Gudrun Ure as Super Gran
|Created by||Forrest Wilson|
|Written by||Jenny McDade|
|Narrated by||Bill McAllister ("The Reporter")|
|Theme music composer||Phil Coulter & Billy Connolly|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||2|
|No. of episodes||27|
|Producer(s)||Keith Richardson (1985)
Graham Williams (1986-1987)
|Running time||25 mins
Special: 50 mins (excluding adverts)
|Original channel||ITV Network (CITV)|
|Original run||January 20, 1985– May 31, 1987|
Super Gran is a 1980s children's television programme, about a grandmother with super powers. The show was adapted by Jenny McDade from books written by Forrest Wilson and was produced by Tyne Tees Television for Children's ITV. The titular character was played by Gudrun Ure, with Iain Cuthbertson as her arch nemesis, The Scunner Campbell.
Two series, each consisting 13 episodes, were produced, alongside a Christmas special. All episodes have been released by Network DVD. The show inspired two computer games.
An elderly grandmother, Granny Smith (Gudrun Ure), acquires superpowers when she is accidentally hit by a magic ray created by Inventor Black (Bill Shine). Under the guise of 'Super Gran', she protects the residents of the fictional town of Chiselton from villains such as the Scunner Campbell (Iain Cuthbertson) and his gang, The Muscles (Alan Snell and Brian Lewis) and Tub (Lee Marshall, Jason Carrielies). Super Gran was usually accompanied by her grandson, Willard (Iam Towell, Michael Graham) and Inventor Black's assistant Edison (Holly English, Samantha Duffy).
Episodes were narrated by Bill McAllister.
SuperGran was created by author Forrest Wilson. He says that the character was a combination of three characters: Pansy Potter from The Beano, his own mother-in-law, and an unnamed Scottish actress who looked and sounded like he imaged the character should. The first book was published in 1978, followed by several others, many illustrated by David McKee. Following the television series' success, Wilson adapted McDade's scripts as: Television Adventures of Super Gran,More Television Adventures of Super Gran, and Super Gran to the Rescue. Wilson, with Graham Kennedy, also released Super Gran: The Picture Book.
The show was filmed in various locations around North East England, including Tynemouth, Whitley Bay, South Shields and Beamish Museum. Inventor Black’s laboratory was housed in an empty church on Tynemouth Front Street, which became Land of the Green Ginger. Sets were housed in an old warehouse in North Shields; its corrugated roof caused sound difficulties when it rained. A stone cottage in Church Way, Earsdon, near Whitley Bay, was used as Super Gran's home. A huge crane used to hoist Super Gran into her flying position was parked in the neighbouring school.
Gudrun Ure, who was 59 when she first appeared in the show, had only one stunt double and did a lot of stunts herself. Tyne Tees executive Andrea Wonfor said that they 'used to do all the special effects with trampolines and things.' Filming the Christmas special and the second series took about nine months of 10-hour days (one hour for lunch), beginning in April 1986. Sue Sweeney, who appeared in many episodes, recalls that she "did everything from sunbathing on the beach at Cullercoats in the rain to a Gorilla at the fancy dress party."
The young actors were all local children from the Newcastle area, and the Scunner's two toughies (Alan Snell and Brian Lewis) were local stand-up comics who performed in clubs at night. Many guest stars appeared on the programme, including George Best, Spike Milligan, Roy Kinnear, Geoff Capes and Charles Hawtrey. It was Patrick Troughton's final television appearance.
Following production, memorabilia from the show was displayed at The Land of Green Ginger shopping centre in Tynemouth. After owner Gordon Reed put the props up for sale after deciding to revamp the mall, local electrician Mark Simms bought Super Gran's flying bike and magic ray machine for £403.
Episode list 
The transmission of the first episode in 1985 was preceded by a "making-of" documentary.
Series one 
|Episode title||Original airdate||Directed by||#|
|"Supergran and the Magic Ray"||20 January 1985||Anthony Simmons||1|
|While watching her grandson play football, Granny Smith (Gudrun Ure) is hit by a ray created by Inventor Black (Bill Shine), giving her magical powers.|
|"Supergran and the Skimmer"||27 January 1985||Gerry Mill||2|
|"Supergran and the Course of True Love"||3 February 1985||Tony Kysh||3|
|"Supergran and the Pearl of Pinnell's End"||10 February 1985||Anthony Simmons||4|
|"Supergran and the Super Match"||17 February 1985||Tony Kysh||5|
|"Supergran Grounded"||24 February 1985||Tony Kysh||6|
|Geoff Capes injures Supergran during an event at a stadium. Meanwhile the Scunner Campbell plans to kidnap honorable Bertrand Battenburg and Supergran is too weak to help!|
|"Supergran and the Magic Ian"||3 March 1985||Gerry Mill||7|
|"Supergran and the TV Villains"||10 March 1985||Gerry Mill||8|
|"Supergran and the Doppelganger"||17 March 1985||Tony Kysh||9|
|"Supergran and the Day at the Sea"||24 March 1985||Tony Kysh||10|
|"Supergran and the Raid on Race Day"||31 March 1985||Anthony Simmons||11|
|"Supergran and the Raving Beauty Contest"||7 April 1985||Roger Cheveley||12|
|"Supergran and the Missing Hissing"||14 April 1985||Roger Cheveley||13|
|Guest starring Spike Milligan|
Christmas special 
|Episode title||Original airdate||Directed by||#|
|"Christmas Supergran: The World's Worst Circus"||24 December 1986||Gerald Blake||1|
Series 2 
|Episode title||Original airdate||Directed by||#|
|"Supergran and the Racing Cert"||8 March 1987||Tony Kysh||1|
|Rock star Newcastle Brown (Gary Glitter) arrives to enter his pigeon in a race.|
|"Supergran and the Treasure Trovers"||15 March 1987||Roger Cheveley||2|
|"Supergran and the Birthday Dambusters"||22 March 1987||Tony Kysh||3|
|Scunner Campbell, the Muscles and Tubbs enlist in the RAF. Supergran is surprised to discover that she misses them.|
|"Supergran and the Yankee Doodle's Boodle"||29 March 1987||Gerald Blake||4|
|Chistleton celebrates American Week.|
|"Supergran and the Rookie Recruit"||5 April 1987||Tony Kysh||5|
|"Supergran and the State Visit"||12 April 1987||Gerald Blake||6|
|"Chiselton Street Blues"||19 April 1987||Tony Kysh||7|
|"Supergran and the School for Scoundrels"||26 April 1987||Tony Kysh||8|
|"Supergran and the Media Star"||3 May 1987||Roger Cheveley||9|
|"Supergran Snookered"||10 May 1987||Roger Cheveley||10|
|"Supergran and the Fancy Dress Fanciers"||17 May 1987||Tony Kysh||11|
|"Supergran and the Chronic Crooner"||24 May 1987||Tim Dowd||12|
|"Supergran and the Heir Apparent"||31 May 1987||Tony Kysh||13|
Reception and legacy 
Super Gran won an Emmy, and sold to over 60 countries worldwide. According to director Tony Kysh, "Tyne Tees was one of the first Western companies to sell to China TV where Supergran was a big success." The show became a ratings hit in Cuba in the early 2000s (decade), where the show was redubbed into Spanish.
The character of Super Gran came seventh in The Glasgow Herald's 2003 poll, "The Most Scottish Person In The World". The University of Nottingham cited SuperGran as an example of perceptions of 'grandmothers is being reshaped by socio-cultural messages as well as personal experience.'
Two videos were released, each containing three episodes. The first series was released by Network DVD on a 2 disc set on 10 August 2009, and the second series on 16 May 2011. The Whitley Bay Playhouse is scheduled to host a Super Gran evening in February 2012, featuring classic episodes, a making-of documentary, photographs and props.
Benny Hill did a "Wonder Gran" sketch in a 1981 show, where the super character was played by Sue Upton.
Computer games 
Tynesoft produced two games based on the show in 1985.
Super Gran - The Adventure was a text adventure based on the show, written by Adventure Soft's Brian Howarth. The premise is that Super Gran has to save people whilst looking out for Scunner Campbell. This game was released on the Acorn Electron, BBC Micro, C16, C64 and Spectrum.
- series 1 and 2 respectively
- Evans, Jeff (1995). The Guinness Television Encyclopedia. Guinness Publishing Ltd. p. 506. ISBN 0-85112-744-4.
- Ryan, Margaret (1995). Stuff and Nonsense. Ginn. p. 34. ISBN 0-602-26395-6.
- "The Making of Super Gran", included on the second series DVD set published by Network DVD
- Wilson, Forrest (1980). Super Gran (new ed.). Puffin Books. ISBN 0-14-031266-8.
- Wilson, Forrest (1984). Super Gran Rules O.K.! (New impression ed.). Puffin Books. ISBN 0-14-031427-X. Unknown parameter
- Wilson, Forrest (1983). Super Gran is Magic. Puffin Books. ISBN 0-14-031610-8. Unknown parameter
- Wilson, Forrest (1984). Television Adventures of Super Gran. Puffin Books. Unknown parameter
- Wilson, Forrest (1984). More Television Adventures of Super Gran. Puffin Books. ISBN 0-14-031764-3. Unknown parameter
- Wilson, Forrest (1987). Super Gran to the Rescue. Puffin Books. ISBN 0-14-032201-9.
- Wilson, Forrest; Kennedy, Graham (1984). Super Gran: The Picture Book. Puffin Books. ISBN 0-14-050437-0.
- Wilson, Forrest (1987). Super Gran at the Circus. Puffin Books. ISBN 0-14-032200-0. Unknown parameter
- Wilson, Forrest (1987). Super Gran on Holiday. Puffin Books. ISBN 0-14-032045-8.
- Wilson, Forrest (1988). Super Gran Abroad. Puffin Books. ISBN 0-14-032694-4.
- Super Gran: Complete & Unabridged. Chivers Children's Audio Books. 1991). ISBN 0-7451-8597-5.
- Tyne Tees Television (1985). Super Gran Annual. Grandreams Limited. ISBN 0-86227-320-X.
- Sharma, Sonia (November 24, 2011). "Special event marks Super Gran's 25 years". Evening Chronicle. Retrieved 2011-11-25.
- Craig, Alastair (August 29, 2007). "Cottage Isa Super Buy". Evening Chronicle (Newcastle upon Tyne). p. 11.
- Loraine, Paul (August 29, 2007). "(untitled)". The Journal (Newcastle upon Tyne). p. 9.
- DOCHERTY, GAVIN (August 15, 2009). "Supergran takes on a new lease of life". The Express (Scottish Edition). p. 15.
- "THE WOMAN IN THE TUBE". The Northern Echo. January 15, 1999. p. 10.
- NETTELL, STEPHANIE (December 31, 1986). "Young Guardian (What's Going On): Gudrun's great great Gran / Super Gran". The Guardian (London).
- Sweeney, Sue (April 15, 2006). "What's the crack?". EVENING CHRONICLE (Newcastle upon Tyne: Newcastle Chronicle & Journal Ltd.). p. 12.
- Knapton, Sarah (April 10, 2006). "Supergran is all set to fly again". EVENING CHRONICLE (Newcastle upon Tyne: Newcastle Chronicle & Journal Ltd.). p. 12.
- Punch 288. Punch Publications Ltd. p. 56.
- Phillips, Geoff (1998). Memories of Tyne Tees Television. Durham: G P Electronic Services. p. 69. ISBN 0-9522480-6-9.
- HURLEY, KEVIN (December 20, 2003). "SUPERGRAN'S HAVANA REVIVAL; SCOTS STAR SCORES TV RATINGS HIT IN CUBA". Daily Record (Scottish Daily Record & Sunday Mail Ltd.). p. 11.
- University of Nottingham (2006). In Heike Bartel, Elizabeth Boa. Pushing at boundaries. Rodopi. p. 163. ISBN 90-420-2051-2.
- "Super Gran prop find in North Tyneside prompts appeal". BBC News. 31 January 2012. Retrieved 1 February 2012.