WIRRAL actor Dean Sullivan, who played Jimmy Corkhill in Channel Four soap Brookside, has died.

The New Brighton actor passed away on Wednesday, November 29, his agent, Alan Hamilton confirmed.

A statement from Mr Hamilton read: “It is with deep sadness we must tell you that actor Dean Sullivan passed away on 29th November 2023 peacefully following a short illness.

"Dean is best remembered as the longest serving cast member of Channel 4’s ground-breaking ‘Brookside’ playing the role of ‘Jimmy Corkhill’, making Dean a British Soap icon.

"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."

Dean had been diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018. 

Sullivan joined Channel 4 programme Brookside in 1986 and soon became a series regular due to the popularity of his character.

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.

Wirral Globe: The Corkhill family, played by (left to right) Claire Sweeney, Dean Sullivan, Sue Jenkins, and George Christopher, from Brookside The Corkhill family, played by (left to right) Claire Sweeney, Dean Sullivan, Sue Jenkins, and George Christopher, from Brookside (Image: Picture: Channel Four Images)

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.

Although born in Liverpool, Sullivan had lived in New Brighton for many years.

Earlier this year he spoke to New Brighton Radio about his love for the area.

He said: "I remember when I was a child we’d come over from Liverpool on the ferry and visit the pier and the open air baths. Those were the Halcyon days. When I bought my house here almost 30 years ago the area had fell into decline and there wasn’t much going on at all really.

"But now, we’ve got a cinema, a theatre and beautiful restaurants. Then when you move inland and see what’s going on in Victoria Road — that is just amazing! It’s like the Lark Lane of Wirral with lots of lovely restaurant, bars and places to hang out. It’s fantastic for the area, for Wirral and for Liverpool."

Liverpool Council tweeted: "Very sad news to hear that the actor Dean Sullivan has passed away. He was one of TV's iconic soap stars of the '80s &'90s as Brookside's Jimmy Corkhill.

"A passionate scouser & champion of our cultural scene, he'll be greatly missed. Our sympathies to his family & friends."



Also paying tribute was Wirral Globe's theatre critic Peter Grant, who had known Dean since the 1980s. He said: "Dean Sullivan had many talents which saw him rise from amateur dramatics to celebrity status in Brookside as Jimmy Corkhill.

"Dean had great comic timing and his work in panto was always of the highest quality and range.

"He was always helping new actors with advice. Dean enjoyed being a local star on a national scale and he often supported charity events by attending events to meet ''Brookie' fans.

"I believe tbe best was yet to come from him.

"I reviewed his  outdoor production of The Importance of Being Ernest in 2019. He directed the production and stepped into the leading man's shoes when he fell ill.

"He had a great self-effacing sense of humour and would take any bad review on the chin.

"Getting a text from 'Deano' as friends called him was always a joy.

"I shall miss his inspirational optimism."

Wirral-based performing artist, writer and photographer Mike McCartney tweeted: "Sad to hear old mate Dean has passed away. He was a gentle man with a great sense of Scouse humour. Here Tina sings at his birthday. He will be missed."



Actor George Christopher, who played the onscreen son of Dean Sullivan’s Jimmy Corkhill, said the soap opera would not have been the same without him.

Christopher, who also played Ziggy in Grange Hill, said in a statement: “My role as Jimmy’s troubled son was very demanding, I learnt so much from him in every scene.

“He was a natural actor who excelled just at the right times in Brookside.

"Brookside wouldn’t have been Brookside without Jimmy, it’s as simple as that. Sincere condolences. Salut Deano.”

Fellow ex-Brookside star, Wallasey-based Louis Emerick, tweeted: "Today we mourn the very sad loss of Dean Sullivan. If you took a poll of fave Brooky characters, Jimmy would top the list!

"A fine actor, colleague and friend. Goodnight Deano."


Heartbeat star Tricia Penrose has said she is “heartbroken” following the death of Dean Sullivan.

The actress recently filmed Celebrity Antiques Roadtrip with Sullivan, which is due to air on BBC Two next week.

“I’m heartbroken. RIP my gorgeous friend Dean. I will miss you so much XX”, Penrose said in a statement.

Michael Starke, who played Sinbad in the series, tweeted: "RIP Old pal. I got to say goodbye one last time.

"Lovely memories and unforgettable adventures. To all of his many friends and family. From mine to yours."


Dean's Brookside co-star Claire Sweeney tweeted: "Love you and will miss you Dean. So glad we got to be together as a family one last time at this years Soap Awards. RIP Dean Sullivan"