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Actor Profile

Bill dean who played Harry Cross died of a heart attack on Friday April 21st 2000 in Arrowe Park Hospital where he had been admitted for tests. He will be best remembered for its constant disagreements with his old friend and lodger Ralph Hardwick, and Bill said in the interview last year that he agreed his screen character was a miserable old git.

Bill DeanBill left Brookside in 1990 but made a brief appearance last year when Harry who suffered from Alzheimers disease returned to is old home No. 6 Brookside Close. His co-star Mickey stark said "Bill was a sweet old man and it was a privilege to know him in his later years. When he returned last year, he wasn't quite as good on his pins but there was still a twinkle in his eye and he was still making us laugh. I have nothing but happy memories of him. He was always down to earth, and as long as he had a scotch he was happy". "Over the last 50 years he had done it all, film, comedy and TV, but he never lorded it over the rest of us. He used to say TV was just a game".

Brookside creator Phil Redmond said "It is both a shock and tragedy that another of the Merseyside's gallery of stars has gone out. Bill was not just part of the family but part of the furniture at Mersey TV. One of the great lights of Liverpool comedy has gone".

A former stand-up comedian , Bill first turned to acting during his mid-forties, and up until then he had followed a succession of normal jobs including tram driver, pipe fitter, ship's steward and docker. During this time he spent his evenings playing nightclubs with his comic routine. Since then Bill secured several leading parts in feature films and television series. He played alongside Elizabeth Taylor and Laurence Harvey in "Night Watch" and also played in "Gumshoe" with Albert Finney.

His television work has included the Liver Birds, When the Boat comes in, Softly Softly, Dixon of Dock Green, Z Cars, Juliet Bravo, The Sweeney, Coronation Street as well as numerous appearances in the BBC's Play For Today series. Bill has also appeared in in dozens of television commercials throughout his career.

Bill's death is a great loss and he will be sadly missed by his many fans.


Character Profile

Bill Dean Joined the cast of Brookside in September 1983 playing the part of Harry  and EdnaHarry Cross, a bad tempered old codger. Harry a retired train driver and his wife Edna moved into No 7 Brookside Close on October 5th 1983.

Harry had a son Kevin who lived with a divorced woman and her daughter Jessica. Harry disapproved of this relationship which often lead to rows with Kevin. It was after one of these arguments that Harry had a mild heart attack while visiting the Garden Festival. His doctor advised him to take it easy and avoid climbing stairs, so when Alan Partridge decides to sell the bungalow next door Harry buys it and moves in during September 1984.

HarryHarry has the idea of renting out No 7 to give him a steady income so sets about interviewing perspective tenants. He thinks he has found the ideal people when he agrees to rent the house to two nurses Kate and Sandra along with their friend Pat. Harry assumed that Pat was another girl so was horrified to discover that Pat was a man.

Harry was non too happy with the three of them living together in his house, so using his spare key he let’s himself into the house to keep an eye on things whether they are home or not. The nurses and Pat get fed up with Harry’s interference and decide to have the locks changed.

Ralph Hardwick and old workmate of Harry move’s in with Harry and Edna after Ralph’s wife dies, Edna feeling sorry for him invites him to stay. Harry Harry and Ralphis non too pleased but reluctantly agrees. One day in August 1985 Edna suffers a stroke while working in the kitchen and dies a short while later. Harry is devastated but Ralph helps him come to terms with his bereavement and they soon become firm friends. Ralph and Harry have frequent disagreements but always help each other when problems arise.

Harry misses Edna’s company, so with encouragement from Ralph advertises in a local paper for a female companion. He gets lot’s of replies one of which comes from Madge Richmond who he arranges to meet. Madge and Harry don't really get along, instead Madge takes a shine to Ralph and they soon start going out together and later become engaged.

Harry suspecting that Madge is only after Ralph’s money investigates and Harry meets Madgediscovers that Madge is seeing other men while engaged to Ralph. Harry tricks Madge into meeting him, Madge goes along not realising that it’s Harry who will be waiting for her. Harry persuades her to break off the engagement. At first Ralph blames Harry for his break-up with Madge saying he was jealous of their relationship, but when Julia Brogan confirms what Harry told him Ralph and Harry are soon the best of friends again.

Ralph later moves out when he meets Lana Costello and after a short courtship marries her and goes to live in America in March 1990.

Harry on his own again, decides to let Mick Johnson ( a friend of Terry Sullivan ) move in with him. Harry gets on well with Mick even allowing him to bring his two children Gemma and Leo to live with them..

Harry stayed on the close until late 1990 when he moved away to live in St Helens but made an unexpected return in March 1999. Harry suffering from memory loss, turned up at No 6 Brookside Close still believing that he lived there with his mate Ralph Hardwick.

Nikki Shadwick who was alone in the bungalow at the time was frightened enough to lock herself in a room when Harry eventually managed to enter the bungalow via the patio doors. Nikki managed to attract the attention of Greg, who rushed to help, expecting to find a menacing attacker, but instead was confronted by a confused old man.

Harry and SinbadAfter talking to Harry, Greg realised why he was behaving so oddly and began phoning round to try to discover if Harry had been reported missing. Harry couldn’t understand where all his friends had gone, but was relieved to spot a familiar face on the close when Sinbad arrived. Harry went outside to meet him and Sinbad was pleased to see an old friend but was a bit surprised when Harry called him Popeye.

Greg decided to leave Sinbad to look after Harry as he was the only person that Harry recognised. Sinbad agreed to let him stay at No 5 while he tried to trace Kevin, Harry’s son. After several hours on the phone Sinbad eventually managed to locate Kevin and leave a message to contact him urgently.

Meanwhile Harry was off exploring again, this time to Susannah’s house No 7 which Harry used to own when he lived on the close. Susannah was out at the time but Harry was discovered by neighbour Alec and housekeeper Jessie, who returned bewildered Harry to Sinbad.

Kevin arrived a short time later, and after Sinbad had explained the situation to him decided to take Harry home to live with him


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