Emmerdale

The Secret of Soaps: The Story Behind the Stories

No one could accuse Coronation Street of taking it easy, even though this would be understandable for a middle-aged British telly institution. Over the last couple of years the ITV soap has given viewers multiple murders, deaths and suicides; explosions and a minibus crash; a pre-teen pregnancy; and even a gay vicar.

Audiences have been lapping up the drama, which regularly attracts more than 7 million viewers. Corrie remains the nation’s favourite soap.

Soaps are powerful in changing people's perceptions say Corrie's Daniel Brocklebank

Coronation Street's Daniel Brocklebank (Credit: Richard Kendal)

But, argued the actors, writers and producers on the panel at an RTS event in mid-July – “LGBTQ in soap: job done?” ­– the fight against prejudice is not yet won.

“Soaps are incredibly powerful in terms of being able to get a message out and in changing people’s perceptions,” said Daniel Brocklebank, who plays gay vicar Billy Mayhew in Coronation Street.

"Soap audiences are a sophisticated bunch", says Emmerdale's Iain MacLeod

After jumping ship from Hollyoaks to Emmerdale, MacLeod explains his excitement at bringing new ideas to the Yorkshire-based soap.

“I’m always looking for ways to do something differently or surprise the audience with something they haven’t thought of before,” he says.

And that he did. During a week-long storyline, which was ten months in the making, the small village turned to chaos when a multi-car pile up left viewers guessing who would exit the soap, with central characters at the heart of one of the biggest disasters in Emmerdale history.

Event Report: Emmerdale: Anatomy of a Hit

Emmerdale has been a mainstay of TV production in the Yorkshire region for more than 40 years. It has just had one of its most successful years, winning a raft of awards and having several episodes and storylines singled out for critical acclaim.

A panel of Emmerdale’s finest talked about ITV’s ratings-grabbing “super soap week”, which also involved Coronation Street, last October. The week of extraordinary episodes saw Emmerdale film its biggest stunt and use non-linear story-to dramatise a huge car crash from multiple points of view.

BBC Worldwide & ITV join forces to launch US subscription service

The service, named BritBox, will bring a huge catalogue of British content to the United States in one ad-free subscription service.

The platform, which is set to rival providers like Netflix and Amazon in carrying British content across the Atlantic, will premiere shows including Anthony Horowitz-created BBC drama New Blood, and ITV’s historical epic Tutankhamun.