Bobby Grant as he appeared in the first episode in 1982
|Portrayed by||Ricky Tomlinson|
|First appearance||2 November 1982|
|Last appearance||16 May 1988|
|Created by||Phil Redmond|
|Occupation||Factory craftsman (until May 1983)|
Factory foreman (from May 1983)
Bobby Grant is a fictional character from British soap opera, Brookside played by Ricky Tomlinson. Bobby appeared in Brookside from the first episode in 1982 until the character's departure in 1988. Bobby was the first main character in the series to have a spoken line after recurring actor John Whitehall (who played the milkman on and off for ten years) had said the first ever line on the show.
The Grant family originally consisted of Bobby Grant, Sheila Grant, Barry Grant, Karen Grant and Damon Grant. The whole family appeared in the first episode and were the first to move into the new houses on Brookside Close, moving into No. 5.
Prior to moving onto Brookside Close, the Grant family were from a run-down, inner-city council estate. However through Bobby and Sheila's thrift and hard work, they managed to move to the "middle-class "Brookside Close.
A fourth child, Claire, was born on 8 January 1985 - the very first baby to be born in the series, more than two years after its inception.
Bobby Grant could be a domineering man over his family, and throughout the series was shown to regularly hit his son Damon for minor misdemeanours. Bobby Grant's role as patriarch of the Grant family was tested in 1986 when his wife Sheila was raped. The character was a longtime friend of Matty Nolan and also endured a difficult relationship with neighbour, Paul Collins.
Bobby Grant was a politicised character, and throughout the early years of the soap was a committed socialist and trade union activist (mirroring Tomlinson's real life prior to his acting career) and the storylines reflected this. The stories of trade union activity were on the Zeitgeist of the early-1980s when unemployment was high - particularly in Liverpool - and there was considerable industrial unrest at the time. In the opening episodes, Bobby is asked to take a pay cut and from here the political beliefs of the character are set out.
Despite being an ardent socialist, Bobby is also a realist and a moderate. As a shop-steward he is seen to liaise with his members, often defending management against false accusations. Many of Bobby's co-workers are somewhat more militant than he is, but given Bobby's realistic appraisal of the world; he realises that Fairbanks management look for any excuse to rid themselves of militants and so he refrains from making ill-considered accusations.
Bobby Grant was the trade union shop steward at the factory where he worked, and he was largely involved in the orchestrating of industrial action. In the course of his duties he was accused of abusing his position as a shop steward with regards to the allocation of overtime, in the belief that he was using his power to ensure his shift had all of the overtime. Bobby calls in the Health and Safety inspectors at Billinge Chemicals after he discovers many of the staff suffer from asbestosis. During a strike over unsafe working conditions in February 1987, Bobby loses authority of union members after he refuses to answer whether he is in the Militant tendency.
After Sheila was raped in 1986 and the death of son Damon in 1987, Bobby and Sheila's marriage began to falter. The two started to attend marriage guidance and Sheila sought advice from her priest. The pair finally split in May 1988 with Bobby taking the decision to leave Sheila. Bobby left the soap, although Sheila remained in it until September 1990 later marrying Billy Corkhill, she also made several one-off appearances in the soap, the final one being in 1998.