Ex-Brookside star Sue Johnston’s delight as she receives freedom of Liverpool

The actress, who also starred in The Royle Family, was congratulated by Sir Paul McCartney and football manager Jurgen Klopp.

Actress Sue Johnston has been awarded the freedom of Liverpool
Actress Sue Johnston has been awarded the freedom of Liverpool (Peter Byrne/PA)

Actress Sue Johnston has been congratulated on receiving the freedom of Liverpool by Sir Paul McCartney and Jurgen Klopp.

The Royle Family and Brookside star was joined by on-screen husband Ricky Tomlinson for a ceremony at Liverpool Town Hall on Tuesday evening.

Among those paying tribute to her in video messages played on the evening was Sir Paul, who was celebrating his 82nd birthday that day.

The Beatle, who received the Freedom of Liverpool in 1984, said: “It allowed me to take a flock of sheep through the city centre, so if you need a couple of sheep to borrow just to take them through the streets, I’m your man.

“Congratulations, darling, you’re a lovely girl.”

Johnston, who grew up in Prescot, Merseyside, put her head in her hands as former Liverpool manager Klopp appeared on screen with a message of congratulations.

She and Klopp, who received the freedom of Liverpool at a ceremony in 2022, were both nominated for the honour two years ago.

Johnston said: “When they announced it on the same day as Jurgen that was breathtaking to me, that I was in the same sentence as Jurgen Klopp.

“It was very emotional for me. I cried because I wanted to tell my dad, who loved Liverpool so much. I was so sad I couldn’t tell him, and I know how proud he would have been.

“I love Scousers. The wit, the heart, they’re cheeky. Just everything. They mean just so much to me. And to be granted the freedom of Liverpool means so much more than anything that I’ve been awarded really.

“It’s humbling and to be in such great company. Especially with Jurgen.”

Also joining her for the ceremony were Liverpool FC legend Sir Kenny Dalglish, film producer Colin McKeown, comedians Jonny Vegas and Joe Wilkinson, Shameless star David Threlfall, Hillsborough campaigner Margaret Aspinall and metro mayors Steve Rotheram and Andy Burnham.

The 80-year-old actress first made a television appearance in Coronation Street in 1982, before becoming known as Sheila Grant in Liverpool-based soap Brookside.

She received a BAFTA in 2000 for her performance as Barbara in The Royle Family and was made an OBE in 2009.