Damon and Debbie
|Damon and Debbie|
Damon presents Debbie with some roses
|Created by||Phil Redmond|
|Written by||Frank Cottrell-Boyce|
|Directed by||Bob Carlton|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of episodes||3|
|Original channel||Channel 4|
|Original run||4 November 1987 – 18 November 1987|
Damon and Debbie was a three-part 'soap bubble' from Brookside, broadcast late on Wednesday evenings on Channel 4 in November 1987, with an omnibus edition over the Christmas period of that year. A Mersey Television production, it was written by Frank Cottrell-Boyce, directed by Bob Carlton, and produced by Colin McKeown. The series is credited as the first 'soap bubble'.
The series followed teen sweethearts Damon Grant (Simon O'Brien) and Debbie McGrath (Gillian Kearney) as they absconded to York to escape their disapproving parents in Liverpool who objected to the relationship because of the class divide. It ended with the death of Damon, who had been a regular character in Brookside since its launch in 1982.
The character of Debbie McGrath was introduced into the soap as Damon Grant's girlfriend. She was both younger than Damon Grant and also under the age of consent, two facts which caused friction between the parents of both characters, a plot-line which saw one critic refer to it as like "Romeo and Juliet in trackies". When their parents objected to them dating, the couple decided to elope from Liverpool to York. Their time away from home is depicted in Damon and Debbie, the UK's first 'soap bubble'. According to Annie Leask of The Sunday Mirror, the spin-off was a result of the characters' popularity with the viewing public.
The scenes in which Debbie attends an open day were filmed on 19 September 1987 at York University. The same corridor was used several times for the scenes in which Damon tries to find her, with the furniture rearranged to make it appear different each time. The computer graphic ("Damon loves Debbie") that Debbie programs within a few minutes was programmed by Charles Forsyth.
Short of money, the couple squat on a boat named "True Romance" moored on the River Ouse in York. They have chosen York because it is the home of one of the universities Debbie wishes to attend. Their aims are for Debbie to go to university whilst Damon begins a painter/decorator business. In the meantime, Damon works in the Dick Turpin Burger Bar in Coney Street, managed by Lettuce (Siobhan Maher). One day, while Debbie attends an open day at the university, the boat's owner returns and sails away with all of their belongings. Debbie becomes very anxious at this news. Debbie's family, hostile towards Damon, begins the hunt for them after discovering a York University prospectus in her bedroom.
The couple visit Morecambe, with Goth Papadum-packer Jenny (Michelle Holmes), whom Debbie had met at the open day, and her husband, computer programmer Kirk (Ian Ormsby-Knox). They then move to Bradford, where Damon works as a groundsman at Valley Parade (reflecting, in an interior monologue, upon the fire there a year earlier). Here, they stay with friends Patrick (Lyndam Gregory) and Apala (Seeta Indrani). In a montage they are seen visiting what was then the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television.
Debbie's uncles continue their search for the couple, finally tracking them down after they return to York. The series concludes when, after a mock marriage in a hotel room, Damon is stabbed by an unknown assailant on a dark riverbank and dies in Debbie's arms. She, and the storyline, then return to Brookside when police arrive to break the news about Damon's death.
Damon's funeral was featured in the episode of Brookside broadcast on 1 December. Crosby actor Jonathan Comer, the extra who played the part of the killer on that fateful night in York, began to receive threatening phone calls and hate mail shortly after the episode was broadcast.
The music played over the opening and closing credits was written by Steve Wright, who had also written the Brookside theme. The theme song, played over the closing credits, "Talk to Me", was performed by Dani Ali and was released as a single on the Ariola label through BMG. The A-side of the single was listed as "His song"; which was Ali's version, and the B-side was "Her song", which was the same song (and backing tracks) sung by Annabel Lamb. There is no record of the single gaining a chart position. The title was also the closing spoken line of all three episodes. The song was used in an August 2004 episode of Hollyoaks.
- Damon Grant – Simon O'Brien
- Debbie McGrath – Gillian Kearney
- Lettuce – Siobhan Maher
- Mr McGrath – Nick Maloney
- Nick – John Basham
- Barbara/Bridget McGrath – Annie Tyson
- Lonnie – Neil Caple
- Tone – Geof Atwell
- Zoe – Jaye Griffiths
- Jenny – Michelle Holmes
- Kirk – Ian Ormsby-Knox
- Patrick – Lyndam Gregory
- Apala – Seeta Indrani
- Sadhir – James Neale-Kennerley
- Plunkett, Jon (10 October 2002). "Brookside: the highs and lows". Media Guardian. Retrieved 26 March 2008.
- "CHANNEL 4 AT 25". Off the Telly. November 2002. Archived from the original on 17 January 2008. Retrieved 26 March 2008.
- "Tv's top five YOOFS". The Daily Telegraph (London); 20 January 2007; p. 013
- "Soap teen to drama queen ; Gillian Kearney has never forgotten her Brookie roots, finds PAULENGLISH, and can't escape another murder". Daily Record (Glasgow); 17 May 2003; PAUL ENGLISH; p. 13
- "Interview Gillian Kearney: Mum's desperate for me to find a good man; She was famous at 14 as Damon's Debbie in Brookside. She won critical acclaim in Sex Chips And Rock 'n' Roll. But when will Gillian Kearney play happy families?" The Sunday Mirror (London); 22 April 2001; Annie Leask; p. 10
- Briggs, Jim (October 1987). "Brookside Lakeside". York University News Sheet (Reprinted on James College's official website).
- Williams, Ruth. "Brookside on Campus". Nouse (Reprinted on James College's official website).
- Written by John Oakden (1987-11-23). "Episode 529". Brookside. Channel 4.
- Written by Barry Woodward (1987-12-01). "Episode 532". Brookside. Channel 4.
- "SINGLES, REMIXES, COLLABORATIONS". Annabel Lamb.
- "Gillian Kearney Interview". BBC Liverpool. 5 April 2006. Retrieved 27 March 2008.