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Coronation Street

posted on 2023-06-07, 21:30 authored by Andy Medhurst
This year, Coronation Street celebrates its fiftieth birthday, and in each and every one of those years it has been among the most watched, enjoyed and discussed programmes on British TV. It is both icon and institution, though rarely blessed (or cursed) with being fashionable, and its influence can be detected in countless popular dramas and comedies made in Britain during its lengthy reign. It is, however, often taken for granted, its sheer ubiquity rendering it part of the cultural furniture - yet that domestic metaphor is very revealing, since it has, this book will argue, entered the bloodstream of Britain like no other TV series. Single-handedly (although joined over the decades by assorted and variably successful upstart rivals) Coronation Street made soap the central ingredient in the national televisual diet. Given the impossibility of covering every angle of such a long series in such a short book, this study will focus on three key issues. Firstly, the relationship between the series and its genre, exploring how Coronation Street made the mould for British TV soaps by forging an unlikely and enduring union between the everyday textures of kitchen-sink naturalism and the sensational pleasures 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'. Thirdly, the sexual politics of the Street, mapping its emblematic lineage of tough, sussed women from Ena Sharples to Eileen Grimshaw, sifting through its not insubstantial claims to be a benchmark of popular feminism and tracing its remarkably astutely attuned sense of camp. Questions of class will also, quite properly, thread throughout the book, and attention will also be given to its pivotal status within the history of ITV.


Publication status

  • Published


British Film Institute

Place of publication





BFI TV Classics

Department affiliated with

  • Media and Film Publications

Full text available

  • No

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

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