Liverpool-based Brookside aired for most of the 80s, all of the 90s, but came to an end in the early 2000s after a serious decline in ratings. It is, however, remembered fondly by Channel 4 viewers.
Some of the members of the cast down the years have gone on to have long careers in acting, but some, not so much. And as well as that, Brookside boasted some of the most memorable female characters in soap history.
So let’s have a look at some of the Brookside babes, shall we? This is what they’re up to now!
Brookside character: Rachael Lindsay played Samantha “Sammy” Rogers, who first appeared in Brookside in 1987 when she, along with her family, moved to number 7.
Sammy had a lot to deal with after moving to Brookside Close as a 14-year-old. Fiercely independent, Sammy took a part-time job and became involved in animal rights activism, becoming a vegetarian and joining a local campaign group.
As well as surviving a car crash, she joined sixth form but struggled to come to terms with the car accident; to the point where she turned to alcohol to cope with both the physical and emotional blows she received. Now an alcoholic, she fell pregnant with her boyfriend and struggled to cope with her personal issues.
The character left and returned to the show on a number of occasions, Sammy left Brookside for good in the autumn of 2003, not long before the show came to an end.
After Brookie: Rachael didn’t do much after Brookside. Following her departure from the show, she appeared in one episode of Casualty and then starred in a short in 2007 entitled Learning to Walk. But since 2007, she hasn’t appeared in anything.
It was revealed in 2010, however, that Rachael, along with her sister Nikki, planned to launch their own drama business named ‘Face 2 Face’.
Nikki, who has worked in television casting and as a drama teacher for 20 years, said: “this is an excellent opportunity for both myself and Rachael to combine our skills and expertise, using drama as a means to help people gain a better understanding of themselves and those around them. We use role play, listening skills, debating and many other techniques in our workshops that are both lively and interactive and seem to be very much enjoyed by everyone who attends.
“We hope to help change learned negative behaviour into positive. We encourage the individual to become aware of their true potential and to not only have regard for themselves but also for society and diversity.”
Rachael said: “Face 2 Face [their drama company] is here to help young and older people gain confidence and self-awareness through using drama as a therapy. We are not about teaching people how to act; we are more concerned with empowering individuals.”
Brookside character: Karen Drury played Susannah Farnham (later Morrissey) in Brookside from 1991 until her character’s death in 2000.
Like many characters in Brookside, well, like many characters in soap operas generally, Susannah had to endure a lot of misery and drama. From a car accident that took the lives of her two children, to surrogacy issues to broken relationships and affairs and eventually, she died after being pushed down the stairs.
After a lengthy storyline, it was discovered it was Max who pushed her.
After Brookie: After leaving Brookside in 2000, Drury didn’t appear on our screens until 2004 when she could be seen in Holby City. Another two years went by until she popped up again in 2006 in Rosemary and Thyme. Since then, she has appeared in shows such as Casualty, Heartbeat, the movie Still Life and Doctors – which she appeared in sporadically from 2001 until 2015.
Most recently she has taken to the stage; appearing in a theatre tour of Gallowglass earlier this year.
Brookside character: Sarah White played Bev McLoughlin in Brookside from 1993 until the show’s demise in 2003. She married Ron Dixon and later became known as Bev Dixon.
After Brookie: After Brookside, Sarah White spent time in the theatre, with her most notable role being in the production Mum’s the Word. When asked in a BBC interview about the show, which was described as a funny collection of loosely connected stories about motherhood, White said: “Well, it’s six actress playing different characters with very different attitudes to motherhood so 90 percent of the show is done in monologues.
“There are some scenes where we all come together and do kind of sketches but in the main it’s telling six very different stories. All the characters have very different kinds of attitudes to motherhood and how this affects their working life, their partners and their survival techniques.”
When speaking about her character, Debbie, White also said: “I think that Debbie has the biggest struggle adjusting to motherhood. She thought that it wouldn’t really change her life and becomes increasingly shocked by how it does.
“She is probably the least sentimental and slushy and is the realist amongst them all. Although she loves her children she still resents them sometimes.”
Though she has worked in the theatre, White had a long break away from the screen – aside from playing sporadic roles in Doctors, with her most recent role being in Brookside in 2003 until she cropped up again in 2014 in Edge of Heaven.
Her most recent screen role was in God’s Own Country.
Brookside character: Amanda Burton’s character went through a few last names during her time on the show. She started off in 1982 as Heather Haversham. When she arrived, she was married to Roger, but that marriage fell apart and she later married Roger Huntington, but once discovering he was having an affair, she chucked him out.
After being involved in a car accident with Nicholas Black, a relationship quickly formed in the aftermath and they married in 1986.
However, things proved to be very difficult when she found out about his heroin addiction, and things only became harder when, after Nicholas overdosed, began to steal from her to fund his addiction. Eventually called it quits on the relationship, and four days after she kicks him out, Nicholas is found dead on a park bench.
Following the death of her husband, Heather left Brookside close and moved to Ireland.
After Brookie: Brookside was one of Amanda Burton’s first TV appearances, so it’s not so much as what she did after she left the show in 1986, it’s more the case of after she left Brookside, she then went on to appear in everything she’s ever appeared in, to put it simply.
Burton has had a long successful TV career, with lengthy stays in shows such as Boon, Peak Practice and Silent Witness throughout the 80s and 90s. More recently, she appeared in Midsomer Murders and The Level.
Brookside character: Glaister played the second wife of Max Farnham, Patricia, from 1990 until 1997, and it was with Patricia that Max had an affair with behind first wife Susannah’s back.
After Brookie: Glaister is famous among comedy fans for playing Bob in series two and series four of Blackadder, but she has also made a name for herself when she swapped her time on soaps to appear in shows such as Peak Practice, Coronation Street and Casualty.
She has made a number of appearances in BBC’s daytime soap opera Doctors for a number of years, as well as teaming up with Ben Elton once again to appear in his hidden gem of a sitcom about the life of William Shakespeare, Upstart Crow.
More recently, Glaister has starred in shows such as Sherlock, Tango One and in Midsomer Murders.
Brookside character: Vickie Gates made her acting debut at the age of 16 playing Leanne Powell in Brookside. She appeared in the show between 1990 and 1993 and left briefly to join the all-girl band called Dream Reality, followed by appearances in the TV show Springhill. In 1997 she returned to Brookside, but quit the show for good in 2003.
From 2003 until 2005 she made a number of appearances in The Bill and after that made appearances in shows such as Mobile – a TV miniseries that aired in 2007 – as well as shows such as The Royal Today, Grange Hill and Emmerdale.
Brookside character: Tiffany Chapman played Rachel Jordache (and later Rachel Dixon) in Brookside for a full decade from 1993 until 2003.
Her character moved to the Liverpool street with her mom Mandy, who was played by Sandra Maitland, as well as older sister Beth, who was played by award-winning actress Anna Friel.
They moved to Brookside Close after fleeing her physically abusive father Trevor Jordache who was about to be released from prison after serving a sentence for assaulting Mandy.
But that wasn’t enough and the abuse started again – and it wasn’t long before sister Beth and a reluctant mother Mandy tried to hatch a plan to try to end the life of their tormentor. They aimed to poison him by using weed killer, but all that did was make him ill. When he caught them trying to put painkillers in his drink, Trevor started to beat up Beth until Mandy shockingly stabbed him in the back. The trio were then forced to bury him under the patio.
Rachel then went on to marry Mike Dixon, and left the soap when it ended in 2003.
After Brookside ended, Tiffany Chapman went on to star in Hollyoaks as social worker Meg, and then joined the cast of Emmerdale as nurse Cindy Burton.
She hasn’t really been up to much recently, but soap fans spotted a familiar face when she popped up in the Halifax advert, starring none other than Topcat.
Brookside character: Diane Burke played Katie Rogers from 1989 all the way up until 2003, but the character of Katie Rogers was in fact played by Debbie Reynolds for two years from 1987 until 1989, when Burke took over.
Katie Rogers had to deal with a lot during her time on the Liverpool street, but perhaps her biggest ordeal came during the aftermath of her father’s death after a car crash in November 1993, when she became easy prey for the cult leader Simon Howe.
After Brookie: Not much is known about what happened to Diane Burke after she left Brookside – even to the point of there being a forum on Digital Spy to discuss where she has disappeared to.
One person posted the question: “Have been watching loads of old episodes of Brookside so decided to check out what happened to the actors. Whatever happened to Diane Burke who played Katie Rogers? She seems to be the only one who never did anything before or after Brookside, but she was a good actress. Did she just decide to give up acting?”
And another replied: “Not sure, most of the Brookie cast never went on to do anything else. Katy Lamont (Adele Murray) hasn’t done anything since. Sarah White (Bev) performed in theatre, Alex Fletcher (Jacqui Farnham) is in HO, Dean Sullivan wants to get into Corrie & Rachel Dixon Has been in HO & ED.
“You don’t hear much about the cast at all, not even the older cast. Shame really.”
But another person came into the conversation and said: “She was in a play at Liverpool’s Everyman Theatre around 2006.”
Another also added: “Someone on the Brookside facebook page said she works in a bank in Liverpool now. Someone on the same page met her in London recently and posted the photo. She looks exactly the same now as she did when she left Brookside in 2003!”
Brookside character: Collins played Nicola Shadwick in Brookside from 1998 until the final episode in 2003. Nikki’s storylines included an infamous story in which she was taken advantage of by Luke Musgrove at a party at Number 5, hosted by Leo Johnson and Tim O’Leary. After having to deal with that ordeal, she suffered the aftermath of the deaths of her father Greg and her brother Jason after an explosion on Brookside Parade. She also had to put up with being stalked by an obsessive friend at University.
She certainly had a lot to deal with during her time on Brookside Close, in which she was also faced with the death of her sister Emily, following the Brookside Siege of 2002. Nikki revealed in the last ever episode that she was moving to Brussels with her mother.
After Brookie: After leaving Brookside, she did the usual rounds of TV classics such as Doctors and The Bill, but she has also appeared in TV movies such as Stepdad and big screen projects such as The Be All and End All and Soft Lad.
Her most recent screen work was in a short in 2016 entitled Menage. But she has also worked on the stage in Liverpool in A Fistful of Collars at Liverpool Royal Crown Court Theatre.