TV duo Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly are bringing back popular teen drama Byker Grove for a new series 17 years after it was last broadcast, it has been announced.
The new series, currently in development with Fulwell 73 and Mitre Studios, will return under the name Byker and be 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 North East.
McPartlin and Donnelly, who played fun-loving duo PJ and Duncan in the original series, will serve as executive producers and creative consultants of the reboot.
“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,” McPartlin said.
“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.”
Fulwell 73’s Leo Pearlman and Heather Greenwood will also serve as executive producers alongside McPartlin and Donnelly, who recently announced they will take a break from ITV’s Saturday Night Takeaway after the 2024 series.
Pearlman, Fulwell 73 co-founder and managing partner, 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.”
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.
Emmy-award winning entertainment company, Fulwell 73, has previously produced shows including Friends: The Reunion, The Kardashians and Gavin and Stacey: Christmas Special.