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Brookside star remembers ‘unforgettable adventures’ with late Dean Sullivan

Dean Sullivan has died aged 68 (Fiona Hanson/PA)
Dean Sullivan has died aged 68 (Fiona Hanson/PA)

Soap actor Michael Starke has paid tribute to his late Brookside co-star Dean Sullivan and said they shared “unforgettable adventures” together.

Best known for playing Jimmy Corkhill in the Mersey TV soap, the Liverpudlian actor and director died at the age of 68 on Wednesday following a “short illness”, his family said.

In the Channel 4 programme, which regularly drew in audiences of eight million at its peak, Starke played Jimmy’s friend Thomas “Sinbad” Sweeney.

Remembering his late co-star, Starke wrote on X, formerly Twitter: “RIP Old pal. I got to say goodbye one last time.

“Lovely memories and unforgettable adventures. To all of his many friends and family. From mine to yours.”

Another famous face who paid tribute to Sullivan was former Family Fortunes host Les Dennis.

On X, the 70-year-old said: “So terribly sad to hear that lovely Dean Sullivan has died.

“I did a short stint on Brookside and he welcomed me with open arms. A lovely, funny, charming man.

“He’s left us far too soon. Thoughts with his friend and family.”

Actor George Christopher, who played Jimmy Corkhill’s son in the soap opera called the late star a “natural actor”.

He said: “My role as Jimmy’s troubled son was very demanding, I learnt so much from him in every scene.

“He was a natural actor who excelled just at the right times in Brookside.

Soap Oscars Dean Sullivan
Sullivan after getting his ‘Soap Oscar’ for best actor (PA)

“Brookside wouldn’t have been Brookside without Jimmy, it’s as simple as that. Sincere condolences. Salut Deano.”

Heartbeat star Tricia Penrose said she was “heartbroken” following the death of her “gorgeous friend Dean”.

The actress recently filmed Celebrity Antiques Roadtrip with Sullivan, which is due to air on BBC Two next week.

Liverpool City Council described the news of Sullivan’s death as “very sad”, adding: “A passionate scouser & champion of our cultural scene, he’ll be greatly missed. Our sympathies to his family & friends.”

Screenwriter Jonathan Harvey hailed the actor’s Brookside character as “iconic”.

Harvey, who is a writer for Coronation Street, tweeted: “I do love a soap icon, and they didn’t come more iconic than Jimmy Corkhill.

“What terribly sad news. Beloved actor Dean Sullivan has passed away. My thoughts are with his many friends and family xx”

Actress Crissy Rock recalled the “happy time” she had performing alongside Sullivan in a Jack And The Beanstock pantomime as she paid tribute.

Alongside a photo of the pair, she wrote: “I can’t believe the lovely Dean Sullivan has passed away. We had such a happy time in panto, he was a true gentleman and will be greatly missed x”

A statement from Hamilton Management and Sullivan’s family shared on Thursday said: “It is with deep sadness we must tell you that actor Dean Sullivan passed away on 29th November 2023 peacefully following a short illness.

“Dean is best remembered as the longest serving cast member of Channel 4’s groundbreaking ‘Brookside’ playing the role of ‘Jimmy Corkhill’, making Dean a British Soap icon.

“To millions he was and very much still is remembered as ‘Jimmy’, to family and friends he was ‘Dino’.”

Brookside was the brainchild of Grange Hill creator Phil Redmond and it launched in November 1982, with its houses situated in a real cul-de-sac – part of a housing estate in West Derby, Liverpool.