Today marks the beginning of the 50th birthday week for a huge British institution. Its official birthday is December 9, but this whole week will see drama-filled episodes, celebratory quiz shows, live action from the set and a whole lot of partying. Happy birthday, Coronation Street!
It’s been so heart-warming to see the place that Corrie appears to hold in the nation that is gripped with frost and snow, spending cuts and student riots, spy allegations and leaked documents, a beleaguered coalition government and a failed bid to host the 2018 Football World Cup. In the midst of all of this doom and gloom, the soapie that is Coronation Street continues to intrigue with its familiar, topical storyline and cast of well-loved local actors.
I’ve not watched this soapie, but I know many people who do and they love it. The celebrity campaign running on host television channel, ITV, bears further testimony to its viewership of 12 million faithfuls: stars of stage and screen talk about how Corrie has been a familiar and well-loved part of British life over the last half-century.
I understand that Coronation Street has been among the most financially lucrative programmes on commercial television in the UK and, on 17 September 2010, it became the world’s longest-running TV soap opera currently in production. Cadbury’s provided advertising support from 1996 until 2007 and I remember some years ago seeing the chocolate model of the famous street at Cadbury World, the chocolate factory’s museum in Bourneville, Birmingham.
In my teenage years, living in Zimbabwe, we became hooked on the South African soapie, The Villagers. Our Sunday evenings revolved around the exploits of the funny, gossipy and delightful characters that populated the fictitious mining village of the title. I’m not too sure how long The Villagers ran, but its successor,“Isidingo”, premiered in July 1998. With daily episodes, it continues through to today, covering topical issues and fording controversy and scandal with entertaining relevance. My parents number among their huge fan base, and they can’t bear to miss an episode ever.
Some of my friends I worked with in Cape Town were hooked on American soapies, and their evenings just weren’t the same without All My Children, Days of Our Lives, Santa Barbara and a clear favourite, fondly known as The Bold. (The Bold and the Beautiful.) One of my friends told me that when she caught a mini-bus taxi home, if she had not been safely delivered to her door by 5.30, she would jump out of the taxi wherever it was at 5.30 and run into the nearest house to watch The Bold. Everyone in her neighbourhood felt the same way, so unexpected visitors were always welcome.
So here in London, I watch with a twinge of envy as the nation cheers on its well-loved soap opera and cast of cherished, household characters. Many happy returns, Corrie! I look forward to being your age.
Sunshine signing off for today!
28 thoughts on “I’m not quite as old as Corrie”
I’m a soap fan (AMC, OLTL, GH. Of course, you didn’t read that). Gosh, I wish I had known of Corrie Street when I was there. I definitely would have checked it out.
Apparently the Queen is a fan of Coronation Street – it’s a right royal soapie!
Well, if Liz likes it then it must be good hey?
I auditioned for Egoli way back in the day, that’s about the sum of my involvement with the soaps.
Have a super week Sunshine.
Wow, Cindy, you mos famous, ne?
Coronation Street is certainly well loved here. Have a super week too xx
I love that there are soap operas in different parts of the world. I found it interesting that some foreign exchange students thought that everyone in the US lived and talked liked the actors on Dallas when they visited our school in Minnesota. One even went so far as to ask where our hats were.
I guess I would prefer the images of Dallas vs those of the movie Fargo.
How funny, Jeanne! I think movies and television can shape our perceptions of other parts of the world! Dallas vs Fargo? I would imagine you’re right! xx
I remember The Villagers! My father worked on the mines when he first came to South Africa, so we could identify with life on a mine.
It was a fun soapie – I’m so glad you remember it!
Unfortunately we don’t have television at our house here in Haiti–so I am terribly out of the loop regarding popular culture in general. But, I bet Corrie woud be available on DVD back home in the US. Do you think?
I’m pretty sure it would be, Kathryn.
I used to watch soaps, but no so much anymore. I’ve learned that if I only watch on Fridays I can catch up with everything that happened during the week. It’s a great little escape from reality. Hugs, Diane
Great escapism indeed. I like to watch series (I wonder what the difference is between a series and a soap?) but I haven’t watched soaps for years. xx
I used to watch soap operas with my mother when I was a little girl. I would get out of morning kindergarten just in time for the midday news to go off and “our” soaps to come on.
The spanish soap operas look so engaging, it makes me wish I spoke Spanish. 😀 I sometimes watched with my cousins and we would tell one another what we’d missed (as if we really knew what they were saying): “She just told him the baby isn’t his.” “They just kidnapped his wife.” It was all very exciting.
I’m getting DVR today, and you are tempting me to maybe set a few soap operas to record. 😀
That’s a special memory of watching soaps with your mother – how lovely! And I love that you decided what was happening in the Spanish soaps, too sweet!
Would have loved to watch Coronation street whilst living almost a decade in England but with two jobs, never had the time (or the energy).
I guess nowadays its a privilege for some to watch television. I wish I had the time to watch old soaps or read all those books I never had. Maybe on a holiday someday.
Best wishes from Karachi.
I can imagine following soaps is quite time-consuming. Hope you can find time to watch and read and have a holiday soon! Thanks for visiting my blog.
I love this, Sunshine. We used to schedule our college classes around Days of Our Lives. Now, our nanny watches it, and she records each episode so she can watch when the boys are at school. From what I can tell, the plot hasn’t changed at all since I was in school. Enjoy the Corrie festivities!
(Love your new blog header. Icy but beautiful. Stay warm today!)
Thanks so much, Maura. So do you keep up to date with Days of Our Lives through your nanny now? How funny! It’s fascinating observing all the festivities for Corrie – very heart-warming xx
It’s funny how a TV show can become an institution.
I’m always amazed when you talk about watching something like “All My Children” or “Dallas” in the UK or Zimbabwe or South Africa. I know the shows are syndicated around the world, but I always assume they’re shown in the middle of the night or something.
True, Todd. Isn’t it funny that we watched those soaps in Africa? You’ll be equally amazed to hear they were prime-time viewing!
I remember the three years I lived in England during the mid 1980’s, I was addicted to Eastenders and an Australian soap, Neighbors…..
Those programmes are still going strong here! You’d probably pick up the stories again just like that! Thanks for visiting my blog.
Corrie is, indeed, an institution. We do not telephone my mother in law during its airtime because she has been watching it for its entire run, and she is not about to stop now. I have dipped in and out over the years.
She is also a huge fan of The Archers – the radio soap which airs on Radio 4 here. Now that I am hooked on, along with the majority of middle class housewives. Worth a listen – omnibus edition on a Sunday morning!
How amazing that your mother-in-law’s been watching it for its entire run? That’s pretty special. I have heard of The Archers – I’ll listen out for it, sounds like fun!
Am reading “The Water Room” by Christopher Fowler. There’s a reference to not going to visit somebody when Coronation Street is on. The story features the underground rivers of London (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subterranean_rivers_of_London). Very interesting considering what you’ve been telling us about what’s going on above the ground!
Good old Corrie! That’s interesting about the underground rivers – I’ll look out for the book. Thanks, Lisa.
It’s a novel. Quite a funny story about two old detectives who work in the fictitious Peculiar Crimes Unit in London. Think you would enjoy the humour.
Sounds like an interesting and fun read.