The everyday lives of working-class inhabitants of Albert Square, a traditional Victorian square of terrace houses surrounding a park in the East End of London's Walford borough. The square includes the Queen Vic pub and a street market.
Pam St. Clement
A thirty-something year-old man named Harold and his elderly father, Albert, work as rag and bone men (collecting and selling junk). Harold is ambitious and wants to better himself, but his... See full summary »
Harry H. Corbett,
The Liverpool-based Boswell family are experts at exploiting the system to get by in life. Despite the fact that none of the Boswells are officially employed, they manage to live a fairly ... See full summary »
Arkwright is a tight-fisted shop owner in Doncaster, who will stop at nothing to keep his profits high and his overheads low, even if this means harassing his nephew Granville. Arkwright's ... See full summary »
To get a realistic look for the series when developing it, creator and producer Phil Redmond opted to record the program in real buildings rather than studio sets. He opted to buy six houses on a development on Lord Sefton's old estate in Liverpool. After meeting the builders and seeing the plans, he decided one road stood out. It had a brook running alongside it, hence the name 'Brookside'. The builders were supplied with a list of the characters and their profiles so they could be tailored to them. For the sets the production had: One bungalow One four-bedroom house and four three-bedroom houses.
Three other houses were bought for office space, three more for technical equipment and one was equipped as a canteen. They were bought for 25,000 each. After the initial outlay for the houses, in the long run the program would be cheaper to record on the one site instead of building, storing and knocking down studio sets. The buildings were not heated for the first year, as it was thought that the filming lights would heat up the buildings, but as soon as recording commenced newer improved lights that were significantly cooler were introduced so the production team and actors suffered as a result. Three garages were added to the properties for additional equipment stores.
The shopping parade was opened in 1991 to coincide with the 1000th episode. The building was incorporated into the old college building that formed the administration offices of Mersey Television. The fluorescent lights in the shops were designed specially for use in television. The flowers in the florist were silk, not real flowers, so they did not have to be replaced. See more »
The (not so) everyday life of the residents of a Liverpool Close. Brookside has been known to break the 'taboos' of life and include stories that no other soap had been brave enough to do before. Throughout the 80's and early 90's, stories of rape, domestic violence, homosexuality, incest and murder earned the soap high ratings. This was because Brookside wasn't afraid to push the barriers of soap stories. In fact, most people would say that Brookside helped pave the way for other soaps to be so extreme.
In it's heyday 10 million viewers regularly tuned in. This was in 1993, with one of the most controversial storylines to be on TV at the time. From that point on things began to go downhill. Though remaining popular, the 10 million viewers gradually decreased to around 1.5 million. Thus, in 2002, Brookside was moved to a Saturday afternoon slot, then to a late night Tuesday slot. It was eventually axed, and the last episode runs tonight.
So what went wrong? I was a fan up until around 2000. Up until this point the stories had been as exciting and controversial as ever, but maybe it was so exciting that it was unbelievable?
Most soaps have long, drawn out stories that gradually develop, and these are few and far between. While this is dull for some, it can at least relate with the everyday life of people. These long stories allow for character development, so people will become familiar with people on screen and feel as if they 'know' them. Brookside had none of this. Within the space of a few years we had a virus that killed off half the cast, the incestuous relationship of a brother and sister, a man killing his mother-in-law to get rid of her cancer pain, a drug-rape (which did drag for over a year, but became boring), a man purchasing a shotgun and killing a burglar, a couple of bombs/explosions, racist thugs that came from nowhere, a schoolboy killing and, to top it all off, a seige that trapped the close for three weeks.
Whilst these all sound good on paper, most of these characters and stories came and went in the space of a year, hauling tonnes of emotional baggage (that we hadn't seen develop) with them. Viewers didn't feel as though they knew the characters.
There was also no continuity. With other soaps, they all have at least one character that has been there all along, and most have lasted the majority of the show's life. Brookside has just one remaining character that has made it past the fifteen year mark. The rest have came and gone in very little time. Other soaps have familiar pubs and shops (ie the Cabin, Queen Vic, Woolpac, Rovers Return) Brookside has no familiar 'mascot' as such.
So it ends tonight. The thing is, since it was moved to a late night slot, it has became brilliant viewing. I have since heard that this was the way it was supposed to be as of last year, but the movement to an afternoon slot made it impossible to show what they wanted to.
I'll be watching tonight, as will the 1.5 million left. Maybe more since the final episode has had some surprisingly good news coverage.
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