The Best Of British Soap Operas

Soap Operas are an institution in this country. They are among the longest running TV shows in Britain. The oldest being Coronation street which has been running since the ’60s and approaching 10000 episodes. That is an awful lot of melodrama over the years.

But which Soap is Britains finest? In their own ways they all have something to offer, let’s take a look at what the must-see soaps in Britain are.

River City

If you are blessed enough to live in Scotland you may have had a chance to catch an episode or two of this gem. It is only broadcast on BBC Scotland it details the lives of people living in a fictionised town near Glasgow. It boasts more than a thousand episodes.


With almost 4000 episodes to its name, Doctors is a prolific medical soap that has been running for nearly 20 years. Based in a small town in Birmingham at times the show has garnered in excess of 3 million viewers!


Casualty boasts being the worlds longest running medical drama (take that Gray’s Anatomy!) It has been running weekly episodes for more than 30 years. The show boasts a whole host of media awards, a series of spin-off shows and a theme tune so catchy that you can’t help but hum along.


Holby city was initially a spin-off from Casualty. It is based in the same hospital and sometimes there are crossover episodes and characters that appear on both shows. The show has been running for almost twenty years but has faced criticism for being a waste of license fees due to the productions costs. The show spends a lot on research to make sure it is authentic. It also led to the spin-off Holby Blue, which disappointingly was not an “adult” version of Holby!

Rownd a Rownd

Broadcast on S4C This is a Welsh Soap Opera. It was originally based around a paperboy but has grown to encompass general school life during its almost 25-year tenure.

Pobol y Cwm

One of Britains longest running soaps. Again this airs on S4C. The name translates to People Of The Valleys and that is who the show focuses on. It is based on the fictional town of Cwmderi and is the most watched show on S4C, with shows every weekday.

The Archers

Okay, so this is a radio-soap. But you can’t leave it off the list, can you? The show has been running since 1951!


One of Britains most popular soap operas. It has been running since the ’80s and nearly always does well at the national TV awards. It competes with Coronation Street as the nations favourite Soap Opera. The show focuses on the fictional borough of Walford and portrays what it is like living in London, including outdoor markets and “greasy spoons”.

Coronation Street

The longest-running British soap (on TV!). Coronation Street is set Weatherfield a fictional town in Salford. It has been running since the 60s and shows no signs of being taken off the air. It’s almost an institution in our country averaging 8 million viewers per episode. Its record is 21.4 million viewers for a single episode.


Or Emmerdale Farm as it used to be known, is a bit different from Eastenders and Corry as it focuses more on rural life. Many of the characters are farmers and the show is set in the countryside. There is a strong emphasis on humour which has seen its popularity last almost fifty years.


Hollyoaks has been running for almost 25 years and presents a slightly younger-feeling soap. The majority of the storylines feature twenty-somethings. It tends to focus on hard-hitting stories with a strong sense of morality. Featuring stories based on sexual consent, eating disorders and homophobia.

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