The Brookside soap opera was regarded as tackling social issues, and this was no less true when dealing with the Grant family, and Damon. One of the first of the show's many teenage characters to capture the viewing public's imagination, the role saw O'Brien catapulted to fame as a teen heart throb, and his adoption of the "mullet" hairstyle proved to be in keeping with the fashion of the times, and saw the character further entrenched as a cultural reference point.
Storylines saw Grant presented initially as a cheeky, lovable character, with a close group of friends. The manner of Grant's characterisation, both by the writers, directors and by O'Brien, led Jane Root, writing in Open the Box: About Television, to cite the character as evidence of "complex male characters and masculine storylines". Root saw this focus as different from established soap operas.
As the character grew older and left school, the writers used storylines to comment on life in Thatcher's Britain. Unemployment was a serious social issue, especially in a dock city such as Liverpool, and O'Brien's character struggled to find work. Eventually he took a position as a painter and decorator through the recently introduced YTS scheme, the writers depicting the excitement and later despair when Grant's participation failed to lead to a full-time job to great effect.
Read more about this topic: Damon Grant
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