Where are the cast of Brookside now?

Where are the cast of Brookside now?

Where are the cast of Brookside now? From Jennifer Ellison to Claire Sweeney and Ricky Tomlinson – a look at what has happened to the stars of the famous Channel 4 soap

Former Brookside actor Dean Sullivan passed away at the age of 68 on Wednesday, following a battle with prostate cancer.

Dean’s family confirmed his passing on Thursday, and requesting the public to respect their privacy while they grieve.

The soap opera star was known to millions as drug dealer Jimmy Corkhill in Channel 4‘s Brookside. 

Brookside aired from November 1982 and ran for 21 years until November 4, 2003. 

MailOnline takes at former stars of the show and where they are now. 

Former Brookside actor Dean Sullivan – best known for playing Jimmy Corkhill – passed away at the age of 68 on Wednesday, following a battle with prostate cancer 

Claire Sweeney

Claire Sweeney played the daughter of Dean Sullivan’s character, Jimmy Corkhill. Lindsey in Brookside (left). Ever since the show she has had a star-studded career, appearing on Celebrity Big Brother and as a regularly panelist on ITV’s Loose Women (pictured right in 2023)

Claire Sweeney played the daughter of Jimmy Corkhill, [played by Dean] Lindsey, for eight years, first appearing on the show in 1991.

In 2001, the actress starred in the first ever series of Celebrity Big Brother on Channel 4.

She was also cast as Roxie in the London revival of Chicago. She has promoted numerous brands over the years, including Marks & Spencer’s, Fashion World and SlimFast.

She landed a gig as a regular panelist on ITV’s Loose Women, featuring on the show from 2003 until 2005.

A year later, she also appeared on Strictly Come Dancing as a contestant, but was eliminated five weeks into the competition.

The actress played roles in numerous musicals including a UK tour of Educating Rita in 2012 and White Christmas in 2013.

More recently, the host was brought on deck to give ‘alternative Scouse commentary’ for the Eurovision Song Contest this year in Liverpool. 

This April it was unveiled she would be returning to her soap acting roots, with Sweeney hitting the cobbles of Coronation street to portray Cassandra Plummer – the mother of Tyrone Dobbs.

Jennifer Ellison

Jennifer Ellison portrayed Emily Shadwick in Brookside from 1998 until 2003 when her character met her demise after falling out of a window (pictured left on Brookside)

Jennifer Ellison portrayed Emily Shadwick in Brookside from 1998 until 2003 – when her character met her demise after falling out of a window. 

Following her five year stint on the soap, Jennifer went on to pursue a music career, kicking it off with single Baby I Don’t Care which climbed its way to number six in the UK charts.

The actress found herself back centre stage after she bagged the Hell’s Kitchen crown in 2004.

After her win, she launched her second track Bye Bye Boy, which sadly did not break into the top ten, peaking at number 13. 

The musician starred in a few lads’ magazines and even appeared in the film The Phantom Of The Opera in 2004.

She also later took part in the television series Dancing On Ice in 2012.

Jennifer married husband Rob Tickle in 2009, and the pair went on to have three children together – Bobby 12, Harry, seven and Charlie, six. 

The 39-year-old revealed to Lorraine in 2015 her struggles with her weight, admitting she would never do a yo-yo diet again.

More recently in 2022, the star took part in Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins, however she did not reach the final.

 Ricky Tomlinson

British comic Ricky Tomlinson starred in the soap as Bobby Grant from 1982 until 1988 (Pictured left on Brookside). After leaving the show, he has gone on to bag some iconic roles including Jimmy Royle in Royle family.  (Pictured right in 2016)

Renowned British comic Ricky Tomlinson starred in the soap as Bobby Grant from 1982 until 1988.

He later went on to perform one of his most iconic roles in British television – Jimmy Royle in the Royle family.

But it has not all been sunshine and roses, as the 83-year-old has had his fair share of health issues.

In 2013, he had to have a quadruple bypass after experiencing two separate heart attacks.

He has tirelessly campaigned for men to get free heart checks since after his health troubles.

In his personal life, Ricky wed Marlene in 1962. The couple share three children together, Clifton, who passed away at the age of 33, Gareth and Kate.

Ricky and Marlene divorced in 1986 after 24 years of marriage.

His current wife is his manager Rita Cummiskey, who he met in 1993 when she was a social worker. The lovebirds went on to marry in 2003. 

Anna Friel 

Anna Friel may have only been in Brookside for the longest period, however the actress did make a splash with her storylines (Pictured left in 1992). 

Although, Anna Friel may not have been one of Brookside’s longest serving cast members, she certainly did make a splash on the show.

Her character Beth Jordache featured in two of the show’s biggest plot lines.

The first dramatic storyline centred around Beth killing her father, Trevor, to death before both she and her mother hid him underneath their garden patio.

The following plot that shook the nation was her character’s lesbian kiss – the first to ever be shown on British TV. 

After her two-year stint on the soap, Anna went on to have an illustrious acting career and even bagged an Emmy award for her portrayal in Pushing Daisies and Marcella.

Her love live has been just as interesting, having previously had a brief fling with Robbie Williams in 1997 as well as Notting Hill star Rhys Ifans.

She later met actor David Thewlis whilst journeying to Cannes, and the lovebirds struck up a romance in 2001.

The same year, the actress underwent emergency medical care after a cyst in her ovary erupted.

It was also found that the actress has endometriosis. This coupled with her ruptured cyst meant it would be hard to conceive. 

Despite her pregnancy struggles, Anna, now, 47, and her partner David welcomed their daughter Gracie Ellen Mary Friel into the world on July 9, 2005.

The couple split in 2010 but are said to remain good friends. 

Michael Starke 

Michael Stark played the character Thomas ‘Sinbad’ Sweeney in Brookside for a whopping 16 years (Pictured left on Brookside). 

Michael Stark portrayed the character Thomas ‘Sinbad’ Sweeney in Brookside for a whopping 16 years.

Since then, the 65-year-old has appeared in a whole host of shows following his exit, including Hollyoaks, Casualty, The Royal and various pantomimes.

He has also acted along big Hollywood names, such as Samuel L Jackson and Robert Carlyle in the move 51st state.

The actor also went back acting in soaps, starring in Coronation Street as fast food shop owner Jerry Morton.

However, the thespian soon hit out as show higher-ups after his Coronation Street family were cut.

While holidaying for his 20th wedding anniversary, he told The Sun: ‘The TV world can be faceless.

‘I don’t know the individuals responsible but things could have been handled better.’

Michael is married to playwright, Lynn Francis, and the pair have two daughters together. 

Sue Johnston

Sue Johnston didn’t only play Ricky Tomlinson’s on-screen wife in The Royle family, she also played his counterpart – Sharon Grant – on Brookside (pictured left on Brookside)

Sue Johnston is better known for her portrayal as Barbara Royle in the hit BBC series – The Royle Family.

However the comedy show is not the only time she has appeared as Ricky Tomlinson on-screen wife.

From 1982 to 1990 she was also on Brookside as the wife of Bobby Grant (Ricky Tomlinson) – Sheila.

Since Brookside, the actress has featured in various noughties shows, including Walking The Dead, Jam & Jerusalem and A Passionate Woman alongside Billie Piper.

She has also starred in the global hit show – Downtown Abbey – in May 2014, as Denker the maid to the Dowager Countess (Dame Maggie Smith).

More recently, she has played roles in various dramas including 2021 film Help, Channel 5’s Witness Number 3 and Downtown Abbey: A New Era.

Brian Regan

Brian Regan brought the character of Terry Sullivan to life on Brookside (Pictured left in 1993). 

From 1982 until 1997, Brian Regan portrayed the character of Terry Sullivan. 

However, the bright lights of stardom did not stay on for long for the 65-year-old whose acting career ran dry after appearing on Brookside.

After his stint on the show, he entered into a life of crime and drug addiction.

In 2012, he was handed a prison sentence of four years and 10 months for dealing drugs, as well as being untruthful to authorities about his part in the murder or doorman Bahman Faraji.

He admitted driving the gunman to and from the scene of the murder but denied that he knew that they were carrying a sawn-off shotgun or that they intended to kill Faraji. 

He was later convicted for perverting the course of justice.

Reportedly, a year later the former actor was fearing attacks in prison from those  connected to the murderous gang he helped send to prison.

Eventually, the father-of-three was categorised as a vulnerable prisoner, being assigned to solitary confinement in HMP Liverpool for his own safety. 

Ray Quinn

Ray Quinn is perhaps better known for his stint on X Factor, but the child star did feature on Brookside as little Anthony Murray (pictured left in Brookside). 

Between 2000 and 2003, Ray Quinn played youngster Anthony Murray on the soap opera.

The 34-year-old is perhaps better known for coming second to vocal powerhouse Leona Lewis in the 2006 series of The X Factor. 

Following his appearance on the singing competition, the crooner went on to release a swing album and became a familiar face on our TV screens.

In 2009 he bagged the Dancing on Ice crown, and nine years later he made his way back to acting featuring on the Channel 4’s Hollyoaks.

After releasing his sophomore album, Ray’s musical aspirations were put on pause as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The child actor opted to get behind the wheel and start working as a Hermes delivery driver and then eventually began a career as a carpet fitter. 

Ray, who lives in Liverpool, has a fiancee named Emily Ashleigh, with whom he shares a daughter, Summer, 1.

He had previously tied the knot with Emma Stephens, but after three years of marriage the couple decided to go their separate ways in 2015.

Emma and Ray have one son, named Harry. 

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