17 years after Byker Grove closed its doors for the last time, the North East based TV classic is set to make a comeback. Emmy award winning entertainment company, Fulwell 73, the team behind Friends: The Reunion, The Kardashians and Gavin and Stacey: Christmas Special, and Ant and Dec’s Mitre Studios, who co-produce BAFTA-award winning Saturday Night Takeaway, DNA Journey and Limitless Win, announced they are entering into a development period to relaunch the celebrated show, which will be entitled BYKER, and will be filmed and produced in and around the North East.
Originally broadcast between 1989 – 2006, Byker Grove became a household favourite as it told the story of a youth club in Newcastle. Celebrated for its handling of hard hitting and controversial storylines, the programme ran for 18 series and launched many famous faces both in front of and behind the camera, including Ant and Dec themselves as fun-loving duo ‘PJ & Duncan’.
Now the reboot, aimed at a primetime audience, will return as BYKER, engaging with a new generation of teenagers navigating the different challenges faced by young adults today. Touching on youth and adult storylines, the series will serve a cross generational audience including stories for a nostalgic audience of past fans as well as teenagers today, all set against the backdrop of Newcastle and the North East.
Fulwell 73’s Leo Pearlman and Heather Greenwood will serve as Executive Producers with Ant McPartlin & Declan Donnelly as Executive Producers and Creative Consultants for Mitre Studios.
Leo Pearlman, Co-founder & Managing Partner at Fulwell 73 said:
“Working in collaboration is vital to the North East’s success. Partnering through our Sunderland office with Ant and Dec’s company Mitre Studios, an unlikely and yet dream team of Mackems and Geordies, to bring back a series starring and made by local people, is something we’re incredibly proud of at Fulwell 73. We can’t wait to share BYKER with new and old fans alike, showcasing the very best of our region to the world as part of our long-term commitment to a sustainable industry in the North East.”
Declan Donnelly said:
“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 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. 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.”
Mitre Studios said:
“We’re delighted that Mitre Studios and Fulwell 73 are joining forces to bring Byker back to life. The show obviously holds a very special place in the heart for Ant and Dec as it was where it all started for them. The North East is a hotbed of emerging talent both on and off screen, so we’re extremely proud to be able to tap into that and help give something back to the region.”
Speaking of the news that BYKER will be rebooting, North East Screen Chief Executive, Alison Gwynn said:
“Byker Grove was such an iconic North East TV show and I’m delighted to see Fulwell 73 and Mitre Studios announce that they are developing the reboot. We are looking forward to working with them to bring their vision to life, and the opportunities it will bring for those already working in the North East screen industries, and those looking to get into the industry.”
Behind the scenes, BYKER will aim to be a returnable series providing sustainable training both in front and behind the camera, including new talent in a North East focused writers’ room and work placements. Fulwell 73 and Mitre Studios will unite to film across Newcastle and Sunderland as part of both companies’ commitment to their home region and North East based production offices. Ant and Dec will also look to integrate their successful Prince’s Trust, Making it in Media course as part of the production to help give experience and confidence to young people in the North East who are looking to pursue a career in the media.