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Frances Traynor: This soap dudwas all washedup; Endcame not a moment too soon for tragedy that became Brookie Brookside Ch 4, Tuesday.

Byline: Frances Traynor

IN the end, its passing was dignified, a beautiful eulogy from the dulcet tones of Jimmy Corkhill marking its demise not.

Let's face it, the one thing you could never accuse Brookside of being over its 21 years was subtle.

And, so, its last-ever episode was one of in-yer-face madness and increasingly desperate dialogue.

There was violence the residents of the Close being goaded into forming a lynch mobby Barry Grant to hangand flog local drug dealer Michaelson.

Thereweresome fairly dismalattempts at humour and far too much gazing into the distance by too many characters.

Art this was not. In fact, at times it was barely watchable, especially if like me you haven't been a regular viewer for a long time.

In its heyday, Brookie stood permed head and shoulders above the rest of the soaps because it was so realistic, the dialogue was gritty but of thekindyouheard in the street and the characters were ones we could identify with.

Bringing back Barry Grant to oversee its death throes highlighted where Brookie had gone so badly wrong in recent times.

Years ago, he was a loveable scally with a Scouser's perm and shellsuit.

Selling on dodgy goods was asbad as the villains in the Close got. By Tuesday's long and drawn-out death, the Close bogeyman was a foul-mouthed and remorse-free drug dealer who openly plied his trade outside his front door as the neighbourhood children overdosed on his wares.

That might be the grim reality of life in a million streets like the Close across the land, but Brookside is so out of touch with reality that Michaelson's reign of terror was more panto than true menace.

And we haven't even started on Jimmy Corkhill.

He hogged the limelight and huge chunks of the dialogue, too, ending with a 15-minute rant that wasa thinly disguised dig by the writers at the Channel 4 bosses who axed Brookie.

It was truly horrible and embarrassing to watch.

I used to love Brookside. There are moments and characters from its past that I consider among the highlights of my telly-viewing life.

But Brookside began a long, painful decline when it decided that it had to top its ground-breaking storylines with ones that got ever more sensational and unbelievable I'll never forgive the producers for that horrible, horrible incest storyline.

So, in the end, I come to bury Brookside, not to praise it. The soap graveyard has one more body.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Nov 6, 2003
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