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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 June, 2003, 17:47 GMT 18:47 UK
Brookside is finally axed
Brookside Close
The scenes were inappropriate for family viewing
Channel 4 soap Brookside has been axed with its final episode coinciding with the show's 21st anniversary in November.

The end of the Liverpool-based soap was signalled last year when it was moved from its peak-time slot.

Channel 4 jointly announced with Brookside's makers, Mersey TV, that the show will disappear from the schedules for good.

The cast and crew were told of the decision earlier on Wednesday.

Brookside has had a turbulent time recently, with viewing figures slumping from a high of seven million during the show's heyday to just 1.5 million.

Anna Friel [R] shot to stardom in Brookside
Brookside creator Phil Redmond said: "Everything comes down to the fact that Channel 4 changed - and Brookside didn't fit the mix.

"It happens. Life must move on and we have all come to terms with that."

He added he was "particularly pleased that the programme is ending on such a strong year".

Mr Redmond said it was, "doing exactly what I intended it to do 21 years ago - blending entertainment with the raising of social issues".

'Changed radically'

He said he thought "a lot of people" would be sad at the show's demise, but added: "We have a lot to be proud of. We should not be looking back."

Channel 4 chief executive Mark Thompson described the soap as a "fantastically creative and brilliant programme", saying it was "pioneering dramatic and cutting edge storylines".

"It has always remained a high quality drama but television has changed radically since Brookside's inception and it is no longer an environment in which we believe it can exist and thrive," he said.

Mersey TV now plans to make a daily courtroom drama for Channel 4.

Each "case" will be screened over five days and viewers will be able to text in with their verdicts, before seeing a re-enactment of the crime so viewers can see if they reached the right decision.

Mersey TV is also planning to develop several late-night dramas which Redmond said would be "grown-up telly".

The company's teen soap Hollyoaks is to go five nights a week from the autumn.

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