ITV

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.

Ten things you might not know about Coronation Street

Helen Worth as Gail Platt (Credit: ITV)

 

1. The Rovers by numbers

Everyone's favourite local watering hole the Rovers Return Inn may seem like a fake pub, but staff still pull a hefty number of pints each week, and Betty's famous hotpot lives on long after actress Betty Driver passed away in 2011. Weekly, The Rovers serves up 1,440 pints, 100 gin and tonics, and 84 hotpots - as well as 2,500 bags of crisps per year. The beer served is actually very weak - and very sweet - shandy, and the gin and tonics are just fizzy water and lime.

 

Sinead Keenan on her RTS-award winning role in Little Boy Blue

“I remember watching an interview with Paul Bettany once and he said, ‘acting is like sex, it’s nice to do but embarrassing to talk about.’”

She laughs, “It’s so true.”

Keenan's acting career started on Irish soap opera Fair City before her breakout role as Nina on BBC’s Being Human. “I’ve tried to take parts that I find interesting, or well written, challenging,” she says.

“On the other hand, you have to live, you have to eat, you have to work, so it’s within that kind of jobbing actor thing, trying to balance those two things out.”

Andrew Davies adapts Jane Austen's unfinished novel Sanditon for ITV

Jane Austen

Sanditon, written just months before Austen’s death in 1817, tells the story of Charlotte Heywood, an impulsive and highly spirited young woman, and her spiky relationship with the wild and charming Sidney Parker.

After an accident sees the Heywood family transported from the rural hometown of Willingden to the up-and-coming seaside town of Sanditon, Charlotte is exposed to the intrigues of a town on the rise, and the people whose fortunes depend on its commercial success.

Molly Windsor & Katherine Kelly to star in ITV psychological thriller Cheat

Windsor plays Rose, a high-flying university student who is accused of cheating in her dissertation by her professor, Leah (Katherine Kelly – The Night Manager, Strike Back).

The women’s relationship spirals out of control as what should be a fairly open-and-shut case of academic deception, gets blown up into a devastating series of events with fatal consequences.

Top news programmes failing to put women on air

However, research by Professor Lis Howell of City, University of London, shows that average ratios of male to female experts have improved over the past two years to 2.2:1.

Yet in some quarters, the drive to increase the number of expert women on specific television news programmes has stalled – and in some cases, numbers have actually worsened.

The findings are the result of a study conducted by the university, and the full results have been announced today at City’s Women on Air conference.