Byker Grove: Ant and Dec to bring back teen drama that made them famous

Byker Grove, the teen drama that made TV duo Ant and Dec famous, is returning 17 years after it was last broadcast.

Airing from 1989 to 2006 on CBBC, Byker Grove centred around a youth club in Newcastle. The show was known for covering subjects deemed controversial such as addiction, abortion and child abuse, and in 1994 showed the first gay kiss on kids’ TV in the UK.

On Tuesday (4 July), it was announced that the show will return under the name Byker, with a new series filmed and produced in and around the north east.

It will see a new generation of teenagers navigating the challenges faced by young adults today, touching on youth and adult storylines, and set against a backdrop of Newcastle and the surrounding area.

Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly, who played fun-loving duo PJ and Duncan in the original series, will serve as executive producers and creative consultants of the reboot.

Following the announcement, McPartlin said: “We owe such a lot to Byker Grove and the north east so we can’t wait to start working with Fulwell 73 and the team to bring this iconic series back to life.

“Already talking characters and storylines has us all buzzing at the possibilities ahead. The original series was the starting point for a lot of north east talent so we’re excited to see what the new team will bring.”

Donnelly added: “Byker Grove will always be very special to us as the show which gave us our break, so we are beyond excited to be working together with Fulwell 73 on bringing it back.

“We are looking forward to bringing this fresh incarnation to a whole new generation as well as those who remember it as fondly as we do. As proud Geordies, we’re looking forward to help shine a spotlight on the north east and the talent the region has to offer both in front of the camera and behind it.”

Ant and Dec celebrate the 10-year anniversary of ‘Byker Grove' (Alamy)
Ant and Dec celebrate the 10-year anniversary of ‘Byker Grove' (Alamy)

Behind the scenes, Byker will also aim to be a returnable series providing sustainable training both in front and behind the camera, including a north east-focused writers’ room and work placements.

Fulwell 73 and Mitre Studios will film across Newcastle and Sunderland as part of both companies’ commitment to their home region and north east-based production offices.

McPartlin and Donnelly will also integrate their Prince’s Trust Making It In Media course into the production to help give experience to young people in the north east.

The show, which became a staple of British television throughout the Nineties and Noughties, also helped launch the careers of Donna Air and Jill Halfpenny.

The announcement comes two months after Ant and Dec announced that they are leaving their long-running entertainment show Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway after 20 years.

Additional reporting by Press Association.