From the character’s accents and attitudes to the famous sites and places – there is no denying that Brookside is quintessential “Scouse.” The people of Liverpool are proud to look back on this show, believing that it was a fine representation of some of the darker corners of suburban living. With its numerous dark storylines and notorious characters, it’s amazing that it was broadcast as early as it was. This begs the question: where are our favorite Brookie characters now and what are they doing with their lives? Join us as we explore some of the most iconic characters of Brookside and reveal exactly what they are doing nowadays.
Anna Friel – Beth Jordache
Although she only starred in Brookside for a couple of series, Anna Friel made a huge impression with her role as Beth.
She will be best remembered for that kiss with Margaret; the first kiss shared by two women on a British soap.
Anna Friel – Now
Without a shadow of a doubt, Anna Friel is one of the most successful actresses to have come out of Brookside.
Not only has she starred in numerous shows, but Friel has also made a smooth transition into film, having roles in movies such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Land of the Lost, and Limitless. Friel has also been married to a couple of A-list actors such as Fargo‘s David Thewlis and Notting Hill star Rhys Ifans.
Claire Sweeney – Lindsey Corkhill
Another standout female character on Brookside was Lindsey Corkhill, who was portrayed by the happy-go-lucky Claire Sweeney. During her three stints on the show, Claire got into all sorts of mischief.
Not only did she have a series of affairs and failed marriages, but she eventually delved into a life of crime. At one point, she even carried a weapon on her for self-protection. When all was said and done, Lindsey traded in Brookside Close for Newcastle.
Claire Sweeney – Now
Since Brookside came to an end in 2003, Claire Sweeney has been alternating between reality TV and performing on the road in a variety of theater productions. She first appeared on Celebrity Big Brother, which was in aid of Comic Relief.
From 2003 to 2005, she was a regular speaker on Loose Women. Soon enough, Sweeney developed a reputation as a talented stage artist, performing in shows such as Chicago and Hairspray. Sweeney has been in an on-and-off relationship with Tony Hibbard, having a child in 2014.
Philip Olivier – Tim “Tinhead” O’Leary
When Philip Olivier got his first acting role as Tim O’Leary, he didn’t know if he would be up to the task. However, it was soon clear that he would have nothing to worry about as fans loved his character.
“Tinhead,” as he was also known, was at the center of many dramatic storylines. However, he was probably best known for his relationship with Emily, who tied the knot with him when he was released from prison.
Philip Olivier – Now
Since leaving Brookside, the main niche that Benidorm star Philip Olivier has taken advantage of is chat shows. The actor has appeared on numerous chat shows such as The Paul O’Grady Show, Loose Women, and The Wright Stuff, to name a few.
He is also beloved by “Whovians” for his portrayal of Hex, the Seventh Doctor’s companion in audio plays based on Doctor Who. Olivier has also worked in numerous musicals such as Never Forget and Dick Whittington.
Amanda Burton – Heather Black
One of the more high-profile actresses to end up on Brookside, the fantastic Amanda Burton first made a name for herself on the Liverpool-based soap as the strong Heather Black.
During her time on the show during the 80s, Heather was the embodiment of Brookside Close’s young community. However, Heather was unable to avoid the drama, finding out that her husband Roger was having an affair. A tragic second marriage with Nicholas Black followed, and Heather left the show after his death.
Amanda Burton – Now
Amanda Burton is a classic example of an actress who has gone on to bigger and better things after Brookside. Since leaving the show in 1986, Amanda Burton has appeared on shows such as Peak Practice and Silent Witness.
She also had a notable role in the kids school drama Waterloo Road. It’s not just TV that Burton has made a name for herself in. In 2009, she starred alongside Tom Hardy in the critically acclaimed Bronson. She has been married twice and has two kids.
Dean Sullivan – Jimmy Corkhill
First appearing as the recurring character in 1986, the brother of Billy Corkhill soon became a permanent fixture on the show and was integral to many of Brookside’s biggest storylines until it ended in 2003.
Dean Sullivan’s character was beloved by fans and critics alike for his anti-hero qualities. The bad boy and roguish character of the show, Jimmy was at one point a bartender and his issues with illicit substances practically destroyed his marriage with wife Jackie.
Dean Sullivan – Now
To this day, Dean Sullivan is still keeping very busy in the world of entertainment. One of his most recent projects was the sitcom Terry Across the Mersey. He has also been presenting a daily radio show on one of Liverpool’s main station’s City Talk 105.9.
In 2008, Sullivan expressed his desire to buy Brookside Close in order to revive the show. However, the street ended up getting bought out by a higher bidder. He also hopes to reprise his role as Jimmy in other soaps.
Sue Johnston – Sheila Grant
It wouldn’t take long before Sue Johnston’s character Sheila would eclipse her husband Barry’s charismatic presence to become one of the show’s most beloved characters.
Sheila was one of just 16 main characters who were around during the early stages of Brookside. She was at the center of a “Who Did It” scenario after being savagely attacked by a mysterious assailant. Although everyone was a suspect, it turned out that it was a local taxi driver who caused the damage.
Sue Johnston – Now
For her role alongside on-screen husband Ricky Tomlinson in The Royale Family, Sue Johnston received rave reviews and even won numerous awards for her performance.
These included a BAFTA and a British Comedy Award. Other shows that Johnston has been heavily involved in since Brookside include Waking the Dead, Coronation Street, and Downton Abbey, to name a few. Like Tomlinson, Sue Johnston is also an avid political figure, campaigning a lot over the years for the Labour Party.
Paul Usher – Barry Grant
Originally one-half of Brookside’s most mischievous pair (the second half being Terry Sullivan), Barry Grant was the epitome of what it meant to be a “bad boy.”
With time, Barry became one of the prime villains of the show and was hated by the masses, doing some of the most untellable things ever seen on British soap. Although his role on Brookside was sporadic, Barry is one of the only characters to have appeared in both the series pilot back in 1982 and the series finale in 2003.
Paul Usher – Now
Brookside wasn’t the only show that Paul Usher had a notable role in during his career. From 2001 to 2004, he starred as PC Des Taviner in popular police drama The Bill.
It was during his time on the show that he met future wife Charlotte. Since then, the couple tied the knot in Rhodes and live in Kent with their child, Lucas. Tragedy turned its ugly head for Usher when his son from another marriage, James, died in 2014, at just 25 years of age.
Michael Starke – Thomas “Sinbad” Sweeney
Although he was known on Brookside as Sinbad, Michael Starke’s character’s full name was actually Thomas Henry Edward Sweeney. One of the longest-running characters on the show, Sinbad was on Brookside for a staggering 16 years!
Originally written as a form of comic relief to balance out the more serious storylines, Sinbad’s character got fleshed out a lot more over years. His arc came to a head when he was at the center of a nasty scandal, which ultimately caused his departure.
Michael Starke – Now
While Sinbad’s departure from Brookside was absolutely tragic, Michael Starke continued to find work in a variety of other TV shows. He had notable roles on shows such as The Drama, Coronation Street, and Doctors, to name a few.
Starke has also had his fair share of movie limelight, starring in flicks such as The 51st State and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. Starke has starred in numerous stage productions such as Cinderella in Southport and Grease is the Word.
Ricky Tomlinson – Bobby Grant
One of the most likable characters in the early days of Brookside, Bobby Grant was actually one of the first people to move into the estate. Not only that, but Ricky Tomlinson’s character was the first member of the main cast to have a spoken line on the soap opera.
During his six years on Brookside, Bobby was an outspoken individual and politically charged, with a desire to affect change for his community and beyond. After his divorce with Sheila, Bobby left the show.
Ricky Tomlinson – Now
Amazingly, Brookside isn’t what Ricky Tomlinson is most famous for. After leaving the show, both he and his on-screen wife Sue Johnston worked together once again on the classic comedy The Royale Family.
Despite only running for three seasons, the show was beloved by the British public, winning numerous awards and was placed 31st in the 100 greatest British TV programmes by the British Film Institute. He also starred in Mike Bassett: England Manager. Like Bobby Grant, Tomlinson is heavily involved in politics.
Brian Regan – Terry Sullivan
During the early stages of the show’s run, Brian Regan played the mischievous Terry Sullivan, who was instantly recognizable for his perm and Tom Selleck-esque mustache.
However, he was extremely different to the Magnum P.I. character, and got into all sorts of legal entanglements during his time on Brookside. He was known for his bromance with Barry Grant, with the duo consistently having clandestine activities in the works, such as insurance scams and selling faulty devices for rip-off prices.
Brian Regan – Now
It seemed like life imitated art for Brian Regan long after his time on Brookside came to an end. Regan ended up going down even darker avenues than his character Terry ever did.
After the murder of a bouncer at a Liverpool bar, Regan was listed as one of the prime suspects. Despite being cleared of all charges related to the case, he was eventually sentenced to four years for driving the actual attacker to and from the scene of the crime.
Sue Jenkins – Jackie Corkhill
Although fans were aware that Jimmy Corkhill had a wife by the name of Jackie, it would take five long years before she finally made her first on-screen appearance. Sue Jenkins was cast in the role and portrayed Jackie for ten years.
Despite being estranged at first, the couple got back together when Jenkins joined the show. However, things were far from peachy between the couple, with affairs and mistrust dominating their relationship. Jackie and Jimmy won best on-screen partnership at the 2000 British Soap Awards.
Sue Jenkins – Now
The term “soap opera” and Sue Jenkins seem to go hand in hand pretty well. Not only did she star in Brookside, but Jenkins also worked on a plethora of other soap operas such as Doctors, Midsomer Murders, Heartbeat and Holby City, to name a few. That’s not all though.
She is married to David Fleeshman, who also had minor roles in soaps such as Brookside, Emmerdale, and Eastenders. Her children Emily and Richard have also had roles on soaps such as Coronation Street and Doctors.
Gillian Kearny – Debbie McGrath
Although she was only in Brookside for three years during the late-80s, Gillian Kearney was involved in a plot line that not only made her character famous but also put her on the map of the acting world.
She first came onto the show as Damon Grant’s underage girlfriend, a detail that caused huge frictions between their families. One critic called the storyline “Romeo and Julio in trackies.” Amazingly, their storyline was so popular that they ended up having a three-part spinoff called Damon and Debbie.
Gillian Kearney – Now
Like other cast members from Brookside, Gillian Kearney transfered her acting skills into a variety of other soap operas since leaving the show back in 1989.
In the 00s, Kearney appeared on shows such as Shameless, Casualty, and Emmerdale, signing two-year contracts in each respective show. However, it was her role as James Barton’s estranged wife Emma in Emmerdale that gained her much critical acclaim. She was nominated for Best Serial Drama Performance at the 2016 National Television Awards.
Leon Lopez – Jerome Johnson
First introduced in 1989, the Johnsons added something different to the show, being the first mixed-race family on Brookside. Along with Leo, Mick, and Ellis, the Johnsons were an integral family of the show right up until the series finale.
Although they were well-established, Leon Lopez only started playing the role of Jerome in 1999. His main storyline revolved around his on and off relationship with Suzanne Collins’s character Nikki Shadwick. One thing was for sure; fans fell in love with Jerome from day one.
Leon Lopez – Now
In recent times, Leon Lopez has seen something of a renaissance in his career. In 2015, he decided to go behind the camera for the first time, directing the critically acclaimed Soft Lad.
Just a year later, Lopez traded in Brookside Close for Albert Square, joining the cast of EastEnders as the character Linford Short. Lopez also had some success in the music industry, releasing his debut album Moving On in 2007. This was after he starred on the reality show Soapstar Superstar.
Simon O’Brien – Damon Grant
One half of the three-part spinoff Damon and Debbie, Simon O’Brien was one of the most popular characters on Brookside during the 80s.
The youngest child of Bobby and Sheila, Damon was relatable to young viewers as they were able to see some of the show’s storylines through a teenager’s eyes. Donning a classic 80s mullet, Damon epitomized the fashion of the time. Damon proved that male characters have the potential to be so much more complex than previously thought.
Simon O’Brien – Now
It has been a long time now since Simon O’Brien was in show business. Since the early 90s, the actor has been quite the environmentalist/health enthusiast, having found Liverpool Cycle Centre. The initiative created a cycle shop, a vegetarian cafe, and cycle parking in order to promote cycling.
However, O’Brien has since returned to acting, starring as Wally Scott in Grange Hill. After hosting BBC Radio Merseyside’s breakfast show for a year, O’Brien went on to host To Build or Not to Build.
Nicola Stephenson – Margaret Clemence
While Nicola Stephenson’s character Margaret Clemence may not be the best-remembered character on Brookside, she was certainly part of one of the most memorable moments.
It seems like everyone who watched it remembered that kiss that she had with Anna Friel’s character, Beth Jordache. It made history, becoming the first on-screen kiss ever shared by two women in a British soap opera. In 2012, 5 billion people ended up seeing the kiss when Danny Boyle included it at the London Olympics opening ceremony.
Nicola Stephenson – Now
It seems that that history-making kiss completely changed Nicola Stephenson’s career forever. Since leaving Brookside in 1993, the talented actress has landed lead roles in a long list of TV shows. These include the likes of Casualty, Holby City, Clocking Off, and The Chase.
Stephenson ended up being reunited with her co-star from The Chase, Gaynor Faye, when she joined the cast of Emmerdale for a year. She played the role of Tess Harris before being killed off in a driveby.
Sarah White – Bev Dixon
Although Sarah White’s character Bev was hated by many fans, those very same people struggled to keep their eyes off her for being so capricious. Her main storyline revolved around tempting Ron Dixon away from his wife at the time, DD.
Their May-December relationship weirded some fans out, but as time went on, they became endearing and a form of comic relief on Brookside. They may have temporarily split up, but the couple reunited before leaving the show together.
Sarah White – Now
Although the Sarah White’s character was part of one of the most standout relationships on Brookside, the actress has never been able to emulate the success that she gained on the Liverpool-based soap opera.
Shortly after the show came to an end, White made a guest appearance on the medical soap opera Doctors. In fact, White has portrayed three different characters on the same show. In 2017, White had a minor role in the British movie God’s Own Country, which received universal critical acclaim.
Suzanne Collins – Nikki Shadwick
Nikki Shadwick has probably suffered more than any other character on Brookside. During her five years on the soap opera, she went through a variety of misfortunes, such as being victimized at a house party, losing both her father and brother after a huge explosion and also being stalked by a friend who became obsessed with her.
To top it all off, Nikki lost her sister Emily, who was killed off before the end of the series.
Suzanne Collins – Now
Suzanne Collins’s on-screen sister Jennifer Ellison has become a bigger name over the years. However, this should take nothing away from the reputation that Collins has developed since leaving Brookside in 2003.
During the time, she had given birth to her daughter. Nevertheless, Collins was able to balance her family life and professional life, landing roles in shows such as The Bill and Doctors. Collins eventually found High Horizon Ltd., a drama company that provides acting and drama workshops for British schools.
Alex Fletcher – Jacqui Farnham
This might come as a surprise to many diehard fans, but here goes: Alex Fletcher is officially the longest-serving cast member in Brookside‘s history, playing the role of Jacqui Farnham for a staggering 404 episodes!
This means that during her time on the soap opera, between 1990-2003, Fletcher rarely missed an episode. Even characters such as Barry Grant, who had been in and out of the show during the entire show’s run, failed to star in as many episodes as Jacqui Farnham!
Alex Fletcher – Now
Although she is officially the longest-serving character in Brookside‘s history, Alex Fletcher eventually jumped ship to another soap opera by the show’s creators – Hollyoaks. She played character Diana O’Connor from 2010 onwards. However, before she joined, Fletcher qualified as a fitness instructor.
She hosted the ECHO Mum of the Year awards a staggering three times. Fletcher is also a wonderful mother in her own right, having married on-screen boyfriend Neil Davies (Brookside‘s Robbie Moffatt) and having two kids with him.
Ray Quinn – Anthony Murray
One of the youngest characters on the show before it came to an end in 2003, Anthony Murray was a good lad who struggled to fit in at school.
He was played by the talented child star Ray Quinn, who was at the center of one of the most shocking storylines in Brookside‘s history. After being incessantly bullied by Imelda, she ends up chasing him into the woods. When she hits her head on a rock, Anthony forces her under the water, killing her in the process.
Ray Quinn – Now
Normally, talented individuals turn to TV after making a name for themselves on talent shows such as The X Factor. However, Ray Quinn is an exception to the rule.
After Brookside came to an end, he tried his luck on the third series of the pop star auditions and narrowly missed out on first place to Leona Lewis. Since then, Quinn has also appeared on Dancing on Ice, and also won the first series of Get Your Act Together.
Jennifer Ellison – Emily Shadwick
Before becoming one of the most popular features of a variety of “lads’ mags,” Jennifer Ellison played the character of Emily Shadwick during the final five years of Brookside.
The youngest member of the Shadwick family, Emily got into a rocky relationship with Tim “Tinhead” O’Leary and ended up marrying him after he got released from prison. Less than a year before the show came to an end, Emily ended up dying with Tinhead by her side at the hospital.
Jennifer Ellison – Now
There is no doubt that Jennifer Ellison’s reputation as a model has eclipsed her role as Emily Shadwick. The actress has posed for numerous magazines such as Maxim, Nuts, FHM and Zoo.
She ended up taking over Katie Price as the main model for Ultimo’s “Young Attitude” fashion line. Often being selected in numerous “Most Beautiful Women in the World” polls, Ellison has been focusing more on her family life. Since marrying Robbie Tickle in 2009, Ellison has had three children.