Twenty years after Channel 4's legendary Brookside aired, some of the cast have stayed in the spotlight, while others have suffered tragic fates.
The legendary eighties soap, which ran from 1982 to 2003, was set in Liverpool and led the way for television dramas to follow, tackling ground-breaking storylines that never failed to push boundaries. From the first pre-watershed lesbian kiss to harrowing domestic abuse that ended in murder, the gritty series didn't shy away from breaking taboos.
But what happened to the cast after the two-decade-long show ended? Here, we take a look at the stars of Brookside now, from Hollywood stardom to miracle babies, a near-fatal illness, and a sad death.
Jimmy Corkhill - Dean Sullivan
Dean Sullivan was the longest-serving cast member on Brookside, playing Jimmy Corkhill. Jimmy battled drug addiction during the show's run and most famously discovered Trevor Jordache's body under the patio with Eddie Banks. After the soap ended, Dean starred in sitcom Terry Across the Mersey and hosted a radio show.
It was announced today that Dean has died at the age of 68. His family and friends have paid tribute to the award-winning star. A statement given from Hamilton Management and his family read: "To millions he was and very much still is remembered as 'Jimmy', to family and friends he was 'Dino'. Dean's family wants to thank Arrowe Park Hospital for their unwavering and consistent support. We ask that you respect their privacy in their time of grief."
Dean's cause of death has not yet been confirmed. The actor was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018 and was discharged by his consultant last year after a course of radiotherapy. He was given the all-clear and went on to urge people to "listen to their bodies" as he shared his early symptoms.
Anna Friel - Beth Jordache
Beth was involved in two of Brookside's biggest plots during the early 1990s. The Jordache family made up of mum, Mandy, and daughters, Beth and Rachel, moved into the Close in 1993 and it soon emerged that Mandy had been abused by her husband, Trevor, for years.
Not only that, but the violent father had also been sexually abusing his eldest daughter, Beth, played by Anna Friel, 45, and in desperation the family had fled to a safe house. Trevor found them and persuaded Mandy to let him move back in - but the violence soon started again and he began abusing younger sister, Rachel.
Eventually, Mandy stabbed Trevor to death and with the help of Beth and close friend, Sinbad, buried him under the patio, where he was discovered a few years later. The following year, in a trailblazing storyline, Beth and close friend, Margaret, were involved in the first pre-watershed kiss on TV.
It was broadcast around the world and even included in the Opening Ceremony for the London 2012 Olympic Games. For Anna though, she felt the taboo moment had far-reaching implications for her early career.
She said: "For a very long time I was defined by that kiss. And I didn't want to be. I spent years turning down other lesbian roles because it felt like going back to Beth. [But it] did also make me want to take on parts that showed extreme sides of women."
Since leaving Brookside, Anna has gone on to forge a hugely successful A-list career. She moved to Hollywood where she appeared in hit films including Rogue Trader and Limitless and the massively successful TV series Pushing Daisies.
Anna was part of the original Primrose Hill party pack back in the '90s, but moved out to Windsor, Berkshire, for a quiet life with daughter Gracie, 15, who she had with her actor ex David Thewlis. In 2001, the Marcella star almost died after being rushed to hospital with agonising stomach pain. She was just one hour away from death when a cyst she had on her ovary burst and filled her stomach with blood.
She told The Guardian Weekend: "I nearly died by burst ovarian cyst in 2001. I was doing the front cover of a magazine and someone said, 'Can you not pull your tummy in?' It turned out that I had been carrying two litres of blood in my stomach. I was rushed to hospital the next morning and nearly died of septicaemia. They had to give me two blood transfusions. Had it been an hour later it would have been bye bye."
Jennifer Ellison - Emily Shadwick
Teenage Emily burst into Brookside Close with the Shadwick family in 1998. When her father was killed and her mother moved to Brussels, Emily decided to stay in Liverpool with her older sister, Nikki, and embarked on a relationship with Timothy O'Leary, known as Tinhead.
However, tragedy struck in 2002 when Emily was involved in a siege on the close and fell to her death while trying to escape from her bedroom window. Jennifer, now 37, initially went on to find big screen fame playing Meg Giry in the film version of Phantom of the Opera in 2004.
She also dabbled with reality television, winning Hell's Kitchen and competing in the 2012 series of Dancing on Ice. The Dance Mums UK judge married boxer Robbie Tickle in Mauritius in 2009 and they went on to have three children - sons Bobby, 11, Harry, seven and Charlie, six.
And her second pregnancy came as something of a shock with Jennifer almost five months along before she found out. "I didn't even know I was pregnant and I'm almost five months gone now," she said in disbelief at the time. "I can't believe I'm having another baby in July. It's been a massive shock."
These days Jennifer runs her own dance studios Jelli Studios which produced Boogie Storm who appeared in the Britain's Got Talent final. And after sharing her weight battles on ITV's Lorraine in 2015, she vowed “never to yo-yo diet again” after reaching 14st.
Claire Sweeney - Lindsey Corkhill
Claire, 49, spent 10 years playing Jimmy Corkhill's devoted daughter, Lindsey, in Brookside Close and was one of the cast members who stayed until the end. When the soap was axed, Claire carved out a successful West End career, starring as Roxie Hart in Chicago and appearing opposite Patrick Swayze in Guys and Dolls.
Appearances on Strictly Come Dancing followed, along with Loose Women and Claire is still enjoying a successful theatre career. She has even co-written her own comedy musical Sex and the Suburbs with Mandy Muden and has a successful radio career, including stints presenting on Magic Radio and Radio 2.
Claire has also fronted a fitness DVD and even launched her own line of jewellery. She starred in the final episode of hit comedy Benidorm and returned to our screens in Scarborough. She gave birth to her first child - her son, Jaxon - aged 43, after many years of trying and two miscarriages in 2012 and 2013.
She and her ex-partner Daniel Reilly struggled to conceive and turned to fertility drug Clomid, to help produce eggs. Opening up about her agony at the time, she said: “When I got pregnant the first time it kind of happened and surprised me a bit. Then unfortunately I lost it after 12 weeks.
"After that we were trying again and it just didn’t seem to be happening and they gave me Clomid and it happened but about two weeks later I miscarried. They say with Clomid it can push through the eggs that aren’t quite that healthy. The second miscarriage really knocked me for six because it was planned and had got my head round the fact I was having a baby and I desperately wanted a baby. it was absolutely devastating."
The stress of their fertility battle ultimately drove them apart, but just as it looked as if all hope was gone, Claire found out she was pregnant with their beloved son Jaxon, six.
Thomas 'Sinbad' Sweeney -Michael Starke
Unlucky in love Sinbad was a loveable rogue who thought he'd finally found happiness with Mandy Jordache, only to have it snatched away. He was one of the early characters on the Close but left the soap in 2000, three years before it was axed.
Since then, Michael, 63, has gone on to star in the ITV series The Royal and joined the cast of Coronation Street in in 2007. He was axed from the show the following year and later blasted the 'faceless' TV executives who culled his role as kebab shop owner Jerry Morton.
"They made a mistake and I think they know they made a mistake in getting rid of us," he fumed at the time. "The TV world can be faceless. I don't know the individuals responsible but things could have been handled better." But he added: "I loved the other actors and the crew are wonderful. I'll always be a Corrie fan. That'll never change."
Michael is now a successful stage actor, appearing in several touring productions of hit West End shows, including Hairspray and Sister Act. In 2018 Michael appeared in Benidorm and in the drama Virtues. He is a regular cabaret performer on P&O Britannia and is working on a new musical with his songwriting partner, Joe Wynne, about Everton FC.
Timothy 'Tinhead' O'Leary - Philip Olivier
Tinhead initially played a bully in the Channel 4 soap but changed his ways when his actions nearly killed his little sister. He formed an unlikely bond with Sinbad, who invited the troubled teen to live with him and Tinhead started a relationship with Emily.
When his girlfriend was killed in the siege in 2002, he started to go off the rails and narrowly avoided jail several times. In the final episodes of the show he was working as a limo driver and was involved in the killing of a drug dealer.
Since Brookside was axed Philip, 40, carved out a successful TV career, appearing on The Games, Come Dine With Me and Benidorm and has three children with partner Amy Virtue. He is best mates with former Coronation Street star Ryan Thomas and is CEO of tour company Liverpool City Sights, which runs open-top bus tours around the historic city.
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