Dean Sullivan death: Brookside legend who played Jimmy Corkhill dies aged 68

Dean Sullivan, the actor best known for playing Brookside character Jimmy Corkhill, has died aged 68.

The former soap star was one of the most recognisable faces on the Channel 4 programme and was a cast member from 1986 to its conclusion in 2003.

In a joint statement, Sullivan’s family and talent agency Hamilton Management shared the news of his death on Wednesday (29 November) following a short illness.

“To millions he was and very much still is remembered as ‘Jimmy’, to family and friends he was ‘Dino’,” they wrote.

“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 Sullivan (Getty Images)
Dean Sullivan (Getty Images)

Sullivan had been diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018 and urged people to be vigilant with changes in their body.

“The strength of my flow when I used to go to the loo to have a pee was reduced,” he explained to the Liverpool Echo in August 2023, the first time he’d spoken about his diagnosis publicly.

“The first time I went to the doctor's surgery he said, ‘we'll just keep an eye on it and see how you go on’. It was a few weeks later, I just knew that wasn't right.”

Sullivan’s cause of death is yet to be confirmed.

Brookside ran from 1982 to 2003, and followed the lives of neighbours in a Liverpool community. Sullivan’s co-stars included Claire Sweeney, who played his daughter Lindsay; Anna Friel (Beth Jordache) and The Royle Family stars Ricky Tomlinson and Sue Johnston, who played Bobby and Sheila Grant.

Though initially introduced to the show as a bit part character, Sullivan’s Jimmy Corkhill steadily became a key part of the fabric of Brookside and was involved in some of the soap opera’s most memorable storylines, including drug addiction and a long marriage breakdown.

By the time of the show’s end in 2003, Sullivan was the longest-serving cast member. In the same year, he won the British Soap Award for Outstanding Achievement.

Prior to Brookside, Sullivan had studied at the University of Lancaster and was a primary school teacher for six years. Until he became a full-time cast member on Brookside, Sullivan continued working as a substitute teacher.