Debbie McGrath

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For the Canadian actress see Debra McGrath

Debbie McGrath
Brookside character
Portrayed by Gillian Kearney
Duration 1986–1989
First appearance 30 December 1986
Last appearance 25 September 1989
Damon and Debbie (1987)
Classification Former; regular

Debbie McGrath is a fictional character in the Channel 4 soap opera Brookside, played by teenager Gillian Kearney, from 1986 to 1989.[1] The character was Kearney's first television role, and featured in a plot line which launched both actress and character into the national consciousness.[2][3][4]

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".[2] When their parents objected to them dating, the couple decided to elope in a story shown in the first UK 'soap bubble', Damon and Debbie.[5] According to Annie Leask of The Sunday Mirror, the spin-off was a result of the characters' popularity with the viewing public.[6] The events of the spin-off show saw Grant murdered, and the McGrath character returning briefly to the show, where it was revealed she was carrying Grant's baby. After the birth of her son, Simon, she made a brief return to the Close to introduce her child to his grandmother, before departing for university.


  1. ^ "ARTS DIARY: Ex-Brookside star tackles great role ; Gillian Kearney is to play Hedda Gabler at the Playhouse Philip Key reports". Daily Post (Liverpool); 7 Dec 2005; Philip Key reports; p. 19
  2. ^ a b "Tv's top five YOOFS". The Daily Telegraph (London); 20 Jan 2007; p. 013
  3. ^ "The 800 ; A birthday celebration of 800 people who put Liverpool on the map". Liverpool Echo (Liverpool); 28 Aug 2007; Catherine Jones, David Prentice; p. 1
  4. ^ "Girl power". The Sun (London); 21 Apr 2001; Tricia Martin; p. 15
  5. ^ "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
  6. ^ "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 Apr 2001; Annie Leask; p. 10