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The Very Best British Soap Operas, Ranked

Updated October 14, 2019 4.7k votes 1.1k voters 42.2k views21 items

List RulesVote 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.

 

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  • 1

    EastEnders

    Steve McFadden, Adam Woodyatt
    443
    291

    Premiered1985

    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
  • 2

    Coronation Street

    Barbara Knox, Helen Worth
    436
    286

    PremieredDecember 9, 1960

    Coronation Street is a British soap opera created by Granada Television and shown on ITV since 1960. The programme centres on Coronation Street in Weatherfield, a fictional town based on Salford, its...  more
  • 3

    Emmerdale

    Chris Chittell, Steve Halliwell
    321
    214

    PremieredOctober 16, 1972

    Emmerdale, known as Emmerdale Farm until 1989, is a long-running British soap opera set in Emmerdale, a fictional village in the Yorkshire Dales. Created by Kevin Laffan, Emmerdale Farm was first...  more
  • 4

    Hollyoaks

    Adam Woodward, Tylan Grant
    215
    197

    PremieredOctober 23, 1995

    Hollyoaks is a British soap opera, first broadcast on Channel 4 on 23 October 1995. It was originally devised by Phil Redmond, who had also devised the Channel 4 soap Brookside. The programme is set...  more
  • 5

    Brookside

    Anna Friel, Jennifer Ellison
    105
    130

    Premiered1982

    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
  • 6

    Eldorado

    Ben Murphy, William Lucas
    59
    109

    Premiered1992

    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
  • 7

    Doctors

    Robert Cavanah, Ian Kelsey
    66
    151

    Premiered2000

    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
  • 8

    Family Affairs

    Sasha Pieterse, Cyril Nri
    58
    136

    PremieredMarch 30, 1997

    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
  • 9

    Take The High Road

    James Cosmo, Natalie J. Robb
    55
    135

    Premiered1980

    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
  • 10

    River City

    Sam Heughan, Louise Jameson
    28
    126

    Premiered2002

    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
  • 11

    Family Pride

    Marc Zuber, Zia Mohyeddin
    8
    65

    Premiered1991

    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
  • 12

    The Grove Family

    Christopher Beeny, Ruth Dunning
    13
    107

    Premiered1954

    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
  • 13

    United!

    David Lodge, Michael Billington
    15
    122

    Premiered1965

    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
  • 14

    Castle Haven

    Gretchen Franklin, Kathy Staff
    8
    76

    Premiered1969

  • 15

    199 Park Lane

    John Barron, Edwin Richfield
    6
    69

    Premiered1965

    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
  • 16

    The Cedar Tree

    5
    73
    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
  • 17

    The Newcomers

    Wendy Richard, Judy Geeson
    9
    121

    Premiered1965

    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
  • 18

    Miracles Take Longer

    John Salthouse, Patsy Byrne
    7
    99

    Premiered1984

    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
  • 19

    Weavers Green

    Kate O'Mara, John Moulder-Brown
    7
    102

    Premiered1966

    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
  • 20

    The Cut

    Samuell Benta, Matthew Kane
    6
    97

    Premiered2009

    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
  • 21

    Starr And Company

    Arnold Ridley, Philip Ray
    6
    116

    Premiered1958

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