Lots of people argue that this show was better in its formative years in the 80s, when respected screenwriters such as Jimmy McGovern were learning their craft by turning out 2 (later 3) high-quality episodes a week, and people like Ricky Tomlinson were strutting their acting stuff.
Unfortunately, these people left to do bigger and better things, and it's not unfair to say that during the mid-to-late-90s the show reached a nadir as boring characters became involved in repetitive, far-fetched storylines. Viewers switched off in their droves and Brookside was threatened with the axe by Channel 4.
Fortunately, a new producer by the name of Paul Marquess joined the show in 1999 and has succeeded in turning the show around, giving it a new lease of life. Although there have been some minor blips along the way (the worst being the badly executed exit of long-serving character Thomas "Sinbad" Sweeney in 2000), Brookside is now once again a show that can be taken seriously. Heavy drama is blended with light-hearted comedy, helped along by inventive, witty dialogue from a new generation of writers.
In 2000, the show celebrated its 18th birthday, and can look forward to a long and prosperous future as a cornerstone of the Channel 4 schedule for many years to come.
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