Television a permanent licence to film the series there.
Scenes representing Denwell Burn Youth Club for Series 15 were filmed at Raby Street Youth Club, in the buildings next to Byker Primary School. This is the real youth club for the children of Byker.
The final series started on 7 October 2006 on the CBBC Channel. Richard Deverell, head of CBBC, was interviewed on Newsround about the decision to axe Byker Grove.
Byker Grove launched the careers of Anthony McPartlin ("P.J.") and Declan Donnelly ("Duncan"), who are otherwise known as Ant & Dec, as well as the actress Jill Halfpenny,Donna Air, former CBBC presenter Andrew Hayden-Smith and Emmerdale actors Dale Meeks, Charlie Hardwick, Chelsea Halfpenny, Laura Norton and Victoria Hawkins. Also appearing in the series was the now glamour model Francoise Boufhal ("Ellie Baines") and Charlie Hunnam, who later starred in the American TV series Sons of Anarchy and co-starred in Pacific Rim (2013).
The cast and crew from the first 10 years of the show held their first reunion on 19 May 2012 in the Quayside area of Newcastle upon Tyne and on a river boat cruise. The party guests included Ant and Dec, Donna Air, Charlie Hardwick and Andrew Hayden-Smith.
The founder producer/director (1989–95) was Matthew Robinson. After being promoted to become executive producer of Byker Grove for two years (1995–97), he became executive producer of EastEnders , then Head of Drama for BBC Wales, and now runs Khmer Mekong Films in Cambodia. Byker Grove was also home to writers such as Catherine Johnson (who went on to pen Mamma Mia! , the ABBA musical) and Matthew Graham ( This Life , Doctor Who and co-creator of BBC One's Life on Mars ). The first writer was Adele Rose–in Series 1 she wrote episodes 1–4 and 6; her daughter, Carrie Rose, wrote episode 5. The most prolific writer was Brian B. Thompson, who wrote 50 episodes over 12 series. Byker Grove gave Academy Award-winning director Tom Hooper his first break into TV drama when he directed four episodes in 1997.
Byker Grove was not intended for young children, but aimed at a young adult and teenage audience as it tackled some controversial subjects such as drug addiction, child abuse, homelessness, teen pregnancy, homophobia, and abortion. Although some of the action took place outside the youth club, the series was unusual among dramas in that the characters were rarely shown in school. One of the major settings was the foster home run by the kindly but strict Lou Gallagher, the longest-running character.
In November 1994, Byker Grove featured the first gay kiss on UK children's television.It broached the subject of "coming out" when Noddy Fishwick kissed his close friend Gary Hendrix at the back of a cinema. This scene caused outrage in the British tabloids and calls for producer Matthew Robinson to be sacked. However the BBC strongly backed the storyline, which received countrywide support from gay teenagers, many teachers, and parents. The 2004 series saw the character of Bradley agonising over his sexuality and eventually coming out as gay to his girlfriend Sadie, after a romantic holiday together had failed to live up to their expectations.
The series frequently depicted life as unjust, with bad things happening to good people, such as Flora's death from a brain tumour, Greg's fall from the roof of the Grove which left him paralysed from the waist down, Jemma Dobson being electrocuted by a faulty electricity mains socket and youth leader Geoff Keegan's death in an accidental gas explosion after 11 years on the show.
Byker Grove frequently confronted viewers with repercussions for the characters' actions, often permanent. These ranged from the comical to the tragic; characters who stole and joy-rode cars often died in them, starting with Gill, and ultimately Craig running over Ben Carter. P.J. was blinded during an illicit and unsupervised paintballing session, in which he ignored warnings and removed his face guard, in a scene filmed on location at Aydon Castle near Corbridge.
The central storyline of the first three series was the character of London teenager Julie Warner (Lucy Walsh) struggling to fit in and adjust to life in working class Newcastle and her relationship with the rebellious Martin "Gill" Gillespie. In the show's final episode the characters discover that they do not exist and are the creation of unseen characters known as "The Writers" who plan to conclude the show by demolishing the Grove. However numerous present and former Grove members buy enough time for the characters to re-write the ending so that the club will remain open forever.
Until Series 10 (1998) the rival youth club was known as Denton Burn. In Series 13 (2001) rival youth club members were known as the Denwell Burners as they were from a youth club in Denwell Burn. This is a fictitious area of Newcastle upon Tyne, the name coming from a mixture of Benwell and Denton Burn.
A number of musical acts have been spun off from the series. These include:
Other bands with links to Byker Grove include:
There have been several youth leaders working at the Grove over the years. The following is a list of all the ones shown on-screen.
|Geoff Keegan||Billy Fane||1989–2000 (character died)||Youth leader|
|Akili Johnson||Patrick Miller||2000–2006|
|Alison Fletcher||Vicky Murray||1989–1996||Assistant Youth Leader|
|Sian||Charlie Hardwick||1996–1999, 2000 (returned for Geoff's funeral)|
|Tina Meredith||Lynne Wilmot||2000–2002|
|Dom Meredith||Daymon Britton||2002–2006|
|Cher Coates||Jody Baldwin||2003 (former Grove member)|
|Chrissie Harrison||Sarah Lawton||2003–2006|
|Mary O'Malley||Lyn Douglas||1989–1991||Other staff|
|Rajeev Patel||Daniel Larson||1989|
|Steve "Brad" Bradley||Michael Nicholson||1989–1991, 1995|
|Dexter Dutton||Gavin Kitchen||1990–1992|
This is a list of characters who appeared in the show as members of the Grove from 1989 to 2006. (When surname is not listed, it is either unknown, or was never mentioned in the show)
|Donna Bell||Sally McQuillan||1989–91 (3 series)|
|Fraser Campbell||John Jefferson||1989–92 (4 series)|
|Kirsty "Spuggie" Campbell||Lyndyann Barrass||1989–92 (4 series)|
|Speedy Clark||Stephen Bradley||1989–92 (4 series)|
|Nicola Dobson||Jill Halfpenny||1989–92 (4 series)|
|Martin "Gill" Gillespie||Caspar Berry||1989–90 (2 series)|
|Winston Hardy||Craig Reilly||1989–92 (4 series)|
|Kelly||Louise Towers||1989–91 (3 series)|
|Hayley Oduru||Amanda Webster||1989–90 (2 series)|
|Andrew "Cas" Pearson||Niall Shearer||1989–90 (2 series)|
|Duncan Sperring||Declan Donnelly||1989–93; 2000 (returned for Geoff's funeral)|
|Julie Warner||Lucy Walsh||1989–91 (3 series)|
|Ian Webster||Craig Grieveson||1989–90 (2 series)|
|Carl||Peter Eke||1990–91 (2 series)|
|Marilyn "Charley" Charlton||Michelle Charles||1990–92 (3 series)|
|Debbie Dobson||Nicola Bell||1990–94; cameo 1995|
|Jemma Dobson||Nicola Ewart||1990–94 (5 series)|
|Joanne Gallagher||Michelle Warden||1990–92 (3 series)|
|Greg||Dale Meeks||1990–94 (appeared sporadically in the series)|
|Peter "PJ" Jenkins||Anthony McPartlin||1990–93; 2000 (returned for Geoff's funeral)|
|Jan Peterson||Marten Lind||1990 (1 series)|
|Robert||Christopher Hardy||1990–91 (2 series)|
|Paul Skerrett||Joe Caffrey||1990–92 (3 series)|
|Tessa Awe||Olive Simbo||1991–92 (2 series)|
|Marcus Bewick||David Oliver||1991–93 (3 series)|
|Amanda Bewick||Gemma Graham||1991–95 (5 series)|
|Danny Dimmoro||Steven Fox||1991 (1 series)|
|"Noddy" Fishwick||Brett Adams||1991–95 (5 series)|
|Angel O'Hagan||Vicky Taylor||1991–96; 2000 (returned for Geoff's funeral)|
|Bill Paul||Scott Paul||1991–92 (2 series)|
|Lee Ratcliffe||Rory Gibson||1991–94 (4 series)|
|Chrissy Van Der Berg||Lyndsey Todd||1991–92; 1995 (cameo)|
|Leah Carmichael||Jayni Hoy||1992–95 (4 series)|
|"Charlie" Charlton||Donna Air||1992–95 (4 series)|
|"Morph" Evans||Tracy Dempster||1992–93 (2 series)|
|Barney Hardy||Stephen Carr||1992–96 (5 series)|
|Teraise O'Hagan||Adele Taylor||1992–2001; 2003|
|Patsy Rowan||Justine McKenzie||1992–95 (4 series)|
|Frew||Luke Dale||1992–96 (5 series)|
|Ed Caseley||Grant Adams||1993–97 (5 series)|
|Kolton Evans||Stevie Lee Patterson||1993–94|
|Fran||Emma Louise Webb||1993|
|Marie Hallovan||Louise Mostyn||1993–96 (4 series)|
|Gary Hendrix||George Trotter||1993–96 (4 series)|
|Arran Hope||Neil Blackstone||1993–96 (4 series)|
|Flora McKay||Kerryann Christiansen||1993–97 (5 series)|
|Brigid O'Hagan||Joanne McIntosh||1993–98; 2000 (returned for Geoff's funeral)|
|Dale Puttifoot||Leslie Baines||1993–95 (3 series)|
|Alfie Turnbull||Andrew Smith||1993–97 (5 series)|
|Anna Turnbull||Claire Graham||1994–97 (5 series)|
|Terry Carter||Chris Woodger||1994–98; 2000; 2003|
|Karen Grant||Kimberly Dunbar||1994–2000 (7 series)|
|Laura Dobson||Emma Brierly||1995 (1 series)|
|Sita Rabi||Gauri Vedhara||1995–2000 (6 series)|
|Ben Carter||Andrew Hayden-Smith||1995–2003 (9 series)|
|Jack||Edward Scott||1995–99 (5 series)|
|Cher Coates||Jody Baldwin||1996–2000; 2003|
|Harry||Leah Jones||1996–2000 (5 series)|
|Mat||Sajid Varda||1996 (1 series)|
|Philip||Philip Miller||1996–97 (2 series)|
|Rob||Gavin Makel||1996–99 (4 series)|
|Nat Guinane||Alexia Gibb||1997–2001 (5 series)|
|Ollie Guinane||Louis Watson||1997–2001 (5 series)|
|Emma Miller||Holly Matthews||1997–2003 (7 series)|
|Jesus||Oz Reth||1997–2000 (4 series)|
|Leanne||Vikki Spensley||1997 (1 series)|
|Barry||Steven Douglas||1998–2000 (3 series)|
|Jake||Nick Figgis||1998–99 (2 series)|
|Laura McLaughlin||Louise Henderson||1998–2000; 2003|
|Regina O'Hagan||Jade Turnbull||1998–2003; 2005|
|Greg Watson||Gary Crawford||1998–2003 (6 series)|
|Nikki Watson||Siobhan Hanratty||1998–2002 (5 series)|
|Bradley Clayton||Nic Nancarrow||1999–2005 (7 series)|
|Liam||Pete Hepple||1999–2001 (3 series)|
|Matt||Adam Henderson-Scott||1999–2003 (5 series)|
|Adam Brett||Alex Beebe||2000–05 (6 series)|
|Luke Brett||Dominic Beebe||2000–05 (6 series)|
|Bill Dakin||Adam Ironside||2000–05 (6 series)|
|Joe Dakin||Chris Beattie||2000–02 (3 series)|
|Paul Johnson||Patrice Etienne||2000–03 (4 series)|
|Eve Johnson||Rory Lewis||2000–06*|
|"Stumpy" McLaughlin||Paul Meynell||2000–06*|
|Claire Rivers||Victoria Hawkins||2000–03 (4 series)|
|Jodie||Sophie Blench||2001–02 (2 series)|
|Leanne Henderson||Rachael Lee||2001–04 (4 series)|
|Stella Reece||Emma Littlewood||2001–03 (3 series)|
|Sarah Young||Sammy T Dobson||2001–05 (5 series)|
|Robert Hunter||Tom Graham||2002–06*|
|Beth McGregor||Jennifer Wilson||2002-03|
|Jamie Parker||Matthew Edgar||2002–06*|
|Anjali Rishan||Nisha Joshi||2002–04 (3 series)|
|Hayley Robinson||Heather Garrett||2002–06*|
|Mukasa||Simon Yugire||2002 (1 series)|
|Kate Best||Alex Gardner||2003–06*|
|Sadie Fox||Bridie Hales||2003–05 (3 series)|
|Spencer Murray||Leon Scott||2003–04 (2 series)|
|Mickey Murray||Daniel Waterston||2003–06*|
|Lucy Summerbee||Chelsea Halfpenny||2003–06*|
|Flip||Ian Daniell||2003 (1 series)|
|Ben Brett||Adam Hopper/Luke Hopper||2004 (1 series)|
|Scott Jackson||Matthew Forster||2004–05 (2 series)|
|Zoe McCormack||Hannah Clementson||2004–06*|
|Kevin McLaughlin||Joe McCabe||2004–06*|
|Andrew "Spud" Tate||Jamie Tulip||2004–06*|
|Kylie Wylie||Gayna Millican||2004–06*|
|Danielle Blake||Chloe Stanley||2005–06*|
|Candice Marie Harper||Kate Heslop||2005–06*|
|Jessica Jones||Julianne Johnson||2005–06*|
|Charlotte Murray||Altea Claveras||2005–06*|
|"Gadget" Tilbrook||Daniel Watson||2005–06*|
|Madelaine Watts||Anna Udall||2005 (1 series)|
|David||Oliver walker||2005 (1 series)|
|Nathan||Adam Gibb||2005 (1 series)|
|Vicky||Jo McGarry||2005 (1 series)|
|Jason Mason||Scott Turnbull||2006*|
|Toni Armitage||Hazel Pude||2006*|
|Jake Armitage||Cahyle Smith||2006*|
* Indicates character was still in the show when it finished.
+ In the books that accompanied the series, Duncan's surname was listed as MacDonald until 1992, despite it being stated in the show in his 1st appearance (Series 1, Episode 3) that it is Sperring.
Although most of the action took place in the Grove, several characters' home lives and families were also shown. Some families remained in the show for many years. The house next door to the Grove was home to the Dobson family (1990–93) followed by the Turnbulls (1993–97) and then the Watsons (1998–2000). Other long-running families included the O'Hagans, the Carters and the various children at Lou Gallagher's foster home.
|Michael Warner||Gordon Griffin||Julie||1989–90 (2 series)|
|Clare Warner||Jenny Twigge||1989–90 (2 series)|
|Jim Bell||Colin MacLaughlan||Donna||1989–91 (3 series)|
|Lisa Harris||Jayne MacKenzie||1989–91 (3 series)|
|Polly Bell||Denise Welch||1990–91 (2 series)|
|Alan Dobson||Tony Hodge||Nicola, Debbie and Jemma||1990–94 (5 series)|
|Kath Dobson||Lesley St John||1990–94 (5 series)|
|Lou Gallagher||Anna Orwin||Foster mother to various characters||1990–2006 (17 series)|
|Jack Hardy||Alan Renwick||Winston and Barney||1990, 1992–93, 1995 (4 series)|
|Gerry O'Hagan||Terry Joyce||Angel, Brigid, Teraise (and others not shown on screen)||1993–2001 (9 series)|
|Maeve O'Hagan||Patricia Maria Dunn||1993–95 (3 series)|
|Peter Turnbull||Gez Casey||Alfie, Anna and Flora||1993–97 (5 series)|
|Jean McKay||Patricia Jones||1993–97 (5 series)|
|Tony McKay||John Rogers||Flora||1994–97 (4 series)|
|Gloria Caseley||Libby Davidson||Ed||1995–96 (2 series)|
Timothy Malcolm Healy is an English actor, best known for playing Dennis Patterson in the comedy-drama series Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, Les/Lesley Conroy in the comedy series Benidorm, and Gastric in the comedy series Still Open All Hours.
Anthony David McPartlin is an English television presenter, TV producer, singer, comedian and actor. He is best known for working alongside Declan Donnelly as part of the presenting duo Ant & Dec. McPartlin came to prominence, alongside Donnelly, in the children's drama series Byker Grove, with both of the boys establishing successful careers as television presenters, in which presented SMTV Live, I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! and Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, and Britain's Got Talent.
Ant & Dec are an English TV presenting duo, consisting of comedians, TV presenters and singers Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly, from Newcastle upon Tyne, North East England. Formed after their meeting as child actors on CBBC's drama Byker Grove, they performed together as pop musicians PJ & Duncan, the names of their characters from the series.
Declan Joseph Oliver "Dec" Donnelly is a British television presenter, television producer, singer, comedian and actor. He is best known for working alongside Anthony McPartlin as part of the presenting duo Ant & Dec. Donnelly came to prominence, alongside McPartlin, in the children's drama series Byker Grove, with both men establishing successful careers as television presenters, in which they are most known for presenting SMTV Live, I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! and Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, and Britain's Got Talent.
Jill Halfpenny is an English actress. Her notable roles include Rebecca Hopkins in ITV soap opera Coronation Street (1999–2000); Kate Mitchell in BBC One soap opera EastEnders (2002–2005); Izzie Redpath in Waterloo Road (2006–2007); and Diane Manning in In The Club (2014–2016). She won the second series of the television dance contest Strictly Come Dancing in 2004.
The Story of Tracy Beaker is a British children's book first published in 1991, written by Jacqueline Wilson and illustrated by Nick Sharratt.
Matthew Robinson is a British-Cambodian television and film executive producer, producer, director and writer. After graduating from Cambridge University. he directed many episodes of popular British television dramas and soap operas in the 1970s and 1980s. He became the first producer of the series Byker Grove (1989–1997), and was also made the executive producer of EastEnders (1998–2000).
Donna Marie Theresa Air is an English actress, television presenter and media personality.
Andrew Hayden-Smith is an English actor and voiceover artist and former television presenter.
Byker is a district and electoral ward in the city of Newcastle upon Tyne, located in the east of the city. Byker is home to the Byker Wall estate, made famous by TV series Byker Grove. The population of the ward was recorded at 12,206 in the 2011 Census, which represented approximately 4.4% of the metropolitan borough of Newcastle upon Tyne. Byker is bordered by Heaton to the North and by Shieldfield to the North-East.
Jacqueline Denise Welch is an English actress and television personality. Her roles include Natalie Barnes in Coronation Street (1997–2000), Steph Haydock in Waterloo Road (2006–2010), and Trish Minniver in Hollyoaks (2021–present). Welch also appears as a regular panellist on the ITV chat show, Loose Women.
The Mitre is a building situated in the Benwell area in the west end of Newcastle upon Tyne, England. It is a Grade II listed building.
Benwell is an area in the West End of Newcastle upon Tyne, England.
Adele Rose was an English television writer. She was the longest-serving scriptwriter for the soap opera Coronation Street, writing 457 scripts over a period of 37 years from 1961, and was the first woman to write for the show. She also originated the series Byker Grove (1989–2006), aimed at teenagers.
Roy Apps is a British screenwriter, dramatist and children’s author.
Zenith Productions was a British independent film and television production company. Zenith created content for the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Sky and UKTV, including a number of series such as Inspector Morse for ITV and Byker Grove and Hamish Macbeth for the BBC. Through its subsidiary Blaze Television, Zenith produced the Saturday morning series SMTV Live and CD:UK for ITV featuring Ant & Dec. The company ceased trading in 2006.
Chelsea Halfpenny is an English actress, known for her roles as Amy Wyatt in the ITV soap opera Emmerdale and Alicia Munroe in the BBC drama Casualty.
The Dumping Ground is a British children's television drama series that focuses on the lives and experiences of young people who live in a care home with their care workers in care, broadcast on CBBC since 4 January 2013. The series is a continuation of Tracy Beaker Returns and the first series, consisting of thirteen, thirty-minute episodes, was commissioned in early 2012. A second series, also with thirteen, thirty-minute episodes, was announced in 2013. The third and fourth series, announced in 2014 and 2015 respectively, both had an increase in episodes: twenty, thirty-minute episodes. In 2016, it was confirmed that two further series, with 24 episodes in each series, would be made.
The third series of the British children's television series The Dumping Ground began broadcasting on 16 January 2015 on CBBC and ended on 8 December 2015. The series follows the lives of the children living in the fictional children's care home of Ashdene Ridge, nicknamed by them "The Dumping Ground". It consists of twenty, thirty-minute episodes, airing in two halves in January and October 2015. It is the eleventh series in The Story of Tracy Beaker franchise.
Andrea Jean Wonfor also known as Andrea Duncan was a British television executive and producer. Her successes included The Tube, The Big Breakfast, Byker Grove and The Word.