Hollyoaks’ links to Brookside – character move, cameos and phone book surprise

Brookside may have ended in 2003, but its legacy has continued to live on in fellow Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks.

Both soaps were created by Sir Phil Redmond and Mersey TV (now Lime Pictures), with the two making reference to one another throughout their histories – whether that was a name in a phone book, or a direct reference on air.

Some of the Brookside residents even made a visit to Hollyoaks, with another making a permanent move to the fictional village in 2000.

READ MORE: Brookside Jacqui Dixon star is ageless beauty as she wows fans with cast reunion snap

Here, Daily Star takes a closer look at all the forgotten links between Brookside and Hollyoaks.

Brookside's hype for Hollyoaks

When Hollyoaks launched in 1995, Brookside teenager Rachel Jordache gave the new soap a mention during a conversation with David Crosbie.

Ahead of Hollyoaks' first ever episode, Rachel could be heard praising the soap as she told David: "Mr Crosbie, it's called Hollyoaks. And anyway, it's not just for kids – you'll really like it."

More than 2.9m viewers tuned in for Hollyoaks when it subsequently went to air, with the two soaps continuing to reference one another in the years to follow.

Set share

Brookside and Hollyoaks were both produced by Mersey TV – now known as Lime Pictures – so it is no surprise that they have shared some of the same set too.

In the early noughties, numbers 7 and 8 Brookside Close were also re-used as 19 and 21 Eastham Crescent in Hollyoaks.

The Cunningham family's home of 12 Tatton Crescent was also owned by the Brookside production company.

Jacqui Dixon pops up in John-Paul's phone

In a blink and you'll miss it moment, a Brookside icon popped up in the phonebook of Hollyoaks character John-Paul McQueen.

In 2022, John Paul was scrolling through the contacts in his phone after being blackmailed by an anonymous figure – who later turned out to be Olivia Bradshaw.

However, fans could not believe their eyes when a familiar face popped up in John-Paul's contacts – Jacqui Dixon.

Her name only appeared for a short period of time, but made reference to one of Brookside's longest serving characters.

Jacqui appeared on Brookside as the daughter of Ron and Deborah Dixon, and was involved in huge storylines such as her marriage to Max Farnham, dating aristocrat Nathan Cuddington and owning a club with Lindsey Corkhill.

She also became one of the longest-serving characters, appearing on Brookside from 1990 until the soap's end in 2003.

Brookside residents visited Hollyoaks

Both programmes exist in the same soap universe and it was not long before the residents of Brookside close were paying a visit to Hollyoaks.

Jacqui Dixon and friend Katie Rogers went on a visit to Chester, where Hollyoaks was set, where eagle-eyed fans spotted Hollyoaks characters Kurt Benson and Ruth Osbourne in the background.

That's not all, as Brookside's Jessie Shadwick and Alex O'Brien visited the famous Dog In The Pond Pub in Hollyoaks in 1999.

Three years later, Jennifer Ellison's character Emily Shadwick also enjoyed a night out at Hollyoaks nightclub The Loft.

Soap character move

If Brookside residents visiting Hollyoaks wasn't enough, one character made a permanent move from one soap to the other in 2000.

Kristian Ealey played Matt Musgrove in Brookside between 1998 to 2000, with the the character later appearing in Hollyoaks as the same character until 2004.

He also appeared in spin-off, Hollyoaks: After Hours.

The talented actor also showcased his musical skills in the band Tramp Attack and appeared as Ringo Starr in the film, In His Life: The John Lennon Story.

However 18 years after his soap debut, Kristian died in his sleep at the age of 38 years old on May 3, 2016.

A spokesperson for Lime Pictures added: "Many crew worked with Kristian on both Brookside and Hollyoaks and enjoyed following his musical success after leaving the show.

"The news has been met with shock and sadness on set and our thoughts are with his family at this time."

Brookside stars join Hollyoaks cast

After Brookside ended in 2003, some of the soap's cast made appearances in Hollyoaks – including Sinbad actor Michael Starke.

Michael has played a taxi driver in Hollyoaks in recent years, with the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) listing him as appearing in three episodes of the soap.

Meanwhile, Jacqui Dixon star Alex Fletcher joined the soap as Diane Hutchinson in 2010, where she later became owner of The Dog In Pond Pub.

That's not all, as Alex's dad has appeared in Hollyoaks as an extra at the carnival, with the actress telling Inside Soap: "My dad is in a few scenes as an extra.

"He loves being on the set and I think we can take that for granted – he's the star of the show."

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