Degrassi Junior High

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Degrassi Junior High
Degrassi Junior High title card.jpg
The Degrassi Junior High title card.
Created by Linda Schuyler, Kit Hood
Starring Cathy Keenan
Dayo Ade
Amanda Stepto
Nicole Stoffman
Pat Mastroianni
Stacie Mistysyn
Stefan Brogren
Siluck Saysanasy
Duncan Waugh and others.
Country of origin Canada
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 42
Production
Running time 30 minutes (including commercials)
Production company(s) Playing With Time Inc.
Broadcast
Original channel CBC Television
Original run 18 January 1987 – 6 March 1989
Chronology
Preceded by The Kids of Degrassi Street
Followed by Degrassi High

Degrassi Junior High is a Canadian CBC Television teen drama series that was produced from 1987 to 1989 as part of the Degrassi series. The show followed the lives of a group of students attending the titular fictional school. Many episodes tackled difficult topics such as drug use, child abuse, teenage pregnancy, homosexuality, homophobia, racism, and divorce, and the series was acclaimed for its sensitive and realistic portrayal of the challenges of teenage life. The cast comprised mainly non-professional actors, which added to the show's sense of realism.

The series featured many of the same actors who had starred on The Kids of Degrassi Street a few years earlier, including Stacie Mistysyn, Neil Hope, Anais Granofsky, Sarah Charlesworth and others. However, their character names and family situations had been changed, so Degrassi Junior High cannot, therefore, be considered a direct spinoff.[1][2]

The legal counsel for all the episodes was Stephen Stohn who later became the executive producer of Degrassi: The Next Generation. The series was filmed at the unused Vincent Massey Public School in Etobicoke, Ontario.[3]

Episodes[edit]

In 1987, Degrassi Junior High won an International Emmy in the Children and Young People category for the episode "It's Late",[4] where Christine "Spike" Nelson gets pregnant at Lucy's party after having sex with Shane. Spike's baby was named Emma, to commemorate the award, and Emma would end up being the inspiration for the spin-off series, Degrassi: The Next Generation.

International airings[edit]

In the United Kingdom, the BBC only screened the first season of the show, and only nine out of the thirteen episodes were shown during CBBC; contents of the other episodes were considered unsuitable for younger audiences. The episodes "Rumour Has It" (which dealt with homosexuality), "The Best Laid Plans" (in which a pornographic video was mentioned) and "It's Late" (which dealt with teenage pregnancy) were initially withheld, but later shown as part of the teenage strand DEF II. The episode "Parents' Night", which dealt with adoption, may not have been shown by the BBC at all.

From its first day of broadcasting in 1992, UK Gold screened Degrassi Junior High daily. The channel then screened Degrassi High in its entirety.

The program was broadcast in Australia on ABC TV. The program was broadcast in France under the title "Les années collège".

References to popular culture in the show[edit]

The producers of the show deliberately tried to exclude any references to actual movies and music of the time so that the show would not become quickly dated. This resulted in the creation of movies, television shows and musicians for the show itself. Some examples of made up movies are Tender Beats the Heart and Teen Academy IV. Days of Passion is a fictional soap opera which stars teen-heartthrob Damon King. Quest for the Best is the only other television show in the Degrassi universe, which is based on an actual Canadian high school quiz show called Reach for the Top. Fictional bands in the show are The Gourmet Scum, and later The Savages.

In the episode It's Late, Wheels can be clearly seen wearing a Footscray Bulldogs sweater. What is unusual is that the sport, Australian rules football and its organization, the VFL, at the time would have been unknown in Canada. Although the VFL staged several exhibition matches that year, the Bulldogs were not involved and were perhaps the least successful and supported teams in the league. The Australian Football League (Aussie Rules Football) actually had a cult following in Canada in the 1980s, as the games were televised on The Sports Network from the early 1980s to the early 1990s. Earlier on, in "The Big Dance", he was wearing a New Orleans Saints jersey; while the NFL is and was quite popular in Canada, the "Aints" at the time were perennially bottom of the league.

The Doctor Sally radio show is based on a call-in radio show entitled the Sunday Night Sex Show. Registered nurse and sex educator Sue Johanson was the host of the program which aired on local Toronto, Ontario radio station Q-107 between 1984 and 1998 and nationally until 2005. Johanson portrayed Dr. Sally in two Degrassi Junior High episodes, and reprised the role on Degrassi: The Next Generation.

DVD releases[edit]

WGBH Boston Home Video released the entire series on DVD in Region 1 in 2005. Each season was released separately followed by a complete series collection. Degrassi Junior High: Complete Series, a 9-disc box set featuring all 42 episodes of the series was released on 25 October 2005.

In Region 4, Beyond Home Entertainment released the entire series on DVD in Australia in 2005 – 2006. They initially released each season as a separate release in 2005 followed by a complete series box set in 2006.

DVD Name Ep # Release dates
Region 1 Region 4
Season 1 13 1 February 2005 15 February 2005
Season 2 13 7 June 2005 22 July 2005
Season 3 16 6 September 2005 31 October 2005
The Complete Series 42 25 October 2005 28 April 2006

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hechinger, Fred M. (11 August 1987). "About Education; PUBLIC TV TRIES TO REACH TEEN-AGERS". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 March 2012. 
  2. ^ Burns, John (5 February 1989). "TELEVISION; 'Degrassi': A Series For Children That Goes for the Gut". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 March 2012. 
  3. ^ Polger, Mark, Degrassi HIstory, retrieved 5 September 2007 
  4. ^ Granville, Kari (8 August 1988). "'Degrassi High' Prize Winner at Banff TV Fest : Realistic Teen Series Tops Network Shows". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 12 March 2012. 

External links[edit]