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All3Media deal sees classic UK soap Brookside stream for first time on STV Player

Brookside characters Damon Grant (Simon O’Brien), Bobby Grant (Ricky Tomlinson) and Sheila Grant (Sue Johnston)

STV Player, the VoD platform of Scottish broadcaster STV, has struck a deal with distributor All3Media International to stream classic UK soap opera Brookside.

This will be the first time the series will be available to stream from the start and free-of-charge since Brookside ended 20 years ago. STV Player will drop the first 10 episodes from February 1, with five episodes following each week after that.

Brookside was made by creator Phil Redmond’s prodco Mersey Television, later renamed Lime Pictures. The soap debuted in November 1982 on the launch night of commercially funded pubcaster Channel 4.

Set in Liverpool, it tells the stories of working-class families all living on the same street and launched the careers of actors such as Anna Friel (Marcella), Sue Johnston (Waking the Dead) and Ricky Tomlinson (The Royle Family).

At its peak, Brookside drew audiences of nine million and was known for hard-hitting storylines such as domestic abuse, murder and incest. In 1994 it featured the first pre-watershed lesbian kissing scene on British TV. The show was eventually cancelled in 2003 after ratings dropped.

STV Player is available for free in the UK on platforms including Sky Q, NOW, Virgin Media, Amazon Fire TV and Freeview Play.

“We’re so pleased to be the first streaming service to bring this legendary piece of TV history back into viewers’ living rooms for free. I hope superfans and new audiences alike enjoy all the nostalgic drama that Brookside has to offer,” said Richard Williams, managing director of digital at STV.

“All3Media International and Lime Pictures have worked closely on a project to restore the material for this iconic soap, with episodes dating back 40 years,” said Gary Woolf, executive VP of strategic development at All3Media International. “A whole generation of TV executives grew up with Brookside.”

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