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Brookside star Dean Sullivan dies aged 68

Actor and director Dean Sullivan, who starred in Brookside, has died at the age of 68, it has been announced.

Sullivan, who was born and educated in Liverpool, played Jimmy Corkhill in the Mersey TV soap, which at its peak regularly drew in audiences of eight million.

A statement from Hamilton Management and Sullivan’s family said: “It is with deep sadness we must tell you that actor Dean Sullivan passed away on 29th November 2023 peacefully following a short illness.

“Dean is best remembered as the longest serving cast member of Channel 4’s groundbreaking ‘Brookside’ playing the role of ‘Jimmy Corkhill’, making Dean a British Soap icon.

“To millions he was and very much still is remembered as ‘Jimmy’, to family and friends he was ‘Dino’.”

He had been diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018 and spoke in 2019 about his treatment and diagnosis to the Mirror.

He was later given the all-clear and told the Liverpool Echo in an interview this year about going to the doctor for the first time because the “strength of my flow when I used to go to the loo to have a pee was reduced”.

He added: “The first time I went to the doctor’s surgery he said we’ll just keep an eye on it and see how you go on. It was a few weeks later, I just knew that wasn’t right.

“When I went back I saw a doctor who specialised in prostate treatment. He gave me a quick examination and within two weeks I was at the hospital speaking to the consultant.

“If I’d have listened to the first doctor, it might have been a different story, so always trust your gut. 11 times out of 10, you’re right. We’ve still got that fight or flight instinct.”

Sullivan joined Channel 4 programme Brookside in 1986 and soon became a series regular due to the popularity of his character.

Brookside, the brainchild of Grange Hill creator Phil Redmond, launched in November 1982, with its houses situated in a real cul-de-sac – part of a housing estate in West Derby, Liverpool.

Soap Oscars Dean Sullivan
Sullivan after getting his ‘Soap Oscar’ for best actor (PA)

The show launched the careers of dozens of high-profile actors, including Amanda Burton, Claire Sweeney and Anna Friel.

The last episode was filmed in September 2003 and aired in November the same year – and it was Jimmy Corkhill’s face that last filled the screen.

Sullivan said at the time: “I will miss it but I won’t miss my life being completely controlled by my answer machine. It’s rather like being released from prison.

“Last week I started growing my sideburns and I’ve never been able to do that before.”

One of the high-profile storylines his character was involved in included his character and Eddie Banks discovering the body under the patio, which remains one of the soap’s most famous storylines.

Sullivan was a two-time British Soap Awards winner and had roles in other TV dramas, including BBC’s Doctors and ITV’s The Royal.

He graduated from Lancaster University and was a primary school teacher before becoming an actor.