Original episodes of Brookside to air on STV Player

Original episodes of Brookside will start airing on STV Player next week, the free streaming platform has announced.

The soap, set in Liverpool, chronicled the lives of characters living in 13 houses on a cul-de-sac called Brookside Close before it ended 20 years ago.

Conceived by Grange Hill and Hollyoaks creator, Sir Philip Redmond, and produced by his company, Mersey Television, now called, Lime Pictures, the soap drew in millions of viewers.

The first episode aired on Channel 4 on November 2 1982 and, at its peak, the show drew in audiences of nine million viewers before it came to a close on November 4 2003.

The Corkhills, played by Claire Sweeney, Dean Sullivan, Sue Jenkins and George Christopher (Lime Pictures)
The Corkhills, played by Claire Sweeney, Dean Sullivan, Sue Jenkins and George Christopher (Lime Pictures)

Sunetra Sarker said she “owes a lot” to the beloved soap after she was given the role of Nisha Batra following being spotted at a bus stop at 15.

The Ackley Bridge and Casualty actress added: “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.”

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

In 1985, teenage character Gordon Collins came out to his family as gay on the soap.

The character, played by both Mark Burgess and Nigel Crowley, became the first ever openly gay character in a British TV series when the episode aired.

Nisha Batra (Sunetra Sarker)
Nisha Batra as played by Sunetra Sarker in Brookside (Lime Pictures)

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 actress Nicola Stephenson.

Friel’s career has taken her to America where she has appeared in the comedy series Pushing Daisies, opposite Susan Sarandon in country music drama Monarch and alongside Bradley Cooper in the film Limitless.

Silent Witness actress Amanda Burton, Hollyoaks actress Alex Fletcher, and West End musical star Claire Sweeney also 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.

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 will arrive with the first 10 episodes on February 1 on STV Player and five new episodes will land each week following that.