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STV Player celebrate a year of Brookside success


STV Player celebrate a year of Brookside success

Brookside stars’ delight as STV Player reveals huge streaming numbers one year after relaunching iconic soap…

2023 and 2024 appear to be the year of the classic soaps. Neighbours mixing its heritage with a new style of storytelling is proving a hit for streaming in the UK, showing you can come back from the axe and be a success, while last year Helena Bonham Carter brought the world of the Crossroads Motel back to life with the ITV drama Nolly – about the show’s star Noele Gordon (Also available on the STV Player) and for fans of the cul-de-sac series Brookside it’s been 12 months of major streaming success with classic 1980s drama of the close kind.

It may come therefore as no surprise to learn that the Liverpool soap, which brought grit into the format back in 1982, has been streamed over 14 million times since February 2023. In Scotland, the Mersey Television classic saga has been streamed more times than current episodes of Coronation Street and Emmerdale across the year. The STV Player stats also show that Liverpool and the Isle of Man are the hotspots for Brookie fans.

Former Brookside actors Sunetra Sarker and Alex Fletcher have said they’re “thrilled” and “super proud” that the much-loved soap has been streamed over 14 million times in the year since STV Player brought it back to screens with reruns right from episode one.

Brookside: Jacqui (Alex Fletcher) tells Lindsey (Claire Sweeney) exactly what she thinks of her

The free streaming service became the first platform to relaunch the show from the very start on 1 February 2023 – adding five new episodes every Wednesday – and the 280 episodes that have since been released have amassed a total of 14.4 million streams. That figure equates to 5 million hours of viewing across the year.

In Scotland, where STV Player has exclusive streaming rights to Channel 3 network content (formerly the independent ITV network), individual episodes of Brookside received a higher number of streams than current soaps, Coronation Street and Emmerdale (between 1 February 2023 and 1 February 2024).

Loose Women star Sunetra Sarker, who played Nisha Batra in Brookside:

“I am thrilled that so many people have been watching Brookside again on STV Player after all these years. I’m so proud to have discovered my acting career through this incredible, groundbreaking soap from back in the day, and still have so many fans of the show reaching out to remind me how important Brookside remains.”

70% of Brookside streams on STV Player’s direct-to-consumer platforms have come from outside the area served by the STV broadcast channel (central and northern Scotland). Perhaps unsurprisingly, 10% of all consumption has taken place within the Liverpool area, where the serial was set. And 78 nautical miles across the Irish Sea from Merseyside, the Isle of Man is proving to be a particular hotspot for Brookie fans. The average STV Player viewer on the island has streamed 68 episodes of the show – nearly a quarter of the 280 episodes currently available on the platform.

Sunetra Sarker as Nisha Batra in Brookside

STV Player viewers have now reached episodes of the show from July 1985, meaning they’ve watched the equivalent of almost three years of the soap’s original timeline. Some of Brookside‘s most memorable moments and storylines are set to feature this year, including the harrowing rape of Sheila Grant (played by Sue Johnston) and the dramatic nurses’ siege at Number 7, which will stream from 14 February.

Alex Fletcher, who played Jacqui Dixon on the show for 13 years and now stars as Diane O’Connor in Hollyoaks:

“I am super proud that after all these years, Brookside is still in high demand. It’s brilliant to know we still have a huge fan base – proved by the show being streamed by millions!

 “The positive reaction around the Brookie re-runs has blown me away, but its success doesn’t shock me as it’s so nostalgic for people. We told gritty, down-to-earth stories through relatable characters. With less choice of channels back in the day, people were more invested in what they watched so it’s even nicer to know that Brookie is still holding its own, even with all the choice that’s out there now.”

Available for free to viewers across the UK, STV Player can be found on all major platforms, including Sky Q, NOW, Virgin Media, Amazon Fire TV and Freeview Play.

TV Critic Vivian Summers observes, ‘Maybe it’s a sign of the times people are more interested in the past characters and dramas that soap had to offer than the current batch of serials that have added ever more hours per week to the production which has seen the shows begin to falter. The only exception is EastEnders, which is on the up and it wisely sticks to only four 25-minute episodes a week.’

Brookside is available to stream from the start on STV Player, with five new episodes added every Wednesday.

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