Brookside is a British soap opera set in Liverpool, England. The series began on the launch night of Channel 4 on 2 November 1982, and ran for 21 years until 4 November 2003. Originally intended to be called Meadowcroft, the series was produced by Mersey Television and it was conceived by Phil Redmond who also devised Grange Hill (1978–2008) and Hollyoaks (1995–present), the latter of which has taken Brookside's place as Channel 4's programme in the "Top 4" British soaps, alongside Coronation Street (1960–), EastEnders (1985–) and Emmerdale (1972–).
Brookside became very successful for a number of years and is notable for its tackling of realistic and socially challenging storylines. It was at its most popular in the 1980s and the early 1990s. From the mid-1990s it began raising more controversial subjects under the guidance of new producers such as Mal Young and Paul Marquess. It is especially well-known for broadcasting the first pre-watershed lesbian kiss on British television in 1994, as well as a powerful domestic abuse storyline resulting in murder. The series caused an uproar when it featured a storyline of a consensual incestuous sexual relationship between two sibling characters during 1996. Brookside was also the first British soap to feature an openly gay character when Gordon Collins came out in 1985, and it was also the first to depict serious drug addiction with a number of different characters. Although the series had a long and successful run, by 2000 its viewing figures were in terminal decline and low ratings eventually led to its cancellation in July 2003. The final episode was broadcast on 4 November 2003 and was watched by around 2 million viewers.
The first episode of Brookside was repeated as part of Channel 4 at 25 on 1 October 2007. The episode aired on More4 in a season of celebratory Channel 4 programmes to mark the channel's first quarter century. Several classic episodes have also been available to view on Channel4OD, an online service, since 2009.
After years of campaigning by fans, a special DVD will be released at the end of November 2012, just over 30 years after the series originally began.