TV (FAILS TO) PULL PLUG ON GH ONLINE
On Monday 10 January 2005, Lime Pictures (formerly Mersey TV)
succeeded in shutting down Grange Hill Online, in a long-running
dispute over use of images on the site owned by Lime Pictures. This
was a crushing blow not just for GH Online, but for all Grange Hill
fans who value our service. It was also the same day a brand
new series of Grange Hill started.
TORPEDOED: GH Online
re-emerges on 10 January
However, the site moved to a new server and returned with a skeleton
service that same evening. Most of the site reappeared within weeks.
But we remain unable to use any Mersey TV photos, even video captures
of the latest series. Photos of the new characters can be seen
In addition we can no longer offer video clips of material from Series
If you enjoy GH Online or Grange Hill, we're asking you to speak up
for us. If you feel the images ban is hurting
GH Online or Grange Hill itself please e-mail the BBC and Lime Pictures
to tell them how you feel.
||"Get the campaign going".
John Hudson, Grange Hill actor 1998-2004
||"I have sent the e-mails to Mersey TV and the BBC. I
think what they have done is childish, it's not like their site
is any good! I will pass the address on to others and ask them
to mail in too.
Ian Rushmere, GH actor 1990-1995
Since www.grangehill.com launched
in 2003, there has been a cold war between the two sites yet ConkerMedia,
who operate grangehill.com, openly admit GH Online provides Grange
Hill with "wonderful publicity". Mersey TV legal spokesman Anita
Phillips has accused GH Online of driving traffic away
from grangehill.com and Grange Hill itself.
GH Online was using a number of images from Lime Pictures sites but
only for essential illustrative purposes on pages such as character
profiles, episode guides and Star File. The BBC discontinued printed
cast photos in 2003, so this option is no longer available. Lime Pictures
even object to us using images from home tapings of Grange Hill! We
would have preferred to have a working arrangement with Lime Pictures,
indeed we always credited any images of theirs to make clear that
GH Online was not claiming the pictures as their own. We repeatedly
asked Lime Pictures for "official" press images but to date none have
When Grange Hill was made at BBC Elstree the crew were very supportive
of GH Online and were happy to allow us to publish character photos
on the site. In recent months there have been signs of an unofficial
"warming" towards GH Online from Lime Pictures but we are
still unable to publicise the latest series effectively without images
and video from the newest series.
As copyright owners of Grange Hill, Lime Pictures are perfectly entitled
to protect their intellectual property and, if necessary, take action
against us. But since GH Online generates valuable and positive publicity
for Grange Hill, it's the programme which could suffer. And it's hardly
fair to the fans.
We would love to gain official recognition from Lime Pictures
and indeed the past 12 months have shown signs that Lime Pictures
may now be warming to GH Online. Phil Redmond has even praised the
site in his weekly column for the Liverpool Daily Post.
If you enjoy GH Online; or Grange Hill, we're asking you to speak
up for us. If you want GH Online to be able
to use images and video from the more recent series, please e-mail
both Lime Pictures and the BBC to tell them how you feel.
Some tips for writing to Lime Pictures:1) Please make your e-mails
diplomatic, reasoned and at all times polite. Being aggressive
will not help us at all!
2) Please only send ONE letter/e-mail each. Bombarding Lime
Pictures with several letters on the subject could prove counter-productive
and strain relations between them and GH Online;
3) You may wish to remind Lime Pictures of the detremental effect
less publicity via GH Online could have on Grange Hill (ie. falling
The BBC pay Lime Pictures to make Grange Hill, they are the executive
producers and would have the final say. We hope the BBC would
be sympathetic to our plight and realise what they stand to lose from
less publicity for the show.
A number of ex-cast have voiced their opinions on the dispute with
Lime Pictures These include Ian Steele, aka Ian Rushmere, who
played Brian Shaw for five years from 1990. Also offering support
is John Joseph - Grange Hill's Ian Hudson who was a Grange
Hill regular when production passed to Mersey TV, and Robert Craig
Morgan, who starred as Justin Bennett in the first series of Grange
The following panel gives the contact details of senior BBC executives
including the Director-General, Mark Thompson. These people
care genuinely about what they do and have real influence, so you
would be e-mailing someone who really can make a difference. Remember
- the BBC is funded by us or our parents. Now for those all-imporant
You can also write to the following address:
Please tell as many people as you can about
this campaign. The more support we can drum up the greater
the chance of Lime Pictures realising what an important service GH
provides for the programme. Rather ironically, Lime Pictures are beginning
to realise for themselves how lack of publicity hurts Grange Hill;
the move of the programme away from BBC1 in favour of exclusive scheduling
on the digital CBBC Channel last year resulted in far less publicity
for the series.
GH Online is run by volunteers who give up their free time to provide
a fan site at their own considerable expense. The site gives Grange
Hill lots of free publicity, we do not gain anything financially and
on no account has Lime Pictures lost any revenue as a result of our
site. grangehill.com restricts itself to the present series
of Grange Hill whereas we cover the entire period that Grange Hill
has been broadcasting, 1978-2008.
Once again, we ask for your support in this crucial matter. Many
thanks for your help and tell your friends!
The GH Online team