Dean Sullivan obituary


Dean Sullivan, who has died aged 68 after affected by prostate most cancers, performed Jimmy Corkhill in Brookside – a personality concerned in petty crime earlier than mixing with hardened criminals and turning to medication – and was the longest-serving actor within the Liverpool drama, created by Phil Redmond, that shook up tv cleaning soap opera when it started with the launch of Channel 4 in 1982.

He joined as a semi-regular in 1986, taking part in the youthful brother of Billy (John McArdle), who had been launched along with his household the earlier 12 months. Jimmy’s early scams included burgling Billy’s dwelling for the insurance coverage to ease their monetary woes and fiddling their electrical energy meter.

Jimmy was associates with a youthful era of “scallies” – Barry Grant (performed by Paul Usher) and Terry Sullivan (Brian Regan) – and teamed up for varied shady “enterprise enterprises” with the window cleaner Sinbad (Michael Starke). However his associations with Liverpool’s underworld introduced him and Billy near peril. The again story was that they’d at all times worshipped their elder brother, Frankie, who was killed in a gang combat.

On display screen, when the assassin, Joey Godden (Carl Chase), was launched from jail in 1990 – the 12 months Sullivan joined the Brookside forged full-time – Jimmy vowed to get revenge, however confronting him, aided by a reluctant Billy, led solely to the brothers themselves being attacked. Later, Jimmy discovered himself to be the getaway driver when Godden was concerned in an armed theft.

When Jimmy’s girlfriend, Kathy Roach (Noreen Kershaw), then ditched him, his estranged spouse, Jackie (Sue Jenkins), took him again. However a descent into hell noticed him change into a drug vendor, then addict, earlier than being jailed for breaking into Brookside houses to fund his repair. His habit additionally induced the deaths of Frank Rogers (Peter Christian) and Tony Dixon (Mark Lennock) when he crashed into their automotive.

The cleaning soap star whose character was at all times on the incorrect facet of the regulation was – off display screen, till 1990 – additionally holding down a job the place he needed to be a task mannequin: as a provide instructor in London major faculties. “I believe the children thought some scally could be educating them, however they bought a impolite awakening as a result of I’m a stickler for self-discipline,” Sullivan advised the creator Geoff Tibballs, for the guide Brookside: The First Ten Years (1992).

Brookside’s social realism and gritty storylines have been credited with inspiring a brand new era of cleaning soap. It was adopted in 1985 by the BBC’s EastEnders. However from a peak of greater than seven million viewers, Brookside’s rankings fell by the tip of the Nineteen Nineties as storylines turned more and more sensational, and the sequence was axed by Channel 4 in 2003. As the ultimate episode completed, Sullivan’s character was seen scrawling a letter “D” on the finish of the Brookside Shut signal.

He was born in Liverpool to Evelyn (nee Goddard) and William Sullivan, the fourth of their seven youngsters, and attended St Margaret’s highschool, Aigburth. He acted as an newbie with the Merseyside Youth Drama group in his teenagers, described by one native critic as “a commanding decide” within the trial scene of Toad of Toad Corridor on the Neptune theatre, Liverpool, in 1974.

After graduating from Lancaster College with a BEd in drama and schooling, he taught drama and English in major faculties round Liverpool for six years and directed college performs.

He continued in newbie dramatics with the Neptune theatre firm, incomes additional good notices for components reminiscent of Leontes in The Winter’s Story, Tommy in Breezeblock Park, Oberon in A Midsummer Night time’s Dream, Jimmy in Look Again in Anger and Horst in Bent.

Turning skilled, he joined the Pitlochry competition theatre firm as an assistant stage supervisor and actor in 1984, earlier than showing at Theatr Clwyd, Mould, and the Gateway theatre, Chester, working as a provide instructor between jobs.

In 1987, Sullivan starred as a manipulative producer in Soaplights, a satire on shiny TV serials written by Redmond and carried out at Liverpool Playhouse. The Monetary Instances noticed that his bodily clowning made him appear to be “a scrawnier John Cleese”.

On stage, he additionally starred as Scullery within the northern premiere of Jim Cartwright’s play Highway (Octagon theatre, Bolton, 1988). He then shaped the Liverpool Theatre Firm, directing productions on the Neptune theatre (later the Epstein), Speke Corridor and outside venues between 1989 and 1994, together with The Significance of Being Earnest, Victoria Wooden’s play Expertise, Hay Fever and Blue Remembered Hills.

A number of the firm’s actors featured in Cluedo-style “homicide weekends” organised at inns by the Homicide Sport enterprise he based.

On BBC Radio Merseyside, Sullivan performed Sam Jackson within the cleaning soap opera The Merseysiders (1987-90). In 2003, he received the British Cleaning soap Awards’ particular achievement honour. His later TV appearances included components in Medical doctors (in 2005) and Crime Tales (in 2012).

Sullivan is survived by 4 brothers, Alan, Brian, Derek and Neil, and a sister, Pleasure.


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