TV Cream

TV: B is for...


RIGHT, FORGET ALL THE BOLLOCKS post-1990. What we’re talking is the classic period of Sheila, Bobby, Damon, Karen and before Barry Grant became a master criminal. In other words, when uber-scribe JIMMY McGOVERN cut his teeth. Influence of Phil Redmond’s other pet project, GRANGE HILL, self-evident in sweary realism. Mobile camera technology and the use of actual, genuine houses on a Liverpool cul-de-sac was a snip at £2 million. First soap to have an omnibus – on Saturday teatime, thus ideal for post-football results entertainment while having your tea. We’re all familiar with the twice-weekly Scouseathon itself, so let’s just cherry-pick the gems. Harry Cross and Ralph. “FREE GEORGE JACKSON” painted in the windows of that giant tower in Liverpool city centre. PICTURE BOX supremo ALAN ROTHWELL hanging around AMANDA BURTON and getting addicted to heroin. Sheila dealing with the aftermath of rape. Billy Corkhill duffing up daughter Tracy’s teacher. Rod The Plod. Token upper class characters Paul and Annabel Gordon, with son “Gay” Gordon. Damon getting stiffed on the YTS, running off with Debbie into his own spin-off and getting stabbed by a canal for no reason. Absolutely fucking dreadful fucking decline from early 90s onwards one of the saddest falls from grace in TV history.



  1. Richardpd

    December 7, 2023 at 10:26 pm

    Some of the plots in the later years were very bad, like the murder whodunnit that took so long to play out most of the audience gave up long before the murderer was revealed. Also getting rid of popular characters like Sinbad & introducing unpopular characters the Irish family with mismatched accents didn’t help.

    Even Phil Redmond admitted some of the later storylines were weak or far-fetched, like the fires that seemed to happen anytime they were struggling for a big event.

  2. Glenn Aylett

    December 8, 2023 at 3:41 pm

    Brookside was good from 1092 to 1995, then went downhill and audiences turned off in droves as plot lines like a nightclub being blown up were too far fetched and this was topped by a bomb in a shopping centre. I think Brookside ended up with less than half a million viewers and was moved into a late night slot.

    • Richardpd

      December 8, 2023 at 10:29 pm

      It was oddly shown late on a Saturday as just a 90 minute omnibus until almost the end, moving to a weekday night for the final episodes.

      I presume the better writers had moved on, & Mersey TV was making more effort with Hollyoaks after the mid 1990s.

  3. Glenn Aylett

    December 9, 2023 at 11:02 am

    Interestingly, Hollyoaks is now going into its death throes, being demoted to E4, and with audiences struggling to reach 300,000. It still continues the tradition of the weekend omnibus, which the three remaining British soaps have ditched, maybe to try and improve its collapsing ratings.

  4. Richardpd

    December 9, 2023 at 11:43 am

    It’s interesting that the more established soaps are still getting decent ratings but the newer ones have slipped away.

    Channel 5 gave up on Family Affairs after a few years, & ITV’s attempts to restart Crossroads and Night & Day didn’t work out.

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