Brookside original episodes to stream on STV Player

Brookside is coming to STV Player. (PA)
Brookside is coming to STV Player. (PA)

Brookside's original episodes are set to begin streaming on free platform STV Player from next week.

The Liverpool-set soap by Grange Hill and Hollyoaks creator Sir Philip Redmond aired on Channel 4 from 1982 to 2003 and kickstarted the careers of many British actors.

Read more: Coronation Street's Helen Worth receives MBE from Prince William

Ackley Bridge and Casualty star Sunetra Sarker, who was spotted at a bus stop and given the role of Nisha Batra at 15, said: "Had I known then that Brookside Close would be the road that led me to my surprising and eventful career, I would never have believed it.

"I am thrilled that STV Player is airing Brookie again after all these years. I never fail to hear fans tell me how much they still miss the show. Get streaming and see just how ground-breaking this Liverpool-based soap opera was all those years ago."

Sunetra Sarker began her career at Brookside. (PA)
Sunetra Sarker began her career at Brookside. (PA)

Across its run, the show took on weighty issues such as LGBT+ storylines, rape, bullying and incest.

In 1985, teenage character Gordon Collins came out to his family as gay on the soap, the first ever openly gay character in a British TV series when the episode aired.

Brookside also had the first pre-watershed lesbian kiss in British history between characters Beth Jordache, played by Anna Friel, and Margaret Clemence, who was portrayed by future Emmerdale actor Nicola Stephenson.

Read more: Love Island fans predict Olivia and Zara were already enemies

Friel’s career has taken her to Hollywood, while Silent Witness actor Amanda Burton, Hollyoaks actor Alex Fletcher, and West End musical star Claire Sweeney began their careers on the soap.

Sue Johnston and Ricky Tomlinson, who played Bobby and Shelia Grant in Brookside, also played a married couple in sitcom The Royle Family.

Simon O'Brien, Ricky Tomlinson and Sue Johnston in Brookside. (PA)
Simon O'Brien, Ricky Tomlinson and Sue Johnston in Brookside. (PA)

The soap, which is currently available in part on All 4, has been brought to STV after a deal with distributor All3Media International.

Richard Williams, managing director of digital at STV said: "It may have been two decades since Brookside drew to a close, but the love for the show from its passionate army of fans has never waned.

"We’re so pleased to be the first streaming service to bring this legendary piece of TV history back into viewers’ living rooms for free, and I hope superfans and new audiences alike enjoy all the nostalgic drama that Brookside has to offer on STV Player."

Brookside's first 10 episodes will arrive on 1 February at STV Player and five new episodes will land each week following that.