After spending a pleasant day in Liverpool city centre I drove to the North West Derby district to locate one of the most well-known cul-de-sacs in the country, Brookside Close. I’d read years ago that it was a real close with real houses and filming was done inside the properties. It hasn’t been demolished and still exists today with many a visitor. Here I am outside it.
From November 1982 Brookside ran for 21 years and I can remember watching it on Saturday tea times in the 1990's. I can certainly remember that first pre-watershed lesbian kiss on British television in 1994, the body-under-the patio and the incestuous brother and sister (justified - she was hot stuff.)
It seemed a bit strange turning off Deysbrook Lane and seeing the familiar reddish brickwork and a simple sign in the wall, “Brookside.” You drive down a straight road passing two or three closes on the left then come out at Brookside. This real-life filming location suddenly broadens out in front of you, there’s nowhere else to drive and a U-turn is required.
I got out and had a walk around and did a 180 degree bit of filming (I’ll return in 50 years to film again and compare.) This close was built by Broseley Homes and Mersey Television bought thirteen houses altogether, six to be used as on-screen sets, the others to be used for administration and canteen facilities.
I had a stroll around unable to disguise I was just a nosey man. I wondered if any of the houses occupants were watching me and decided they’d be now bored of visitors. Most filming locations are smaller when you see them in the flesh but this one wasn’t. There was an unusual sense of deja vu though slightly jarred by the modernisation of the houses. You get the feeling it should have been left untouched for sad nostalgia-loving geeks like me to devour. For a while it had: when Brookside ended after the stories became elaborate the properties were used by other televisions dramas like Hollyoaks and Grange Hill. However Mersey Television went bust and the close was eventually sold to an anonymous purchaser at auction in December 2008 for £735,000.
In February 2011 the houses were sold after many years of building work and visitors like me still call. The most ogled-at house is number 10, former home of the Corkhill Family, and it was here the murdered wife-beater/child-abuser Trevor Jordache was buried under the patio. In The Liverpool Echo the current owner said he gets about two visitors a week wanting to view the patio.
I’m sure the “Brookside Close” sign has been stolen a few times (but not as many as the Abbey Road one.)
I had a final coffee sat in the car taking it all in before setting off home. Liverpool is noted for terrible and brill things and I’d seen both within the hour - James Bulger’s grave then Brookside Close before me. I got back on the motorway listening to...who else than The Beatles but I’ve since viewed the opening titles to Brookside a view times since. The shots panning across Liverpool centre take me straight back.
Neglected and being done up…
The body was buried under the patio….