What could have been?
Storylines are complete. Everything’s ready to go, and then, the actor doesn’t like what they’re reading, and decides to quit the show instead.
That’s what happened to series seven of Grange Hill, according to this article on Grange Hill Gold.
The scriptwriters set about drafting a dramatic exit that saw Jonah, having alienated all his friends, drowning after showing off in the school swimming pool.
I think that could have been a series as powerful as Zammo’s overdose to be honest, and the failure of this to happen may have played into the producers’ desire to up the stakes by series nine and ten.
At the time of series seven, the show’s script editor was Anthony Minghella (yes, that one), and he was faced with half a dozen scripts that no longer had their central character.
After numerous meetings to sort out the problem, Anthony Minghella and his team finally came up with a solution. Instead of using the character of Jonah, they would reintroduce the character of his cousin, Jeremy. This time Jeremy would now attend Grange Hill and would take over most of Jonah’s role in the series, including drowning at the bottom of the swimming pool!
So, instead of a popular and charming character coming back from the summer holidays, slowly turning into a prick, and alienating his friends, we now get a new character, one we don’t particularly care about, just being a prick from the get go.
What would you have done faced with this problem? The same? Hasty storyline rewrites? Kill a different established character, meaning re-writing the complete series?