Brookside (1982-2003, Sue Johnston, Ricky Tomlinson)

UK Primetime soap that started on Channel 4 the same day that channel itself started. Brookside (simply focusing on the lives of a group of people living in Brookside Close in a suburb of Liverpool) was and remained gritty with bad language and real life well to the fore. The early years of the show were dominated by the Grant family, husband Bobby (who seemed to spend years on Strike), his wife Sheila and their kids Barry, Damon and Karen.

The show was always issue led and some of its most notable storylines included the notorious body under the patio character of Trevor Jordache, murdered by the daughter he had been abusing, this was Beth Jordache (played by Anna Friel) who seemed to be the main focus of the show in the mid nineties and also performed the first lesbian kiss on a UK soap.

Over the years characters in Brookside have had to suffer sieges, religious cults, explosions, murder, in fact you name and it seems to have happened to someone in Brookside Close.

The show was originally to have been called Meadowcroft and there have been two short spin offs called Damon and Debbie (1987) and South (1988). Occasional video releases were also released in the show’s later years.

Brookside had its final prime time episode on 21 November 2002. Due to falling ratings the show moved to Saturday afternoon’s only in omnibus form (previously the omnibus edition was an additional broadcast). This continued until C4’s existing commitment to broadcast the show ceased.

In its final few months the show was relegated to a late-night slot and had its final-ever episode on 4 November 2003 for which Paul Usher and Claire Sweeney returned. The winding-up plot involved a gradual mass exodus of residents after the houses were bought up by a nearby incineration plant.

A special DVD was released following this called ‘Brookside: Unfinished Business’ to tie up some further loose-ends.

Incidentally the show sets did live on in a small way with Mersey TV, who also make Hollyoaks and Grange Hill, used some of the houses in the former Brookside Close.

production details
UK / Channel 4 – Mersey – Lime TV – ITV Studios / 2915 episodes / Broadcast 2 November 1982 – 4 November 2003

Creator/Executive Producer: Phil Redmond

important cast members included:-
AMANDA BURTON as Heather Huntingdon
ROB SPENDLOVE as Roger Huntingdon
SUE JOHNSTON as Sheila Grant
PAUL USHER as Barry Grant
SIMON O’BRIEN as Damon Grant
ALEXANDRA PIGG as Petra Taylor
BILL DEAN as Harry Cross
JOHN McARDLE as Billy Corkhill
DAVID YIP as Michael Choi
ANNA FRIEL as Beth Jordache
BRYAN MURRAY as Trevor Jordache
NICOLA STEPHENSON as Margaret Clemence
RACHEL LINDSAY as Sammy Rogers
SUE JENKINS as Jackie Corkhill
DEAN SULLIVAN as Jimmy Corkhill
VINCE EARL as Ron Dixon
MICHAEL STARKE as Sinbad Sweeney
LOUIS EMERICK as Mick Johnson
JIM WIGGINS as Paul Collins
DOREEN SLOANE as Annabelle Collins
JUSTINE KERRIGAN as Tracy Corkhill
STEVEN PINDER as Max Farnham
HELEN GRACE as Georgia Simpson

Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.