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  • Summary: 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.
  • Genre(s): Soap
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