Paul Burrells reason for attending Brookside stars funeral after Dianas trip

Dean Sullivan stars as Jimmy Corkhill in Brookside

Paul Burrell has revealed why he decided to attend the funeral of soap legend Dean Sullivan. The former royal butler paid his respects to the Brookside actor as he was laid to rest after dying last month aged 68.

Dean was best known for being on the Channel 4 soap opera and became one of the most recognisable characters as Jimmy Corkhill; earning two British Soap Awards, including a special recognition award.

Whilst many of his former co-stars and friends attended the funeral, few expected to see Paul Burrell turn up. However, he revealed that he previously formed a friendship with Dean after Princess Diana developed a love for the show.

Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, he explained: “I don’t think people realise how close Dean was to Princess Diana. She was a massive Brookside fan. I used to prepare her dinner and wheel it on a trolley in front of the telly so she could watch Brookside.

“We arranged a secret visit for her to come to the set and there she struck up a friendship with Dean. Dean was a joker and that friendship lasted for the rest of the Princess’ life. When she died, Dean got in touch with me and said how devastated he was and so we mourned together.”

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Last month, Dean’s family confirmed the tragic news that he has passed away after a short illness. They said in a statement: “It is with deep sadness we must tell you that actor Dean Sullivan passed away on 29th November 2023 peacefully following a short illness. To millions he was and very much still is remembered as ‘Jimmy’, to family and friends he was ‘Dino’.

“Dean’s family wants to thank Arrowe Park Hospital for their unwavering and consistent support. We ask that you respect their privacy in their time of grief.” He was due to appear in a production of Jack and The Beanstalk from December 7 in Southport, but previously had to pull out due to “unforeseen circumstances”.

Dean was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018, however, he was told that he’d been given the all-clear in 2022.He spoke about urging people to seek doctor’s advice in an interview with the Liverpool Echo.

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After Dean died, tributes came flooding in from former Brookside co-stars who worked alongside him, including Claire Sweeney. The pair worked together as Claire played Dean’s on-screen daughter Lindsey Corkhill.

She wrote to her 132K followers on Instagram: “Gonna miss you Dean. So glad we got to be together as a family again at the soap awards. RIP Dean Sullivan #jimmycorkhill.” She also uploaded a number of heartbreaking snaps of herself with Dean at this year’s British Soap Awards.

Although Brookside had a successful 21-year run, it was later axed in 2003 due to declining ratings. The soap attracted around eight million viewers during its heyday in the 1980s, but these figures dropped to just half a million in the 2000s.

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