Everyone loves a soap opera. The endless drama, the complicated relationships, the fights and arguments…
Their appeal lies in getting to know intimate details about characters we learn to love or hate, following their lives and stories week to week throughout the year. Watched by millions of TV viewers on a regular basis, soap operas are a staple of our TV diet. But do you know which one has been running the longest?
The king of the soaps
King of the TV soaps in the UK is undoubtedly ITV’s Coronation Street, which has been entertaining millions of fans since 1960.
Now a very impressive 57 years old – close to collecting its pension – Coronation Street has seen hundreds of characters tackle countless storylines, despite the fact only 13 episodes were originally commissioned. Over the years ‘The Street,’ as it is often known, has seen many momentous events, as well as dozens of guest appearances by everyone from Prince Charles to Status Quo.
Coronation Street enjoys the accolade of being not only the longest-running TV soap in Britain but also the world. In comparison, other popular TV soaps Emmerdale and Eastenders have only been on our screens since 1972 and 1985 respectively.
One of its major stars, William Roache, has been playing Ken Barlow in the soap since its very first episode, and is now officially the world’s longest-serving actor in a soap opera.
Coronation Street famously follows the lives and times of residents of an ordinary street in a suburb of Manchester. According to the Radio Times, many actors and actresses cut their teeth on the famous cobbled streets before making it big elsewhere, including Prunella Scales (who played Eileen Hughes in 1961), Beryl Bainbridge (Ginnie, 1961), Ben Kingsley (Ron Jenkins, 1966-67), Patrick Stewart (a fireman, in 1967), Patricia Routledge (Sylvia Snape, 1961), Martin Shaw (Robert Croft, 1968), Joanne Whalley (Pamela Graham, 1974) and Kevin Whately (Kevin, 1981).
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One other thing to remember when you watch ‘Corrie’ next – it may hold the TV title, but it still has a long way to go to beat Radio 4’s The Archers, which first broadcast in 1950.