Read accounts of a day at the Brookside sets

by myself ( below )

and other lucky fans ( Here )

A Day to Remember....

It all started a couple of weeks ago when a posting appeared on the Brookie Newsgroup stating that the official Brookside site was re-opening on Monday April 12th 1999.

The Brookside Web team said in the posting that Phil Redmond was offering a VIP tour of the Brookside set to the first four people to connect to the new site and send them an e-mail. This seemed a simple enough task...but there was a small catch. The site was being re-launched at 4am and qualifying e-mails had to be sent between 4am-5am.

Well luckily this was not a problem for me as I usually get up at 3.50am each day for work, the only snag was that Monday is my day off so no lie in for me that morning :-(

I thought if I got up as usual and logged on at precisely 4am and sent an e-mail I would be in with a fair chance. I had decided that it would be best not to switch on the lights that morning as I didn't want to wake our dog, who once awake was sure not going to let me go back to bed.

I found the computer ok in the murky darkness, and switched on...FIRST PROBLEM !! even with the monitor on I couldnít see the keyboard well enough to type anything meaningful. The time by now was 3.55am, a frantic search for a torch followed. Torch found at 3.57, logged into Windows then waited impatiently for Windows to load, phone to connect and browser to appear. Logged onto at exactly 4am .......found mailer and sent e-mail at 4.03am. Had I blown my chances of winning by working in darkness ?, I would have to wait and see.

I logged onto the Net again in the evening to check for e-mails and was delighted to have received one from the Brookside Web Team saying I had been one of the lucky winners. I sent them an e-mail with my address and phone number then waited for them to contact me. I didnít have long to wait, on Wednesday I had a phone call from Tim Key at Brookside to discuss convenient dates followed by a letter a week later containing details of the tour. It was to be on Monday April 26th a lot quicker than I expected, but as it was my day off work this was not a problem.

We had to be at the Mersey TV studios by 12pm so set off from our home in Lincolnshire at 7.30am which allowed us plenty of time. The journey itself was uneventful although we were concerned about the weather as it started to rain near Manchester ( but Iíve heard it always rains in Manchester :-) ).

Grants RestaurantWe arrived at the studios at about 11.40am, the sun was shining by then and it was quite warm. Our first glimpse of Brookside came when we were directed to a parking space a short distance from Grants Restaurant, as there was no one about we took the opportunity to take photos and video Grants while it was quite.

We made our way to the Mersey TV reception where we met up with two of the other winners and there partners. A short while later we were joined by Tim Key and his colleague ( sorry I cant remember his name ). From the reception we were taken to Grants Restaurant for tea and coffee, a chat about the new web site and the Brookside tour.

Susannah's restaurant For the first part of the tour we were shown all round the Brookside set at the Mersey TV studios, including the new Millennium Club ( still under construction ) where we saw the pool and had a sneak preview of Susannahís new Restaurant.

During the tour we also saw many of the sets used for Hollyoaks which is also filmed there. As the tour continued we had to be careful we didnít wander onto sets while they were filming but Tim usually went on ahead to check first. We had the opportunity to see both the sound and video editing suites where it was explained how the program was put together.

 Brookside ParadeFrom there we went on to see the Brookside Parade where we were shown theinteriors of Great Grannies, Chips with Everything, Jacqui Dís Style House, the garage and finally Bar Brookie. It was outside Bar Brookie where we had another surprise in store.

Phil Redmond appeared along with Sue Jenkins ( Jackie Corkhill ) and Claire Sweeney ( Lindsey Corkhill ) . We were all introduced to Phil, Sue and Claire and this was followed by a photo shoot, when we all had our photos taken with the two cast members and Phil Redmond.

Bar BrookieFrom Bar Brookie we went back to Grants Restaurant for a meal and were delighted to be joined by Claire Sweeney and Sue Jenkins. Claire sat at our table where we all enjoyed a superb three course meal. It was a pleasure to be able to talk to Claire in person and the subjects varied from football to the Internet and of course Brookside.

After the meal we were taken by minibus on a fifteen minute drive to Brookside Close. On arrival at the close we discovered more filming in progress but this didnít prevent us being shown round each house in turn albeit by the back doors to keep out of camera shot. It was amazing to see Brookside Closehow small each house was inside often cluttered with equipment from recent filming. Susannahís house ( No 7 )seemed the best decorated while Mick Johnson's ( No 5 ) was the most spacious. While at the close we also stopped a while for a coffee at one of the other houses which is used as a canteen. A room at another house was used by the make up department where it was explained how make up is used for special effects.

Before leaving the close we saw several other cast members, including Sinbad, Mick Johnson, Nikki Shadwick and Greg Shadwick. Greg was seen while taking a break from filming and when asked agreed to sign autographs which was appreciated.

We returned to the Studios shortly after, where we each received a bag of Brookie merchandise before saying our farewells and returning home after a wonderful day out.


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Brookside is produced by Mersey Television, and is Copyright Mersey Television 1982 -1998.

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