Coronation Street BFI TV Classics
2010 is the year that Coronation Street celebrates its fiftieth anniversary. Over those five
decades, it has ranked as the most viewed, loved and talked about programmes on British television. It is both
an icon and an institution, although seldom blessed with being trendy. Nevertheless, its impact can be seen in
many well-known dramas and comedies produced in The UK during its long reign.
It is, however, often taken for granted, its sheer ubiquity making it part of the social furniture. On the other
hand, that domestic metaphor is extremely revealing, because it has entered the bloodstream of Britain like no
other television series. Single-handedly Coronation Street has made soap the central ingredient in the national
Given the impracticality of addressing every angle of such a lengthy series in such a short book, Coronation
Street BFI TV Classics concentrates on three main issues.
To begin with, the relationship between the series and its genre, looking at how Coronation Street made the
mould for British television soaps by forging an improbable and long lasting marriage between the everyday textures
of kitchen-sink naturalism and the sensational delights of melodramatic excess.
Secondly, the show’s sense of cultural geography, considering its almost immeasurable impact on how it has
shaped, purveyed and relished our understandings of the meanings, myths and significance of ‘the North’.
Finally, the sexual politics of the Street, mapping its emblematic lineage of difficult, sussed women from Ena
Sharples to Eileen Grimshaw, sorting through its not insubstantial claims to be a benchmark of popular feminism and
tracing its remarkably astutely attuned sense of camp.
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