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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 November 2003, 16:08 GMT
R.I.P. Brookside
THE PAVING STONES have been levelled, the cement set: Brookside, the once pioneering soap opera, has been laid to rest under Channel 4's patio.

Fittingly, the last episode was shown in the graveyard slot of 10.40pm on Tuesday, 4 November.

Crying women
Happier times
Born in 1982, at the genesis of the aforementioned channel, Brookside burst on to a stage inhabited by anodyne and aging contemporaries, most notably Coronation Street and Crossroads.

A feisty and belligerent baby, it set about tearing up the rulebook that had thus far governed soaps, by mixing sharp social issues in recession-hit Britain, with a dry, shrewd wit.

In Brookside Close unemployed Scousers with bubble-perms rubbed shoulders with independent career women; middle-class families humbled by economic convulsions wrought by Thatcherism shared a postcode with the ascendant, self-made working class.

A good eight years before John Major set out his vision for a "classless society" Brookside embodied the notion, with all its inherent insecurities.

Brookie, as it became known to its legions of admirers, strayed where other soaps feared to go. Rape, homosexuality, racism, drugs, domestic violence, revenge killings, arson, Aids, mastectomies, crazed gunmen, bodies under the patio, flesh-eating super bugs, spooky cult leaders, love triangles, incest, illiteracy, inverted snobbery, semi-spoonerisms (Ron Dixon v Dick Ronson), vanishing gnomes and Casa Bevron (Ron and Bev's lovenest complete with white plastic picket fence).

Where Brookie led, others followed.

Among its legacy of talent are actors Amanda Burton, Ricky Tomlinson, Sue Johnston and the late Katrin Cartlidge, and writer Jimmy McGovern.

At its height the show regularly topped the Channel 4 listings with audiences of seven million. But numbers dropped drastically in recent years, prompting TV bosses to cordon off the cul-de-sac once and for all.

No flowers.


Some of your tributes so far:

Calm down...
Brendan, UK

Will the new residents find the body?
Tom Hayes, London, UK

Television shows never die, they're just resting. I give it five years before the revival.
Rob Linham, UK

Brookside. Graveside.
Tom, UK

Let's hope that whatever disease killed it is highly infectious, has no cure, and gets passed on to all the other soaps.
Phil Rogers, UK

RIP Brookie, along with your favourite phrases like scally, bute, Chrimbo and hossie. It's the end of a language education.
Pan o' Scouse, Liverpool

I can turn the treble up on my TV again.
Jon,UK

Ta ra
Dave Milne, UK

What are we gonna do without Ronnie Dicko, Sinbad and Tin'ead now eh? eh? eh?
Chris, UK

Are Channel 4 a bunch of divvies?
Lisa, England

Brookside - a Close to the end.
Adam, UK

Eh! Dicko! How much for the Moby?
Jo Dixon, Birmingham, England

Unmoved? Deffo.
Ben, UK

One good episode (Anna) in 21 years.
Paul, UK

It's a travesty! Send in the bizzies!
Fiona, UK

This does my head in.
R. Hay, UK

All Things Must Pass....

...Dey Do Dough Don't Dey?
T Brady, UK

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BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Phil Redmond, Brookside producer
"It's time to move on"



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