Brookside is a soap opera
set in and around a street
in the Liverpool suburbs
. The first episode was broadcast
on 2nd November 1982
. By the mid-eighties, the drama
was Channel 4
's most popular programme. Nowadays, its viewing figures lag far behind those of other soap
s such as the BBC
's Coronation Street
. However, the programme
has aquired something of a cult
following in recent years.
The idea for a soap opera set in Liverpool came to Phil Redmond in 1980. Channel 4 was set to launch in two years' time, and the go-ahead was given for the company to purchase six houses on a new housing estate and create the permanent Brookside set; Brookside Close. A more recent addition is Brookside Parade, a few minutes' walk away from the Close. This is the commercial heart of the soap: the petrol station, Bev's Bar, the walk-in surgery, the fitness centre, the hairdresser's. The flats above these shops provide additional accommodation for characters.
Brookside is the kind of programme you either love or hate. Some find it melodramatic and ludicrous, others are gripped by the story lines, and others still watch in order to be entertained by the antics of the larger-than-life characters. Phil Redmond's love for hard hitting issues has had an impact on the programme. Who could forget the famous (and very popular) lesbian kiss? Then there was the Trevor Jordache affair, which dealt with the controversial issue of wife beating. There are few people, however, who watch Brookside for the social issues it tackles. For the most part, viewers like to be entertained. Be it by the scrapes which the loveable rogues get themselves into, or the amusing Scouse accent. Brookside is good clean fun.
Brookside has been responsible for rocketing actors such as Ricky Tomlinson, Sue Johnstone and Anna Friel to fame.