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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I'm sorry, but a spin-off is not where you kill off a much loved character, Rod's police mate or not. OK Phil, it was early days and you thought you were being innovative, but from this spark the Grants destabilised from being the most believable family on television since the Borgias to being merely two bangles and a polo-neck. Sheila, the staunch catholic and staunch socialist married Billy Corkhill, electrician, dole-ite and in an emergency, landscape gardener. But I digress... I still remember how excited I was when I saw the trailers for 'Damon and Debbie' and I still remember how devastated I was when I realised that the spin-off was solely intended as a means to dispose of Damon. It made no sense then and no sense has been ascertained from it since. To me the early years of Brookside were magical, but only because unlike other soaps they were so REAL. As soon as the shortcut to "The Parade" appeared and earnest attempts to portray early 1980's life in Britain were replaced with 'Let's Do It First On TV' storytelling, Brookside lost, no, not it's appeal, but it did lose it's wonderful immediacy and realism. During those first few years it had characters living in different houses who could carry on independent story lines without interacting with their neighbours. This was the massive appeal of Brookside for me when it started at first, and whilst I found the later years entertaining, I always missed that early magic.
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