Did You Know These 5 Unusual Facts About UK Soap Operas?
We tune in in our millions to catch up with our favourite characters on UK soap operas – from Coronation Street and Eastenders to Casualty and Hollyoaks. They’re old favourites that feel as familiar as putting on an old jumper – and that’s part of the appeal. Long-running characters start to feel like friends and we become even more invested in their lives and storylines.
For die-hard fans there’s little they don’t already know about their favourite soaps, but we’ve rounded up some quirky facts you might not know about your favourite TV shows.
Because of their broad appeal and enormous audiences (Coronation Street brings in around 8 million viewers for each episode), the stars of our favourite soaps make brilliant celebrity guests at all sorts of events. If you’re booking celebrities for an event, consider an actor or actress from Coronation Street, Eastenders or Emmerdale – their homely and familiar feel could prove a real draw to fans of the show, and even for non-watchers, they’re some of the UK’s best-known faces.
Drinks in the Rovers Return
Whenever one of the characters in Coronation Street orders a drink in the Rovers (a not infrequent occurrence) the actor is served an approximation of what they have ordered – beer is in fact a weak shandy (mostly lemonade) and a gin and tonic is fizzy water. Bill Ward (who played Charlie Stubbs) could sometimes be seen recoiling from his drink because the ‘beer’ was so sweet!
According to a scientific study published in the British Medical Journal living in the fictional Walford where Eastenders is set is incredibly dangerous! Residents are more likely to suffer injury or death than Formula One drivers, oil rig divers and bomb disposal experts. It’s also slightly more dangerous than residing in Coronation Street – though not by much!
Coronation Street began filming in high definition in 2010 – and it meant a few changes had to be made on the street. The iconic chimney pots were replaced with fibreglass versions to make them look more realistic, and food in Roy’s Rolls which was previously fake was replaced with the real deal to ensure eagle-eyed viewers couldn’t spot the difference.
Walford, where Eastenders is set is a fictional place – but it has some real-world roots. Eastenders was created by Julia Smith and Tony Holland who lived in Walthamstow and Stratford. Combined, the two places make Walford!
Soaps often broach contemporaneous issues, and bringing them up in a fictional setting can help to bring them into the mainstream. Hollyoaks has always been one of TV’s most progressive programmes, and it’s been particularly forward-looking when it comes to LGBT issues. The programme is the only soap which has ever tackled male rape, was the first to feature a gay wedding and featured the first gay character who is HIV positive.
You’ll find celebrity speakers from the soaps including Gemma Bissix on our books at MN2S, one of London’s top talent agencies. She’s starred in many soaps including a five-year stint on Eastenders in the 1990s and in Hollyoaks between 2006 and 2013. Gemma has been nominated for and won plenty of awards for her acting including Best Villain, Best Bitch, Most Spectacular Scene, Best Storyline and Best Exit at the Soap Awards.