Paul Collins (Brookside)
Paul Collins as he appears in the first episode of Brookside
|Portrayed by||Jim Wiggins|
|Created by||Phil Redmond|
|First appearance||2 November 1982|
|Last appearance||25 June 1990|
|Occupation||Factory production manager|
The Collins family moved into Brookside Close during the first episode, having bought Number 8. From the start, there was conflict between the middle-class Collins family and the working-class Grants; in fact, the conflict between the families provided much of the early storylines. Upon arrival at Number 8, they found house had been vandalised by Damon Grant and his friends, and somebody had stolen the toilet. An indignant Paul confronted Bobby Grant, accusing Damon of being the toilet thief. Damon admitted to the vandalism, but denied stealing the toilet.
Unlike the Grant family, who had come from a run-down council estate to live on Brookside Close, the Collins family had previously lived in a large, comfortable house on The Wirral, but were forced to downsize to something much smaller after Paul was made redundant. In the early days of Brookside, Paul was unemployed and storylines centred around the family's struggle to cope with their new humbler surroundings and financial hardship, along with Paul's discomfort at having to sign on alongside people he once looked down on. Paul's daughter Lucy resented her father for their reduced circumstances, especially after she was forced to swap her public school for the local comprehensive, where her posh accent and privileged background saw her become the victim of bullying. Eventually Paul found another job, and the family's financial situation improved for a while. However, in 1986 he was again made redundant. This time he decided to take early retirement rather than face the humiliation of having to sign on again.
Paul was a conservative and deeply principled man. However, he was never the most tactful or sensitive of people, and frequently antagonised his neighbours with his high-handed and snobbish attitude towards them. Paul described himself as the 'boss of the Collins household', yet in reality he wife Annabelle and daughter Lucy usually got their way.
Having once served as a captain in the British army, he struggled to come to terms with his son Gordon's sexuality as well as his daughter Lucy's promiscuity. However, Paul could also be a kind and generous man; eventually forgiving wife Annabelle for her affair with fellow JP Brian Lawrence and putting up with her cantankerous and senile mother, Mona. Prior to losing his job in 1982 and again in 1986, Paul had worked as a production manager for a large petrochemical firm; however, by the time he was written out the character had retired. There was a 13-year age gap between Paul and Annabelle, with Wiggins being 60 when he took the role.
Paul was often optimistic that the family would be back in their former lavish circumstances soon, often using phrases like 'this time last year we'll be back in the Wirral'.
Following Doreen Sloane's death from cancer, the entire Collins family were written out of Brookside in the summer of 1990, moving to the Lake District to help look after Annabelle's increasingly frail mother and her new husband. At the time of their departure, the Collins were one of the few original families left in the soap, and the only household to have survived since the programme started. By the 1990s the dynamic of Brookside was changing and the show was gradually moving away from the 'gritty realism' that had defined its early years through families such as the Grants and the Collinses.