Brookside: 34 things that made it totally brilliant telly

It was cruelly culled after 21 years but - just like the body under the patio - our memories won't stay buried

Brookside cast

by Katy Brent |

It was 4 November 2003 when we waved a sad goodbye to the best cul-de-sac based soap opera we believe the world has ever seen. And it still has a special place in the hearts of soap fans all over the UK.

If you still dream of coming home and eating your tea in front of Brookside, here are 34 reasons why we'll always miss it...

Check out: Brookside's best bits


34 reasons why we still miss Brookside

1. The Saturday omnibus
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CREDIT: Channel 4

Watch the Brookie omnibus, go out on the lash - that was the accepted Saturday ritual for many of us during the '90s. Followed by the EastEnders Omnibus with a hangover on the Sunday. Good times.

2. Barry Grant
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Meena Jutla and Gray Atkins have NOTHING on the original soap bad boy, Barry Grant. He once popped a gun up a rival's bottom when he tried to rape his girlfriend. You don't get that in Corrie. He was pretty phwoar as well.

3. Damon and Debbie
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CREDIT: Channel 4

Damon and Debbie who were so cool, they even got their own spin-off. They were Brookie's answer to Romeo and Juliet (or Scott and Charlene). They went on the run after their parents didn't approve of their relationship. Sadly it led to Damon getting stabbed and dying in Debbie's arms, but still, it was good while it lasted.

4. The opening credits
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CREDIT: Channel 4

Who could forget the wonderful opening credits? It was like a day trip around a rainy Liverpool in 30 seconds, before delivering us right to the entrance of Brookside Close. Perfect.

5. Jimmy Corkhill (particularly Jimmy on drugs)
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Like Barry Grant, Jimmy Corkhill is a Brookside icon. During his mammoth 17 years on the show (he was the longest serving cast member), Jimmy had every storyline going - from committing petty crime to being diagnosed with bi-polar. But it was his long-running drug abuse storyline that really got to us – and showed what an exceptional actor Dean Sullivan is. Jimmy was high on coke while driving and caused his neighbour Frank Rogers to swerve off the road. Frank died and Tony Dixon (Ron's son) was seriously injured. He eventually died from his injuries too, and Ron – unaware of Jimmy's involvement in the crash – asked him to be a pallbearer at the funeral. Jimmy cracked at his graveside and confessed his guilt. Oh, and in less devastating drug-related fails, he also had a cringe one-night-stand with Nikki 'The Perm' Shadwick.

6. The Scouse-isms
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CREDIT: Channel 4

The residents of Brookside Close seemed to have their own language – a bit like Danny Dyer in EastEnders. Here are some of our favourites:'Scallies' – rascals'Calm down, calm down' – Chill out a bit'The lecky' – The electricity'The Bizzies' – The police'Come 'ed, soft ollies' – Hurry up, silly bollocks'The werks' – a full English breakfast

7. Issues
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CREDIT: Channel 4

One thing Brookside did brilliantly was tackle difficult social and economic issues in a way no other soap has done before or since. In one tiny close there were social climbers, social fallers, drug addicts, yuppies and –at one point – a religious cult. They also tackled hard hitting stories like rape, divorce, child abuse, incest, infertility, bullying and domestic abuse before any one else dared. That was before it all went a bit silly and gangster circa 2002.

8. Hot dads
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CREDIT: Channel 4

Whether you liked a bit of rough like Greg Shadwick, or something a bit smoother like Ol' Blue Eyes, Max Farnham, there was a hot dad in Brookside Close to suit your tastes.

9. Emily Shadwick
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CREDIT: Channel 4

When Emily Shadwick (played by Jennifer Ellison) first moved to Brookside Close, she was a mousy little school girl who did a lot of sport. But overnight – it seemed – she became Emily Shadwick Sex Kitten. Her hair got blonder, her boobs got bigger, her skin got tanner and Jennifer Ellison became a lad's mag pin-up.

10. Tinhead
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CREDIT: Channel 4

Tinhead, Tinhead, Tinhead. The absolute definition of a scally with a heart of gold... eventually. Tinhead – played by Tim O'Leary – was first introduced as a bully and Mick Johnson tried to get him expelled from school for bullying his son, Leo. Eventually, Sinbad took Tinhead under his wing and he turned his life around. He was often Emily's voice of reason when she wanted to do Really Bad Stuff to Susannah Farnham (who she blamed for her dad dying). He even went to prison for her. Now if THAT isn't true love, we really don't know what it.

11. Sinbad
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CREDIT: Channel 4

Sinbad – AKA Thomas Sweeney – was the roly-poly window cleaner and best friend of Jimmy Corkhill. He was a bit of comic relief on the Close at first, but after helping Mandy and Beth Jordache dispose of a dead body under a patio, it's hard to go back to funny. Things got even darker (how is that possible?) when Sinbad was accused of child abuse – and not everyone on the Close believed his innocence. Sad face.

12. Jacqui and Katie
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CREDIT: Channel 4

These two were #friendshipgoals before #friendshipgoals were even a thing. They were bezzies (BFFs) through everything. And by 'everything' we mean bulimia (Katie), being a surrogate (Jacqui), joining a religious cult (Katie) and marrying the man she was a surrogate for (Jacqui).

13. The Scouse perms
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No man could rock a perm like the men of Brookside Close. Best when coupled with a proper '80s shellsuit, obviously.

14. Ray Quinn
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CREDIT: Channel 4

Before he became a reality star - skating his socks off in Dancing on Ice and and finishing in second place behind Leona Lewis in The X Factor in 2006 - actor/singer/dancer Ray Quinn played Anthony Murray in Brookside. His main storyline involved him being bullied by girls and eventually murdering the ringleader. Unsurprisingly, the child killer storyline has gone down as one of the most shocking in British soap history.

15. Beth and Margaret
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CREDIT: Channel 4

These days they'd be known as Bargaret. Or maybe Meth. Hmm, on second thoughts, maybe not Meth. But Beth and Margaret were THE soap 'ship before soap 'ships were even a thing. Sorry Robron, but you have nothing on this pair. When Beth hooked up with her friend, nanny Margaret, their lesbian kiss went down in history, as it was the first pre-watershed girl-on-girl smooch ever. Go Brookside!

16. Bobby and Sheila
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CREDIT: Channel 4

Before Ricky Tomlinson and Sue Johnston were Jim and Barbara Royale, they were Brookside LEGENDS Bobby and Sheila Grant (aka. Barry Grant's parents). Times weren't as fun in the Grant household as the Royale's though. Bobby and Sheila eventually separated following Sheila's rape and the death of their son, Damon.

17. Style goals
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CREDIT: Channel 4

From '80s shellsuits and Jacqui Dixon's Clueless inspired '90s wardrobe, to Lindsey Corkhill's cleavage-y trouser suits, Brookside was just a non-stop rollercoaster of style. Seriously.

18. The Religious Cult
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CREDIT: Channel 4

Evil Simon was the religious cult leader; he preyed on Katie Rogers and took her virginity as initiaton into the group, brainwashed Terry Sullivan after his wife and son died, and had an on-going feud with Barry Grant which culminated in him trying to blow up No.5 after Barry tried to evict the cult. When Simon eventually gassed himself in a car it was REALLY hard to feel sad.

19. Ron and Bev
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CREDIT: Channel 4

When Ron Dixon split with his first wife, DD, he hooked up with Bev McCloughlin. She was quite a bit younger than him so it was all pretty controversial. The pair were brilliant comedy value though, and even renamed their house Casa Bevron. Bev gave birth to their son Josh two years later...but then it came out that Ron wasn't Josh's dad, but his granddad after Bev's one-night-stand with Ron's son, Mike. Not so much comedy after that.

20. The Helicpoter crash
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CREDIT: Channel 4

During one of Brookside's many sieges, a helicopter got gunned down and crashed into The Parade (see below). Unfortunately The Parade also included a petrol station (because of course). There was a big explosion (obvs) and the entire Parade was taken out. Interesting fact, it's actually now part of the Hollyoaks set.

21. The Parade
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CREDIT: Channel 4

Talking of The Parade...the original Parade opened in 1991 and caused a lot of excitement as suddenly there were a whole load of new locations – such as Ron Dixon's Trading Post, a pizza shop, a hair salon and the nightclub, La Luz (fancy!). In true Brookside style, The Parade was soon marred in tragedy when Terry's wife Sue and her son Danny fell off the scaffolding and died. It was later revealed that Barry Grant killed them.

22. The Body under the patio
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CREDIT: Channel 4

Probably Brookie's finest hour was the Trevor Jordache story. Estranged wife Mandy and her daughters Beth and Rachel had moved to Brookside Close to a safe house (we're still pondering about the idea of a safe house on the most dangerous close in THE WORLD), escaping abusive Trevor. Unfortunately he found them and wormed his way back into their lives. Eventually Mandy stabbed Trevor to death with a kitchen knife while he was attacking Beth. With the help of Sinbad, Trevor's body was hidden under the patio. It stayed there until next door began to have problems with their drains sometime later…

23. The parodies
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CREDIT: Channel 4

Harry Enfield managed to make a regular feature in his show Harry Enfield's Television Programme parodying characters from Brookside. The Scousers were three perm-haired, shellsuit wearing, moustachioed Liverpudlians. It was pretty LOLS...

24. The Feuds
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CREDIT: Channel 4

Basically everyone had a feud with everyone in Brookie. It was a good excuse to tell each other to 'Calm down, ey?' Some of the most memorable feuds were Ron v Jimmy, Tinhead v Sinbad and Emily v Susannah.

25. Alan Partridge
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CREDIT: Channel 4

Yes, there really was a Brookside character called Alan Partridge. He was the first resident of the bungalow and (as far as we know) had nothing to do with Radio Norwich.

26. The siege(s)
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CREDIT: Channel 4

As we mentioned, Brookside Close had a few sieges in its time. There was one in 1985 when a gunmen got into the Close trying to avenge his mum's death. It was sealed off but Kate, one of the nurses who had been caring for the gunman's elderly mother, was shot. There was another siege in 2002 which involved drugs and resulted in the helicopter crash. Yes - Brookside was a very dangerous place to be.

27. The stunts
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CREDIT: Channel 4

Brookside became known for its stunts. Over the years there were car crashes - from Jimmy's coke induced one, to the one that killed Max and Susannah's kids - the helicopter crash, and a gas explosion on The Parade to name but a few. It's a wonder anyone came out alive really.

28. Ron Dixonu2019s Moby
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CREDIT: Channel 4

Remember the days when Ron Dixon would drive round in his Moby selling everything from dusters to snacks? Gosh, we miss the '90s.

29. La Luz
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CREDIT: Channel 4

The club in Brookie, orignially La Luz, but also Bar Brookie, Bev's Bar and Bar Brookie again, had it's share of drama including a protection racket. Still, we'd have given anything for a night out there.

30. The houses
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CREDIT: Channel 4

Brookside was different from our other soaps, as it was filmed in actual houses on an actual close. This gave it the almost-claustrophobic feel it was known for. Those houses have since been sold off as proper homes...and we're SO sad we don't live in one.

31. The Killer Virus
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CREDIT: Channel 4

Another weird one, Brookside went a bit Killer Bug Zombie Movie at one point, when it was closed off after residents started dropping dead like plague-infested rats. Brilliantly over the top.

32. Nat and Georgia - the incest kids
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CREDIT: Channel 4

Brookside probably got to its most controversial and shark-jump moment when the eldest brother and sister in well-to-do family, The Simpsons, were discovered to be having a sexual relationship. It probably wasn't Brookie's finest hour, but the ratings were wild.

33. Lindsey u2018Get Your Gun’ Corkhill
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CREDIT: Channel 4

It all went a bit nuts in the last few years when Lindsey Corkhil suddenly went from being a struggling single mum, to a gun-toting gangster mam with a taste for women. Struggling ratings, did someone say?

34. Whodunnits?
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CREDIT: Channel 4

There were plenty of great Whodunnits in Brookie: who Pushed Sue and Danny? Who Killed Susannah Farnham? Who thought it was a good idea to have an incest story? Etc.Ah Brookie, you may be gone, but you'll forever be in our hearts.

Brookside cast

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