The Very Best British Soap Operas, Ranked

List Rules
Vote up your favorite soaps from the UK.

Heightened drama and ridiculously long feuds keep viewers coming back for more in the best British soap operas. The top British soap opera shows tell ongoing stories about characters who would do anything for each other - and others who would betray their own families to get ahead. This is a list of the best British soap operas, including everything from Doctors to Take the High Road.

What series will you find on this list of the greatest British soap operas? EastEnders has been broadcast on BBC One since 1985, making it one of the longest-running British soaps. The show is set in the fictional borough of Walford, and features stories surrounding several members of the community. Miracles Take Longer is another popular British soap opera. Coronation Street has featured several amazing actors over the years, including Ben Kingsley and Ian McKellen. Other good British soap operas featured on this list include The Newcomers, Weavers Green, and Starr and Company.

Do you have a favorite English soap? Give the best series a thumbs up and get in on the conversation in the comments section.


list ordered by
  • Following the daily lives and dramas of the residents of Weatherfield.
  • Emmerdale
    The lives of several families in the Yorkshire Dales revolve around a farm and a nearby village.
  • EastEnders
    EastEnders is a British soap opera; the first episode was broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC One on 19 February 1985. EastEnders storylines examine the domestic and professional lives of the ...more
  • Hollyoaks
    The lives of a group of suburban college kids.
  • Brookside
    Brookside was a British soap opera set in Liverpool, England. The series began on the launch night of Channel 4 on 2 November 1982, and ran for 21 years until 4 November 2003. Originally intended to ...more
  • Doctors
    Doctors is a British medical soap opera which first broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC One on 27 March 2000. Set in the fictional Midlands town of Letherbridge, defined as being close to the city ...more
  • Eldorado
    Eldorado was a British soap opera that ran for only one year, from 6 July 1992 to 9 July 1993. Set in the fictional town of Los Barcos on the Costa del Sol in Spain and following the lives of British ...more
  • Take the High Road was a British soap opera produced by Scottish Television, set in the fictional village of Glendarroch, which started in February 1980 as an ITV daytime soap opera, and was dropped ...more
  • Family Affairs was a British soap opera that was aired on Channel 5. It debuted 30 March 1997 and screened as five thirty minute episodes each week. The series never achieved high ratings, so the ...more
  • River City
    River City, is a television soap opera, which was first broadcast on BBC Scotland on 24 September 2002. River City features the lives of the people who live and work in the fictional district of ...more
  • United!
    United! was a British television series which was produced by the BBC between 1965 and 1967, and was broadcast twice-weekly on BBC1. The series followed the fortunes of a fictional second division ...more
  • 199 Park Lane was a British soap opera that aired on BBC1 in 1965. Airing twice a week, the series was set in a luxury block of flats in London. A total of 18 episodes were broadcast, the first two ...more
  • The Grove Family is a British television soap opera, generally regarded as the first of its kind broadcast in the UK, made and transmitted by BBC Television from 1954 to 1957. The series revolved ...more
  • Family Pride was a short lived British soap opera produced by Central Television, which ran for two series from 1991-92. It was written by Mahmood Jamal and Barry Simmer and centred on the lives of ...more
  • The Cedar Tree was a television serial that ran from 1976-1979 on ITV in the United Kingdom. It involved the story of the Bourne family, hailing from an aristocratic background, before the turn of ...more
  • The Cut
    The Cut is a BBC television Teen drama for teenagers, first broadcast in September 2009. The series was developed by Geoffrey Goodwin and Holby City writer, Al Smith in collaboration with KateModern ...more
  • Weavers Green was a British television soap opera, made in 1966 for ITV by Anglia Television. It was notable for being one of the first television programmes to be shot on location using videotape ...more
  • Miracles Take Longer was a United Kingdom drama series broadcast on ITV from January 1984 to May 1984 made by Thames Television. The drama depicted the life and cases dealt with by a branch of the ...more
  • The Newcomers was a late 1960s BBC soap opera which dealt with the subject of a London family, the Coopers, who moved to a housing estate in the fictional country town of Angleton. It was broadcast ...more