Channel 4 (ended 2003)



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The first episode was shown on Channel 4's opening night, November 2nd 1982 at 8pm. Initially screening twice weekly, it created hysteria in its opening months as bad-language and poor acting meant the series was panned by critics and viewers alike. However, after its first year, Brookside became extremely popular and was Channel 4's top rated series for the rest of the 1980's. High points from the early years included the terrifying siege from 1985 in which 3 characters were held hostage in Number 7 by a crazed gunman. The following year, perennial favourite Sheila Grant (Sue Johnston) was sexually attacked and the writers of 'Brookside' sensitively handled the issue with admirable restraint. It was also during 1986 that Brookside's most long-running and popular character Jimmy Corkhill (Dean Sullivan) first appeared. It was at the turn of the 1990's that things started to change. A third episode was added to the schedule and to accommodate this extra air time, a new shopping parade was built and new characters and storylines tended to revolve more around Brookside Parade than good old Brookside Close. Perhaps Brookside's most remembered storyline came in 1993 with the arrival of the Jordache family. Mandy (Sandra Maitland), Beth (Anna Friel)and Rachel (Tiffany Chapman) were the victims of a hard-hitting domestic & sexual abuse storyline which climaxed with them murdering violent father Trevor (Brian Murray) and burying him under the patio! Here, 'Brookside' celebrated its highest ever audience figures of 8.5 million viewers. However, the need to shock and create sensational storylines is what ultimately killed 'Brookside'. 1996 saw the soap at its most contentious with the new, posh Simpson family. Viewers were subjected to incest as Brother and Sister Nat & Georgia jumped into bed together! And, with the re-appearance of Clair Sweeney as Lindsay Corkhill, the soap descended into gangsters, guns, murders and a good 3 years of explosions and carnage that wasn't all that well executed and viewers switched off in their droves. An attempt to take the show 'back to its roots' in 2002 completely backfired with the addition of the hideously mis-cast Gordon family. In 2002, just as the soap was celebrating its 20th Birthday (with yet another siege involving armed drug-dealers, culminating in a Police helicopter crashing on Brookside Parade!!), Channel 4 announced it was relegating its flagship soap to a 'graveyard' Saturday afternoon slot after viewing figures dropped to below 1 million. It was here 'Brookside' became unwatchable. During its final year, characters left with little or no explanation, storylines became repetitive and boring and it was literally only when Channel 4 then decided to screen the soap in a new 10.30pm late-night slot that things improved. The addition of vile drug-dealer Jack Michaelson (Paul Duckworth) saw 'Brookside' return to its hard-hitting core but it was just all too late... The axe fell and the remaining characters left one by one as an incinerator plant was due to be built on the demolished Brookside Close! We never did see the Close being flattened! After the demise of 'Brookside' a DVD was released wrapping up some open-ended storylines. It was called 'Unfinished Business'. BROADCAST HISTORY 1982 - Tuesday & Thursday 8pm-8.30pm Jan 1983 to Nov 1984 - Tuesday & Wednesday 8pm Nov and Dec 1984 - Monday & Wednesday 8pm Jan 1985 to July 1988 - Monday & Tuesday 8pm Aug 1988 to July 1990 - Monday & Wednesday 8pm From July 1990, an extra episode was added screening: 1990-1994 - Monday, Wednesday & Friday 8pm 1994-2001 - Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday 8pm 2001 - Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday 8pm (NB Channel 4 moved 'Brookside' around the schedule from around 2001, sometimes screening 2 episodes back-to-back) 2002 - Wednesday, Thursday & Friday 8pm November 2002 - Saturdays 4pm-5.30pm September 2003 - Tuesdays 10.30pm-12.00 November 4th 2003 - Final episode. 2915 episodes altogether were made.

Alexandra Wescourt

Alexandra Wescourt

Shelley Bowers [2000-]

Simon Chadwick

Simon Chadwick

Dave Burns [2000-]

Sue Jenkins

Sue Jenkins

Jackie Corkhill [1993-]

Dean Sullivan

Dean Sullivan

Jimmy Corkhill [1990-; previously recurring]

Lewis Davies

Lewis Davies

William Corkhill [1997-]

Barbara Hatwell

Barbara Hatwell

Anthea Dixon [1999; 2000; recurring previously]

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  • LIke neighbours in Britain, with Scousers.

    From it's humble beginings of life in a cul-de-sac in Liverpool, Brookside was Channel 4's big money spinner in the 1980's, it spawned two spin off's (Damon and Debbie which followed two residents who moved to York, and the fantastic Hollyoaks) The show had many stories on going from drug habits to seiges, and murder and mayhem. They even had a plague once - someone came from holiday with a mysterious illness and Brookside CLose became isolated. I was shocked when it was axed and actually missed the last episode, but this show was class, and was well ahead of it's time. Shame it is no more.moreless
  • Brookside was a great soap...simple as!

    I remember when I first watched Brookside. I can't remember exactly what happened but I remember Anna Freil was in the episode and it was before the 'body under the patio' drama. I must've been around 6-8 years old. I had told my dad I couldn't sleep, so he let me sit with him and watch it. I felt like such a rebel, I mean, this was late - it was after 9pm and I was watching a 'notorious' soap! lol.

    After that I tried to watch it when I could, it was different to other soaps, darker and more hard-hitting.

    When Philip Olivier arrived I really started taking notice, he was called 'Tinhead' but his name was Tim, we found that out later. I watched it religiously when he arrived lol. I thought he was good-looking and the soap was good why not?

    I think the most vivid memories I have are of the Shadwick family, Corkhills, Dixons, Farnhams, Johnsons etc. I remember Max's first wife, but I can't quite remember her name...that was when I was staying up past my bedtime lol.

    I really wish it hadn't been cancelled to be honest. I know it had a lot of major storylines and they said they had taken things as far as they could go, but there was good acting. I think the only reason ratings declined is because C4/S4C mucked around with when it was aired so nobody knew when the next episode would be on. If it had been aired regularly then it could still be around now.

    I loved the Emily/Tim relationship, it was really sweet and I was so happy when they got married lol. I also remember Greg Shadwick's affair with Max's second wife Susan(sp?) when they both ended up in that explosion at the bar. Jason was killed along with Greg...I think Susan made it, becuase Max pushed her down the stairs (huge storyline lol)

    There are so many great storylines that it's difficult to summarise them all and put into words the huge impact they had on the viewers.

    Just looking at the cast list brings back so many memories, there was an incest storyline...I thought it was funny but there was so much controversy over it! I remember Katie Rogers too, and when Max's children were killed in that car crash thingy. The cast names invoke so many memories it's hard to squash them all together and mention every one. Considering I was so young I do actually remember a lot of the characters and I really do miss the soap. So much should be on dvd lol.

    The thing that made the soap so well known was that it took real-life and put it on the screen, there was no 'cleaning it up' The hard-hitting storylines like the rape storyline with Nikki Shadwick was very emotive and well-acted.

    There were explosions/hostage situations/murder/incest...the list is endless - but it was good viewing and the last episode was a bit of an anti-climax for me. There was no big storyline, the houses were all being knocked down. I think it was fitting that Jimmy Corkhill had the last words 'Game Over' (that's what I remember anyway lol) but I think they still could have done something different. Come to think of it...maybe Brookside will spontaneously return in the future with the unexpected simple explanation that they didn't knock the houses down after-all! That'd be hilarious lol.

    So...all in all I can't fault the soap. I'll always have fond memories of 'Bev's Bar', 'Bar Brookie', the strong accents and the top class acting.

    The other great thing about the soap? Steve Murray, Tim O'Leary and Leo Johnson...all so damn cute!


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