DEGRASSI HIGH Actor’s Death Made Public After Five Years

For some strange reason the death of Canadian actor, Neil Hope, has only now been made official, although he actually died in 2007. Apparently, the actor that played the character, Wheels, died of natural causes at the age of 35, but his death was kept a family secret until only the last few days for some odd reason.

DEGRASSI HIGH was a controversial series in that it dealt with some very serious topics such as AIDS, sex, suicide, cheating, and other topics. In the U.S., an episode dealing with abortion was edited because of political pressure from pro-life political forces, however in Canada and Australia, unedited episodes of the series played. PBS ran the series in the U.S. , but had to be sensitive to political pressures because some members of Congress attempt to cut funding for public TV or radio if some political or social opinion air that they do not agree with. Working under such blackmail pressures, controversial series like DEGRASSI HIGH represent something of a dilemma for the network. Shows like DEGRASSI HIGH are very good TV, and represent significant programming, but some outside political forces want to control what others think and don’t approve of opinions different than their own.

DEGRASSI HIGH aired for two seasons from 1989-91, but has has been followed by a sequel series, DEGRASSI HIGH: THE NEXT GENERATION. The series was filmed up in Toronto.

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