Thomas 'Sinbad' Sweeney

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Thomas Sweeney
Brookside character
Portrayed by Michael Starke
Duration 1984-2000
First appearance 18 September 1984
Last appearance 6 October 2000
Created by Phil Redmond
Classification Former; regular
Occupation Window cleaner, shop keeper

Thomas Henry Edward Sweeney, commonly known as Sinbad is a character in Brookside from 1984 to 2000 played by Michael Starke.


Sinbad was first introduced into the soap in September 1984, two years after the programme began. The character was introduced as a window cleaner, however he also took a sideline in many illegitimate deals. Over Christmas 1984 he was seen with 'Trevor the turkey', selling it for £10, and then on delivery producing a live turkey knowing that residents including Sheila Grant and Paul Collins would be too sensitive to kill it, thus keeping the deposit for himself. He later quipped that this was Trevor's third year of doing it. The character was a long-time friend and associate of Jimmy Corkhill.

His nickname derived from his window-cleaning days and his reluctance to clean into the corners of the windows, instead cleaning a porthole-shape in the centre of the glass. For several years the character was billed simply as 'Sinbad'.

Character development[edit]

While the character of Sinbad was introduced as a light-hearted character with few serious stories, in the 1990s, his character was developed. In 1993, feeling guilty he had kept quiet when he knew Trevor Jordache had beaten Mandy, he helped Beth and Mandy dispose of the body after his murder. Sinbad and Mandy slowly began a relationship, and he stood by her side constantly following her arrest, imprisonment and release. Following this, Mandy gave birth to their daughter Ruth but the couple soon starting drifting apart with Mandy deciding to leave and work in a women's refuge in Bristol taking Ruth with her. Sinbad continued to be a fatherly presence for Mandy's daughter Rachel (Tiffany Chapman) who remained on the close after Mandy's departure. In 2000 the character of Sinbad was written out after he became involved in a child abuse scandal.


Although originally a window cleaner, after selling No 10 Sinbad invested the money into a shop on Brookside Parade selling used kitchen appliances. While working he met Carmel O’Leary. Carmel's youngest son, Tim (Tinhead) resented the pair of them becoming so close and tried to upset their relationship the best he could. While running his shop, Sinbad sold a gas cooker to Ron Dixon, who ever the thrifty man installed it himself, despite having little aptitude towards gas installation, the resulting explosion caused great damage to Brookside Parade. Carmel's eldest son Ben was paralysed in the accident, unable to forgive Sinbad for turning a blind eye to Ron's unqualified installation, the two split up. Tim hated Sinbad for a long time following this, to the point where he tried to run him over in his car. However this caused the car to drive into the river with Tim inside, and he was saved from drowning by Sinbad. Following a talk with Ben, Tim decided to forgive Sinbad and the two would become close over the years.

Work in the Fish and Chip shop[edit]

After the demise of Sinbad's business, his friend Mick Johnson gave him a job at the fish and chip shop, 'Chips with Everything. This job came to an end shortly after Sinbad sold a stale pie to Ron Dixon. After Ron made a complaint a health inspector began investigating a local outbreak of food poisoning. Mick confessed that his shop had sold stale food, however it was discovered the shop was not the source of the outbreak, Mick was reported regardless. After the report, Mick was fined and he closed the shop.


Later on a gang of racists visited the area and attacked Mick, Sinbad was also attacked after intervening. The attack left Sinbad partially deaf. Sinbad struggled to cope with losing some of his hearing and left an interview after his prospective employer treated him in a condescending manner. After being invited to attend a special school for children with disabilities, Sinbad enjoyed his time there and befriended a boy named Andrew. Sinbad also became friends with Andrew's mother Barbara, however her other son resented Sinbad's presence. When Sinbad was forced to cancel a day out, Kevin took advantage of Andrew's disappointment and manipulated him into accusing Sinbad of sexual abuse, accusations which Barbara believed. Sinbad was questioned by police and released without charge, but was arrested when child pornography was found on the computer that he was the main user of (the offending pictures having being accidentally downloaded by Tim and Emily Shadwick, however the police wouldn't believe them when they attempted to confess). As news of the allegations filtered around the Close, several neighbours automatically assumed Sinbad was guilty (with Ron Dixon, who had a long-standing grudge, taking particular pleasure in making Sinbad's life a misery). Although Mick initially believed Sinbad, seeds of doubt were planted in his mind to the point where he asked his son Leo if Sinbad had ever touched him, and Sinbad felt betrayed when he heard about this. Eventually Rachel (who never doubted Sinbad's innocence) realised that Kevin was, like her, a victim of abuse and talked to him about her own experiences. Kevin confessed that he'd made Andrew make up the allegations and told the truth to the police. Although his innocence was proved, his neighbours were slow to apologise and Sinbad decided he had no future on the Close. When Barbara asked him if he wanted to move in with her and the boys, he accepted and after saying a fond farewell to Rachel left Brookside Close for a new start.

This story line received mixed reviews, as the character had been largely a light-hearted one.[1]