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EDITIONS
Thursday, 10 October, 2002, 16:28 GMT 17:28 UK
Brookside creator attacks Channel 4
Brookside actresses Claire Sweeney and Alexandra Fletcher
New storyline prepared for soap's 20th anniversary
Brookside's creator has attacked Channel 4 for not waiting for the soap's 1.5m re-launch before deciding to move it out of a prime-time evening slot.

Phil Redmond described the timing of the decision to move the soap to a single Saturday daytime episode as "daft".


The programme that pioneered so-called taboo subjects has found itself hamstrung by the Family Viewing Policy

Phil Redmond

The last peak-time transmission will be on 21 November - less than three weeks after the show is revamped to mark its 20th anniversary.

Industry experts have predicted this will be the first step towards the soap going off air next year when its contract comes up for renewal.

Mersey Television boss Mr Redmond said they were "pole-axed" by the announcement but the Brookside team was not expecting this to be the end for the soap.

"Our big beef is that Channel 4 did not wait for the results of the 1.5m revamp changing the soap's look, story and music.

Relaunch plans

He said they had a "fantastic storyline" for the relaunch on 2 November.

"Some people say it is the best Brookside ever made.

Phil Redmond
Mr Redmond: Soap bounced around schedule
"They have made the decision without taking this on board.

"They have not even seen a frame of the new show - it is daft of them."

The soap will be moving to Saturdays only from 30 November.

He said the new storyline would go ahead.

"If it is a great success then I think they would change the plans," he said.

He is happy with the Saturday afternoon slot, which traditionally has been the time for the soap's ominbus edition, as he said it has always been a popular slot with fans.

But Mr Redmond criticised the channel for "bouncing" the soap around the schedule.

"I have been pushing for a regular slot for a long time so this move could be good for Brookie."

Regulations too stringent

He also blamed television regulations as a key factor behind the programme's declining viewing figures in the past few years.

"I have become more and more creatively frustrated by the nanny-state style compliance issues we are having to deal with on a daily basis.

"In the end it pushes us toward making Mary Poppins TV.

"The programme that pioneered so-called taboo subjects has found itself hamstrung by the Family Viewing Policy now enshrined in the television regulations."

He said Brookside was facing "difficult times" and agreed it was time to take "a long hard look" at the soap's future.

"I suspect 2003 will probably be the last year we see Brookside in its present form, format and time slot," he said.

However the Brookside team were not thinking about the possibility that the show might be axed altogether.

"We will let the dust settle and just wait and see what happens next," he said.

 VOTE RESULTS
Is it time to axe Channel 4 soap Brookside?

Yes
 66.07% 

No
 33.93% 

3911 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

See also:

10 Oct 02 | Entertainment
03 Oct 02 | Entertainment
22 Jul 02 | Entertainment
09 Jul 02 | Entertainment
29 Apr 01 | Entertainment
02 May 00 | Entertainment
21 Apr 00 | UK
18 Oct 99 | Entertainment
20 Apr 99 | Entertainment
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