British soap Brookside, which ran for more than 20 years on Channel 4 will be available to watch again from the start next month when the series is released through streaming service STV Player. The The show was set on a fictional street in Liverpool, and focused on the disputes between the residents.
Brookside became known for dramatic storylines including issues of rape, alcohol and drug abuse, racism, and domestic abuse. The show also made history, featuring the first openly gay British TV character, and the first pre-watershed lesbian kiss.
The soap launched the careers of Ricky Tomlinson, Sue Johnston, Amanda Burton, and Sunetra Sarker. Over the years, the popularity of the series declined leading to its eventual cancellation. But now, fans can enjoy Brookside all over again as the series is to be made available to stream online.
When did Brookside end?
Brookside began on Channel 4 on the day that the channel launched, 2 November 1982. The series ran for 21 years and almost 3,000 episodes, ending in November 2003.
The soap peaked in popularity in the mid-1980s, when there were only four channels, with regular audiences of more than eight million. By the early 2000s, the show had lost most of its audience and by the time its cancellation was announced, viewing figures were at less than 400,000 per episode - although more than 2 million watched the finale.
The final episode saw the residents leave Brookside close as developers moved in to demolish their properties. When the show ended, the houses were repurposed as sets for its other shows including Grange Hill and Hollyoaks.
The 13 properties of Brookside Close were sold in 2008 - they have since been renovated into real homes rather than film sets, and are lived in by real occupants.
Who was in the cast of Brookside?
Alexandra Fletcher was the most prolific member of the Brookside cast, appearing as Jacqui Farnham in more than 1,900 episodes. Dean Sullivan played Jimmy Corkhill in exactly 1,800 episodes, and Paul Byatt and Claire Sweeney played Mike Dixon and Lindsey Corkhill in more than 1,600 episodes.
Ricky Tomlinson and Sue Johnston played husband and wife Bobby and Sheila Grant - they would go on to play another married couple in the BBC One sitcom The Royel Family. Amanda Burton, who is now well known for her role in Silent Witness, played Heather Huntington, and Sunetra Sarker played Sue Johnston.
Is Brookside coming back?
Brookside is returning to TV in the UK, but unfortunately for mega-fans of the show, new episodes are not in the works. Rather, old episodes from the show’s original run will be available to watch again.
Currently, only eight of the 2,915 episodes that were made are available to watch online in the UK. These are the first and last ever episodes, three episodes from 1986, and three from the 1990s. These episodes are available to watch now on All 4, ITVX, and BritBox.
However, fans won’t have to wait much longer to revisit the soap in full. Scottish channel STV will release the first 10 episodes of the series on its streaming service STV Player on Wednesday 1 February, with five more episodes being released each week. Episodes will be released in the order that they first aired. At the rate of five episodes a week, it will take more than 11 years for entire show to be released on STV Player.
STV Player has released a 10 second trailer teasing the release of the classic show - the trailer shows the Brookside Close street sign, which now reads ‘It’s Close’. Episodes will not air on the STV television channel and will only be available on STV Player.
How can you watch STV in England?
The STV channel is not available to television viewers outside Scotland - however, STV Player is available across the UK. STV Player is a free ads-based streaming service - you can watch unlimited content, much like on BBC iPlayer, ITVX, and All 4.
To begin using STV Player go to the platform website and sign up for a free account. You need to enter your email address, name, date of birth and postcode. You can also sign up to STV Player VIP by joining the mailing list - this will result in you seeing fewer adverts when streaming content.
Other major shows available on STV Player include Taggart, The Escape Artist, Fresh Meat, and The Thin Blue Line.