Britain's first true soap opera was produced by Granada Television at its Manchester studios and first broadcast on the ITV network on 9 December 1960, for 30 minutes at 19:30 on Mondays and Wednesdays. [The Monday episode, incidentally, immediately preceded the prestigious investigative journalism series World in Action, also produced by Granada for the ITV network.]
Despite early network misgivings about a series set in the working-class milieu of a grimy Northern town, it was an immediate hit, drawing audiences of more than 20m an episode. In these more competitive times, it can still achieve an audience of 17.6m viewers (24 February 2003, peaking at 19.4m) and has run neck-and-neck with its BBC rival EastEnders since 1985. More than any other British television drama programme, it has accreted an extensive sub-culture of publications, merchandise and legend. It has also attracted academic interest for more than 20 years, beginning with the British Film Institute's book Coronation Street, edited by Richard Dyer (1981).
Page updated 26 July 2008