Renford Rejects title card (later series)
Mark Smith (Gladiator)
|Theme music composer||Nicky Wire|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||4|
|No. of episodes||52 (List of episodes)|
|Camera setup||Single camera|
|Running time||22-26 minutes approx.|
|Original channel||Nickelodeon (UK and Australia)
Nick GaS (US)
|Original run||23 February 1998 – 28 March 2001|
The show concerned a five-a-side school football team, made up of aspiring players who had been turned down by their school's main team. They were named "Renford Rejects" when a rival player sabotaged their league entry form, but decided to stick with the name as it suited their "outcast" nature.
Series 1 was filmed in Autumn 1997, Series 2 in Autumn 1998, Series 3 in Autumn 1999, and Series 4 in Autumn 2000.
The show was filmed at Willesden Sports Centre, London, NW10 3QX. Eddie McAvoy's Gracelands Cafe was filmed at 118 College Road, Willesden, London NW10 5HD.
The 'Cafe' still exists to this current day.
The regular cast, as is often the case with teen sitcoms, went through a number of changes as its four series went by; however, characters who remained throughout the run included :
- Jason Summerbee (Martin Delaney) - The team's captain, an average working-class teen who in his head was a genius player destined for the top. He is often seen wearing a Hull City jersey.
- "Bruno Di Gradi" (Paul Parris) - Real name Barry Grade, he believed he was an Azzuri superstar, and so constantly spoke in an Italian accent despite really being English. He often wears Italian football shirts.
- Ben Phillips (Charlie Rolland) - The poetry-loving, bespectacled goalkeeper.
- Vinnie Rodrigues (Roger Davies) - Just as the Renford players fantasised about being great footballers, Vinnie fantasised about being a famous commentator and anchorman. He frequently presented to-camera reports on the team, and in his fantasies famous presenters such as Jim Rosenthal often appeared as his co-anchor.
- Eddie McAvoy (Alex Norton) - Owner of the local cafe "Graceland", and a fanatical Elvis fan, Eddie often helped out the team, and even coached them later in the series. A running gag was that his wife Priscilla (the implication being that, as an Elvis fan, he had married her for her name) could always be heard, but her face never seen. However she does appear as other characters such as a nurse and an old friend of Eddie's
- Basil and Terry Stoker- The Rejects' fiercest enemies. Basil (Bill Homewood) was the school's football coach and had been responsible for not picking the Rejects players for his team; his dimwitted son Terry (Tom Weller), meanwhile, played for rival team the Razors, whom Basil also coached. Terry was also responsible for giving the Rejects their name.
In the first two series, the team were coached by Stewart Jackson (Matthew Leitch), an upper-class older boy who had been the school team's star player until an injury (caused by Terry Stoker) prevented him from playing. He supports Chelsea and often wears Chelsea shirts. By the third series, however, he had recovered from his injury and joined as a player. He left after the 40th episode. The club trainer Leo was played by Mark Smith, who had recently left the ITV show Gladiators.
For the first two series, Ronnie Supra (Adam Dean) was the fifth player. He was recognisable as always wearing the latest fashions, always combing his hair on the pitch during games and being the son of the sponsor for the team's strips - his father's firm 'Supra Drain', in which was said that Ronnie would someday work. After series two, Ronnie left the Rejects to start his own Agency, and would appear in one episode of series three to help the Rejects when their local pitch was under threat of having houses built on it.
In series four, Stewart was replaced by Dennis Quayle (Mohammed George), who became the player/manager, and who successfully trained the Rejects to qualify for the European Beach Football Championships.
During each of the series, the rejects had a girl playing for their team. The first, was Robin Walker (played by Holly Davidson), who was also by far the team's most skilful player, but joined the Rejects due to not being allowed to play for the school team. Davidson left to further her acting career at the end of the first series (Robin was written out by leaving the Rejects to play for the Chelsea ladies' team), and her replacement was Sue White (Lucy Punch). Her lack of footballing ability was more in keeping with the rest of the Rejects team, as was that of her own replacement Mia Smith (Megan Bertie), who outlasted her predecessors by staying for the third and fourth series.
Also appearing was James Corden, who appeared in Don Bruno as Razor #1, where he, along with Terry Stoker, threatened to make Bruno eat his shirt; and Natasha Dilleyston (she appeared in "Heartbreak Hotel and "Ben In Tights"). She played Ben's "love interest" Justine. The episode "Ciao Bambino" featured EastEnders actress Leila Birch, playing Bruno's love interest Gina. Birch and Parris went on to become engaged in real life after meeting on the show.
A number of famous guest stars from the world of football appeared as themselves throughout the course of the series. These included Ian Rush, Gianfranco Zola, Martin Keown, Shaka Hislop, Roberto Di Matteo, Jon Harley, John Terry, Kasey Keller, Harry Redknapp with the West Ham first team, Jim Rosenthal, Bob Wilson, Stan Bowles, and various members of England's 1966 World Cup-winning team.
- Nick GaS (1999-2000)
- Nickelodeon Australia (1999-2002)
- "TV NOTES; Games Children Watch - New York Times". Nytimes.com. 1998-11-04. Retrieved 2013-09-10.
- "THAT'S THE ENDER LEILA!; As temptress Teresa, gorgeous Leila Birch has been breaking hearts in EastEnders for three action-packed years. Now she's gone - but with a treasure-chest of memories. Here she shares them with SUE CRAWFORD. - Free Online Library". Thefreelibrary.com. Retrieved 2013-09-10.