In an age of Asbos, happy-slapping and camera phone-recorded muggings in Britain, it may seem odd that one of the biggest selling DVDs for teens this Christmas is not a gritty action flick or an edgy foul-mouthed comedy, but a sickly sweet high school romance.

The American made-for-TV hit HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL is selling like sugary-sweet hot cakes in the UK, with its first-week DVD sales beating even the might of Ricky Gervais' THE OFFICE.

But Disney's GREASE-meets-FAME musical has been setting records on both sides of the pond this year, as teenagers and pre-teens continue to lap up the cheesy feel-good song and dance production.

Speaking to the Independent, Sam Robinson, the editor of Girl Talk magazine, explained that the apparent "safety" of the story, its happy ending and the sense of belonging and your place in the world is part of a universal appeal for youngsters  even 21st century children.

She said: "It works in a way I've never seen anything work before with everyone from eight-year-olds to 15-year-olds.

"It says whatever sort of boy or girl you are, you can be cool and popular."

Ms Robinson added: "You just assume that teenagers want things that are a bit more edgy like LITTLE BRITAIN, but they don't really."

21/12/2006 12:13:20