Dean Sullivan: Remembering a Soap Icon’s Legacy

In a somber announcement, the family of esteemed actor Dean Sullivan confirmed his passing at the age of 68 after a brief battle with illness. Sullivan, widely recognized for his iconic portrayal of Jimmy Corkhill in the groundbreaking Channel 4 soap Brookside from 1986 to 2003, leaves behind a lasting legacy in the world of British television.

A Journey Through Brookside

Born and educated in Liverpool, Sullivan became synonymous with Brookside during its heyday, captivating audiences with his nuanced performance. As the longest-serving cast member, Sullivan’s portrayal of Jimmy Corkhill solidified his status as a British soap icon. The soap, conceived by Grange Hill creator Phil Redmond, debuted in November 1982, setting the stage for Sullivan’s impactful career.

Unforgettable Storylines and Awards

Sullivan’s character was central to one of Brookside’s most memorable storylines. The on-screen discovery, alongside Eddie Banks, of the body of Trevor Jordache added a layer of complexity to the narrative, leaving an indelible mark on the show’s history. In 2003, Sullivan’s outstanding contribution to the Mersey TV soap earned him the prestigious British Soap Award for outstanding achievement, capping a remarkable 17-year stint as Jimmy Corkhill.

Tributes Pour In

The news of Sullivan’s passing has prompted an outpouring of tributes from the entertainment industry. Playwright Jonathan Harvey expressed his sorrow on social media, hailing Sullivan as a soap icon. George Christopher, who played Jimmy Corkhill’s son Little Jimmy, reminisced about the invaluable lessons learned from Sullivan, emphasizing his natural acting prowess. Heartbeat actress Tricia Penrose, a fellow Brookside alum, fondly remembered Sullivan as a legend of the soap world.

Beyond Brookside: Sullivan’s Diverse Career

While Brookside defined Sullivan’s television career, his artistic footprint extended far beyond the close-knit cul-de-sac. With roles in the BBC’s Doctors and ITV’s The Royal, Sullivan showcased his versatility. Notably, his appearance in the Netflix short film “Wings” opposite Emmerdale actor Tom Lister highlighted his continued commitment to the craft.

The Stage, Radio, and More

Sullivan wasn’t confined to the small screen; his theatrical contributions were equally noteworthy. A prolific stage actor and director, he spearheaded his successful theatre production company. From critically acclaimed one-man monologues to lively musicals, Sullivan’s presence on stage resonated with audiences. His foray into radio, including guest-presenting on ITV’s This Morning and hosting The Sullivan Show, showcased his multifaceted talent.

Advocacy and Reflection

In a poignant interview earlier this year with the Liverpool Echo, Sullivan openly discussed his battle with prostate cancer. Urging the public to prioritize health check-ups, he emphasized the importance of trusting one’s instincts. Sullivan’s candid revelation about his diagnosis served as a reminder that early detection significantly improves the chances of successful treatment.


Dean Sullivan’s passing marks the end of an era, leaving behind a legacy that transcends the boundaries of soap opera fame. As fans and colleagues mourn the loss of a beloved actor, Sullivan’s contributions to the entertainment industry will endure through the characters he brought to life and the impact he made beyond the screen. In celebrating his life, let us remember Dean Sullivan not only as ‘Jimmy Corkhill’ but as a true icon of British television.

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