Tuesday, October 15, 2002

BROOKSIDE STORY: To mark the slippage of Brookside, and because we're not sure anyone will notice when it finally goes, we offer: ten great rock-related Brookside events:
1. "You're Morrissey"
"Yes, I know"
As part of the ill-fated soap bubble South, Tracy Corkhill finds herself in the reception area of Capital Radio, next to the Smiths front man. The dialogue runs to the two lines above. South was a part of ITV For Schools English Programme, and because Thames TV forgot to remind Channel 4, its supposed evening repeat never materialised, meaning Mozzer's soap debut played to Brookie's smallest ever audience (well, up until about 1999, anyway)

2. The kidnapping of Paula Yates
Our uber-heroine Karen Grant is due to interview Paula Yates for a student magazine. Damon tags along. The whole gang get kidnapped by students indulging in some sort of rag week prank. (Compare with the kidnapping of that other tragic blonde Bet Lynch, also as a rag week stunt.)

3. Fran's Band
"You take it/ you change it/ what are you really after?"
Pat 'the Pillock' Hancock winds up in his girlfriend's band, which seems to have no name other than Fran's band. At first the band are offered a contract to tour somewhere vaguely overseas, but it turns out that the management company are only interested in Pat and the odd Sinead O'Connor a-like who hates him. But, since opportunity has knocked, they don't turn down the opportunity.

4. The Pies
Mike Dixon's band appears on the same John Moores University Student's Union bill as the legendary scouse act The Pies (known mainly for their painting of every flat surface on Merseyside). Unfortunately, his singer has taken so much Bad Drugs, she decides to strip off instead. This is better than listening to Mike's Band.

5. The Lomax toilets and roof
Liverpool music people chuckled to see Lomax owner Michael Hindley in a small cameo role as a bouncer in his own club the night the Luke Musgrove/Nikki Shadwick rape storyline came to a poorly conceived end - not that anyone cared by then, they just wanted it over. The episode made much use of the gents in the Lomax (the second of three sites for the club) and the roof of the same venue - the gents was especially unrecognisable since nobody came in during the long heart-to-heart between Nikki and Luke, and the floor wasn't a mixture of piss, blood and sweat

6. From Cantrill Farm to Manor Park
In so many ways, The Farm are Brookside's house band. Not only is Brookie script-hammerer Roy Boulter a former memeber of Hooton and the Blown-Its, but The Farm also made guest appearances in the series in a complicated plot involving Growler Rogers, and Harry Cross both appeared in the video for one of their tracks and then popped up in a deck chair while they played it on the Word. Later on, The Nolans would make a guest appearance, minus the one of the Nolans who was playing one of the characters in the series. See? They had a spat with Carole Smilie.

7. Lindsey on Stars In Their Own Minds
During Phil Redmond's apparent love affair with the character of Lyndsey Corkhill, we were asked to believe many things - that the Thai authorities check people aren't smuggling heroin into their country; that she was a femme fatale; that she could rise to be a gangster queen, run a nightclub and be a loving mother. But perhaps the hardest thing to accept was that any national television station would encourage her to dress up in a Cher-through dress and belt out the Shoop-Shoop song on prime time. Although the fake stars in their eyes style plot did offer the ever-reliable Ted Robbins a cameo platform, it also meant we got to see Lyndey's arse. Not nice.

8. Free George Jackson
When tired firebobby George Jackson drew a map on the back of a napkin which was later used in planning a robbery, it landed him inside. Of course, the real guilt lay with Tommy Mcardle, but who would listen? In a development which would shape the way soap opera court cases would be handled in future, Mersey TV launched a national campaign to free George from his jail hell - and part of it was a single. Free George Jackson by the Blazing Saddles didn't trouble the charts, and the campaign was abandoned when they guy playing George objected to his picture being slapped all over the country and quit the show.

9. Soap Aid
During the Geldof-inspired fad for raising money for charity which spawned such delights as Dance Aid and the heavy metal Hear N Aid, soap got involved too. Mersey TV's first non-Brookside contribution to British television was Soap Aid, which was, um, soap stars (mainly from Brookside, who at least had Paul Usher in their ranks; he often would take long breaks from the show in order to tour with his band Blue Angel) singing.

10. The Correct Use of Soap
It's hard to recall that in the 1970's, the thought of simultaneously being young and watching soap opera was almost impossible to hold without your brain coughing up a hairball. Brookside changed all that, drafting in a bunch of teenage characters who actually behaved in a way that young people do. Or rather, did. This was a bold experiment which resulted in the soap getting praised by the nme's special 'Correct Use of Soap' edition and as a centrepiece in ZigZag's TV special. It also led to every soap in the country packing their screens with spotty herberts.


jfliverbird said...

South ill fated as you said...I worked as part of the production team and it was meant purely for the Schools Morning slot. And there were more than two lines ...get your facts right before you make smart arse comments.

simon h b said...

Forgive me for part of the scene having slipped my mind during the something-over-a-decade between seeing the programme and writing this post.


There were about six lines of dialogue, all equally slight. The really odd part is that I don't actually think there was anything that smart-arse about the post, was there? Apart from the bit about post-99 Brookside ratings, and I don't see that the number of lines Mozzer had would have been altered by that.

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