Top 10 Brookside Characters (1980s)Brookside had quite a turnover of actors. In the 1980s there were some pretty good ones that were either established or newcomers that would become household names. Here is a list of what I consider to be the best 10 characters of 1980s Brookside, with some background information on the character included.
Played by: Amanda Burton. Heather Huntingdon nee Haversham, was an accountant who had stayed on in Liverpool after graduating from its University, where she had met her husband Roger. They bought a house in Brookside Close and were original cast members of the show. Heather's time living at number 9 Brookside close was rarely happy as she was married twice and had a number of failed relationships in between. Her first marriage ended when she found out Roger had been seeing another worman. Her second marriage was to a city council architect who was secretly a functioning heroine addict. One day, he was found dead in a city park after taking heroine. After years of disastrous relationships with men, this proved to be the final straw for Heather who upped and left Brookside Close in the middle of the night never to return. Her exit - driving away in tears, was one of the best ever character exits in Brookside. It showed how living on Brookside Close could destroy someone even as successful as her. And so for that little bit of extra class when she exited, it puts Heather at the top of my list as the best Brookside character of the 1980s.
Played by: Brian Regan. Terry did not feature until a few episodes in (episode 6 to be exact), and he was not even given a surname for the first few months...however once he was introduced, he became a mainstay of the show lasting 15 years and being involved in many of the top storylines throughout that period. He also was the character who lived in the most different houses on Brookside Close. He lived at (listed in chrononogical order) numbers 10, 7, 9 and 5 respectively. Originally cast as a mate of Barry Grant, he had his own seperate storylines that developed his character and made him really popular with viewers. He also had quite a few girlfriends while in Brookside! His most famous and best storyline of the 1980s was being embroiled in a plot that involved villain Tommy McArdle. Terry was rarely out of the episodes in the 1980s and that puts him second in my list.
Played by: David Easter. Pat Hancock was a Londoner who was working as a Hospital Porter in Liverpool. He had a degree in food science and drove an old 1950s NHS Ambulance. He moved to Brookside and rented a house (Number 7, belonging to Harry Cross) with two female nurses that were colleagues of his. Pat's time in Brookside was eventful to say the least. Originally employed in a secure job at the hospital, he got sacked after assaulting a worker who had harrassed his girlfriend, Sandra. He then was part of a siege when a crazed gunman held him and his two housemates hostage. One of them - Kate Moses was shot and killed during the siege. After that, he set up a van hire business with mate Terry Sullivan and took on a darker role that saw him occasionally lose his temper, suggesting he could be a bad ass when he wanted to be. A man of a few talents including football and music, he eventually got signed to a record label as part of a band and left Brookside for a stint playing in clubs in Dubai. However, his flare ups while working in the van hire business suggested he could have well been a memorable villain if the writers had chose to alter his character. As it was they did not and Pat Hancock was a solid addition to Brookside in the 1980s, making him number 3 in my list.
Played by: Bill Dean. The introduction of Harry Cross to Brookside was one of their best additions of the 1980s. Harry originally became a Close resident with his wife, Edna and they owned two properties on the close: number 7 and the bungalow at number 6. Harry was the landlord for number 7. Edna was written out after a year and a companion called Ralph Hardwick (Ray Dundobbin), replaced her role and together with Harry, were great characters. Harry Cross was cast as being a miserable, controlling and sometimes vindictive old get, however it was all just a front and on two seperate occasions he actually did reveal that it was just that. Deep down he was a decent person who really only longed to be a grandparent and this came to fruition when his son Kevin's wife gave birth to a son (after having lost her first baby a year or so earlier). Harry Cross' time on the close was eventful and while he was not really involved in major stories, nearly every scene he was in was entertaining for one reason or another. He also made a cameo return to the Close in 1999. Harry Cross added depth to the cast of Brookside and for that reason he is placed fourth in my list.
Played by: Steven Finch (then as Steven Pinner). Jonathan took over the role vacated by Heather's sudden departure as the Close yuppie, arriving with his fioncee Laura. They were both city based lawyers and Jonathan was depicted as being highly regarded in his field. However, the strange phenomenon that is living on Brookside changed most of what fate had in store for him! His newly wed Laura died after having been in a coma for 3 months brought about by a tragic accident. They had only been married for 3 months when it happened. 'Jon' - as he was casually referred to - looked to Terry Sullivan for companionship at this point and they became good friends and house shared. While on a skiing holiday in Austria, Jon met a Canadian girl called Cheryl and they ended up living together at number 9 but it did not last - the effects of daily living in Brookside Close became too much for her and she went back to Canada. Jonathan's character was petty well developed, and became for a while a key member of the show. He was also one of the only characters in Brookside to not be intimidated by Barry Grant, who tried it on with him on a couple of occasions. And even though Jonathan Gordan-Davies is still perhaps a bit underrated with Brookside fans, the storyline surrounding Laura's death and they way he rebuilt his life with Cheryl was strong and he was also a likeable character with a ruthless streak when he needed it. I have decided that he is the fifth best of the 1980s in Brookside.
played by: John McArdle. Billy and his family arrived in 1985 buying the infamous number 10 Brookside Close. Like the previous two occupying families, it was not long before things started going wrong for them living there too. Regarded as a pivotal moment in the development of Brookside, the arrival of the Corkhills brought a sense of added realism to the show with a nuclear family that was a bit more chaotic than the existing one of the Grants. Billy was involved in some of the best storylines of the 1980s while living on Brookside Close as he suffered one setback after another being out of work or involved in criminal activities because he was up to his eyes in debt. The most famous and iconic scene of the whole 1980s rookside Brookside was when Billy Corkhill snapped and drove his car around the close over other residents' gardens. Infact, John McArdle himself credits this storyline as his own personal favourite whilst on Brookside. 1987 was a particularly strong year for Billy Corkhill storylines and for these reasons he is on the list as one of the top 10 of the 1980s in Brookside.
played by: Malcolm Tierney. Brookside's most infamous villain was Tommy McArdle. He was not actually in the show for very many episodes but the stories he was involved in were top quality and his character was so nasty that he has retained cult status amongst Brookside fans. When the character was first introduced, Brookside was still developing and had not really had any villanous plots yet, however the first one involved McArdle and became one of the most memorable of the 1980s. Not only framing family man George Jackson for armed robbery but having Barry Grant and Terry Sullivan badly beaten up for good measure. A classic hard knock villain with a charming glint in his eye, Tommy McArdle was one of the highlights of 1980s Brookside and would be in anyone's top 10 characters. He ranks seventh in mine.
played by: Kaitlen Cartledge, Maggie Saunders. Lucy Collins was played by two different actors, but the original casting was the best. Still at school and dealing with changes in her upbringing, social life and problems with bullies at school, Lucy was a really good addition to Brookside as one of the most active of the original cast members. Most of the storylines focused her rebellious nature either against her parents or things she believed in such as campaining for CND. A sarcastic wit and brilliant at the one liners, Lucy Collins in her first incursion was one of the best quality acting talents in Brookside at the beginning and makes my list of top 10 characters from the 1980s.
played by: Paul Usher. No list of Brookside characters would ever be complete without Barry Grant in it. But the concept of his character being at the center of the show is actually a misconception, mostly because the storylines he was involved in were highly memorable and original for UK soap. Barry tended to be involved in good storylines that would conclude and then he would disappear for months on end - and in the 1980s that usually meant reappearing back on the Close in time for Christmas. Barry's initial role had him started off as being self sufficient and being a ladies' man, driving a Jaguar. As the years progressed things that affected his family also affected him and his character began to change as a result. Although in the first couple of years while a Brookside regular, his backstory was explained whereas by the end of the decade it was not really clear what he was up to - apart from still being self sufficient and someone not to mess with. Like his mate Terry he also resided in a few different houses on the Close during the 1980s and was involved in some of the best and grittiest storylines. The evil side to his personality first surfaced in 1988 at Christmas while playing a game of poker with Jonathan and Terry. He had a stong disliking of the Corkhills, with Billy in particular and had a strained relationship with his auld fella, Bobby. He showed fierce loyalty for his family and friends. While not being in Brookside as frequently as some of the other original members, Barry Grant was a character that helped shape the direction of Brookside and is easily one of the best characters of the 1980s.
played by: Dicken Ashworth. Alan Partridge was introduced as a character that could bring light comic relief (before Harry Cross eventually took on that role) but he was also a character that had a lot of depth and some of his storylines were amongst the best of the early years. A smart computer programmer and tough rugby league player, Alan was a man of principle and not to be taken for granted. He was in a relationship with Samantha who was the love of his life until she jilted him on the wedding day. This sent Alan into a downward spiral of self-destruction that affected just about every household on Brookside Close. Eventually things turned out right for him as he married Sam and landed a decent job in Kuwait but for those few months of alcohol fuelled self pity ad rage, Alan Partridge makes my list as one of the best Brookside characters of the 1980s.