Page last updated at 20:15 GMT, Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Brookside homes to be auctioned

Brookside close
The famous homes are standing empty and in need of repair

It was the scene of murder, drug dealing and hostage-taking but now Brookside Close is due to be sold to the highest bidder.

The Liverpool cul-de-sac used in gritty Channel 4 soap opera Brookside is being auctioned, with a 650,000 guide price.

The three and four-bedroom homes were acquired by Mersey Television in 1982 and used as a set until the show ended in 2003.

They were bought by developers in 2005 but remained empty and need repairs.

Six of the houses - in West Derby - were used as sets.

The others housed the administration, post-production, canteen, make-up and technical facilities for cast and crew.

Stuart Gayer, partner at London-based auction house Allsop, said Wednesday morning's sale had attracted plenty of enquiries.

"Interest has been quite good and we raised the guide price from 550,000 to 650,000 but you never know what will happen until the day," he said.

Lesbian kiss

The close's new owners will inherit the location for some of television's most dramatic moments.

Brookside was renowned for breaking new ground and highlights included British television's first pre-watershed lesbian kiss and the murder and burial under the patio of Trevor Jordache.

At its height, the show regularly attracted eight million viewers.

But it was moved from its usual primetime slot, after ratings slumped to around one million, and eventually axed.

It went out in typically controversial fashion, with the final show featuring a vigilante mob hanging drug dealer Jack Michaelson from his bedroom window.

Despite the close's crime-plagued - albeit fictional - past, auctioneers describe it as a "unique investment opportunity".

Price slump

A number of the properties were offered for sale last year and had been expected to fetch up to 250,000 each.

But the asking price for the properties dropped as house prices fell in the economic downturn.

Among those who might consider the famous red-brick homes to be a bargain is former "resident" Dean Sullivan.

The actor, who starred as much-loved rogue Jimmy Corkhill, reportedly told listeners of his local radio show he wanted to get a loan to buy the homes and perhaps even revive the soap.

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