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.


Love Island 2024 announces June launch date

The launch on Monday 3 June will see 10 contestants (often nicknamed ‘the OGs’) enter the villa and pair off. At the end of the episode, a bombshell will enter to shake these couples up, and anyone left single at the next ‘re-coupling’ will be dumped from the island. Over eight weeks plenty more bombshells will enter, with the cast usually totalling over 30.

Only four couples will make it to the final, and then it’s up to the public to vote for their favourite, who will split £50,000 between them.

ITV to stream Edinburgh Fringe showcases as part of new ‘Summer Night of Comedy’ slate

Alan Carr and Young Alan (Oliver Savell) look into the camera, smiling, in front of a graphic of a football field, complete with arrows and annotations

ITVX Presents: Edinburgh Fringe Live will see the ITV platform stream four showcase gigs live from the Festival. Each showcase will feature material from 2024’s best and most exciting comedians, produced by NextUp Comedy, known to comedy fans as a leader in British stand-up streaming.

Changing Ends will return for a second series to follow a young Alan Carr (Oliver Savell) doing his best to survive 1980s Northampton. The sitcom draws from the comedian’s upbringing as the son of a fourth division football manager.

New UK public service broadcaster streaming service Freely launches today

The Freely logo above the text "Backed by:", itself to the left of the logos for BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5

The free service allows its users to stream live channels through smart TVs, without the need for an aerial or dish. Viewers are also able to watch on-demand content from the UK’s biggest broadcasters.

As was previously announced, Hisense will be the first smart TV partner for the service, and begins selling Freely smart TVs today (30th April).

Freely represents the first collaboration between Britain’s four public service broadcasters, in an effort to futureproof live TV in the age of streaming.

The cast and crew of ITV's Mr Bates vs The Post Office share its creation story

Mr Bates vs the Post Office belongs to that handful of British TV dramas – think Cathy Come Home or Queer as Folk – that changed the world we live in, but the shocking truth is that it almost didn’t get made.

This was one of several remarkable insights shared with the RTS into the four-part ITV series that finally drew the public’s attention to what may be our broken nation’s gravest miscarriage of justice ever.

Working Lives: Medical Advisor

Dr Thom Petty in character as Dr Neil Westland in Breathtaking

You were the lead medical advisor on Breathtaking. How did that come about?

I know Prasanna Puwanarajah, a former doctor, and had a little bit of input, along with a few other doctors, into the script he wrote with Dr Rachel Clarke and Jed Mercurio. The production felt they needed somebody on the ground as a medical advisor and I was available.

What did the job involve in pre-production?