Brookside actor Dean Sullivan dies aged 68 as star's family pay tribute

30 November 2023, 08:13 | Updated: 30 November 2023, 09:21

Dean played Jimmy Corkhill in the Channel 4 soap Brookside between 1986 and 2003
Dean played Jimmy Corkhill in the Channel 4 soap Brookside between 1986 and 2003. Picture: Getty

By Asher McShane

Brookside actor and director Dean Sullivan has died at the age of 68.

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Sullivan was best known for his portrayal of Jimmy Corkhill in the Channel 4 soap Brookside between 1986 and 2003.

He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018 and given the all-clear in 2022.

A statement from Hamilton Management and his family said: “To millions he was and very much still is remembered as 'Jimmy', to family and friends he was 'Dino'.

“Dean's family wants to thank Arrowe Park Hospital for their unwavering and consistent support. We ask that you respect their privacy in their time of grief.”

He died following a short illness.

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Actors Katy Lamont (left), Dean Sullivan and Suzanne Collins from Brookside arriving for the British Academy Television Awards in 2003
Actors Katy Lamont (left), Dean Sullivan and Suzanne Collins from Brookside arriving for the British Academy Television Awards in 2003. Picture: Alamy

He had been due to appear in a production of Jack and the Beanstalk from December 7 but pulled out due to ‘unforeseen circumstances’.

The Atkinson Theatre tweeted: “There has been a change to the line-up for this year’s Jack and the Beanstalk pantomime. “Dean Sullivan will no longer be performing in the role of Fleshcreep, as previously advertised and the role will now be played by Mark Paterson.”

Dean was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018 and was discharged last year after undergoing radiotherapy.

Dean Sullivan and Sue Jenkins attending the National Television Awards at the Royal Albert Hall in London on October 8, 1997
Dean Sullivan and Sue Jenkins attending the National Television Awards at the Royal Albert Hall in London on October 8, 1997. Picture: Getty

He told the Liverpool Echo: “The way I dealt with it was that I just sort of put myself in the hands of fate. If this was my time, then this was my time so I was quite philosophical about it really.”

“I know that people would worry themselves into an early grave as it were but I'm not that sort of person, I try to keep positive about things and I just got on with my life.”

In 2019 he told the Mirror: “I remember being a bit shell shocked really, because even though we know these days that one in three of us will be diagnosed with cancer of some sort, you never think it will be you.”

He only told a few close friends and family members about his cancer diagnosis.

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

The show launched the careers of dozens of high-profile actors, including Amanda Burton, Claire Sweeney and Anna Friel.

The last episode was filmed in September 2003 and aired in November the same year - and it was Jimmy Corkhill's face that last filled the screen.

Sullivan said at the time: "I will miss it but I won't miss my life being completely controlled by my answer machine. It's rather like being released from prison.

"Last week I started growing my sideburns and I've never been able to do that before."

Sullivan was a two-time British Soap Awards winner and had roles in other TV dramas, including BBC's Doctors and ITV's The Royal.

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