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Brookside actor Dean Sullivan, who played Jimmy Corkhill, dies aged 68

Actor and director Dean Sullivan has died at the age of 68.

Sullivan was the longest-serving member of the Channel 4 soap Brookside, playing Jimmy Corkhill between 1986 and 2003.

The actor had been diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018. He died peacefully on Wednesday, his agent said.

"To millions he was and very much still is remembered as 'Jimmy', to family and friends he was 'Dino'. Dean's family wants to thank Arrowe Park Hospital for their unwavering and consistent support. We ask that you respect their privacy in their time of grief," a statement from Hamilton Management and his family said.

Brookside ran from 1982 to 2003 and followed the lives of the residents of Brookside Close in Liverpool. Stars included Anna Friel, who played Beth Jordache; Claire Sweeney, who played Jimmy's daughter Lindsey; and The Royle Family's Ricky Tomlinson and Sue Johnston, who played Bobby and Sheila Grant.

The soap became known for its groundbreaking storylines, featuring the UK's first pre-watershed lesbian kiss in 1994.

Sullivan, from Liverpool, was a graduate of Lancaster University and a primary school teacher before becoming a professional actor. He joined Brookside in 1986 and quickly made Jimmy one of the soap's best-known characters.

He was involved in many of the show's most memorable moments - including the discovery of the body of villain Trevor Jordache under a patio with his dog Cracker. It came two years after Jordache's murder by his wife Mandy and daughter Beth after years of domestic abuse.

Sullivan played Jimmy until the soap was axed in 2003, winning two British Soap Awards during his time on the show - including a special recognition award. He filmed more episodes than any other actor and went on to narrate a Brookside DVD boxset.

His other TV drama roles included parts in BBC's Doctors, ITV's The Royal and ITV's Crime Stories. In 2022, he appeared in the Netflix short film Wings opposite Emmerdale actor Tom Lister.

The actor also performed on stage, playing Scullery in the North West premiere of Jim Cartwright's play Road at the Octagon in Bolton, and starring in a one-man monologue tour of A Chip In The Sugar by Alan Bennett. He also appeared in the world premiere of Stand Up! the Musical with the late Lionel Blair.

In pantomime, he played characters such as Smee in Peter Pan, Abanazar in Aladdin, the Dame in Cinderella, Starkey in Peter Pan, and King Rat in Dick Whittington, in venues around the UK.

Sullivan also had experience in theatre directing and writing, after running his own theatre production company and directing several shows for the National Trust and other clients, his agent Alan Hamilton said.

"Dean gave an immense immeasurable amount of his time over the years to support many global, national and regional charities, too many to mention individually," he said. "He delivered speeches, took part in charity events and fronted important campaigns live, on TV, radio and in the press.

"The support he has given has helped raise many hundreds of thousands of pounds over the years for various causes and significantly increase awareness of important charitable campaign messages."

Sullivan was one of seven brothers and sisters "and came from humble, working class Merseyside roots", Hamilton added.