Coronation Street at 60: Why it's more than just a soap

By Kirsty Grant
Newsbeat reporter

Image source, Cat Davies/Holly Morgan

Forget dating apps or school sweethearts, 18-year-old Cat Davies met her girlfriend through their shared love of Coronation Street.

"Instead of loving a rock band or a Netflix series, I've always loved Corrie," she tells Radio 1 Newsbeat.

The show celebrates its 60th anniversary today. The first episode aired on 9 December 1960, which makes it the longest-running soap in the world.

Cat's love for Corrie doesn't end with the closing credits. She runs a fan page for Carla, a character in the programme.

Image source, Cat Davies
Image caption,
Cat and Hannah, who she met through their Corrie fan accounts, met Shayne Ward, who played Aidan in the series

"We all make video edits of our favourite characters, so we take bits of them in the programme and add music and effects," she says.

Both Cat and her girlfriend Shan made these video edits, and so found one another on Instagram.

After speaking online, they decided to meet up in 2016 when Cat was visiting Manchester from south west Wales.

Cat met most of her closest friends from the online community surrounding the soap.

Apart from juicy storylines keeping her hooked three nights a week, she says watching it religiously has made her a "more understanding person".

"It always made me judge people less. The different stories just show you that you never know what's going on behind closed doors," she says.

The storylines, although sometimes unrealistic, are important to a lot of viewers and most recently the show's producers have reflected the coronavirus pandemic, which Cat says has really helped her get through it.

"Seeing how the characters cope and seeing how they're going through the same thing and having to face the same restrictions as we do is reassuring and is also great that they're reminding their audience to keep safe."

Holly Morgan, 26, has been watching Coronation Street for more than 10 years. She agrees that the storylines are more than just something to watch with a cuppa.

Image source, Holly Morgan
Image caption,
Holly says Corrie is better than other soaps because of its balance between "funny and serious"

"There's an emotional abuse storyline, and that's something I went through," she says.

"Having things like that in the show raises awareness about what people go through; a lot of people don't really understand emotional abuse and gaslighting.

"This storyline has got people talking. It opens people's eyes."

Image source, Cat Davies
Image caption,
Cat met Chris Gascoyne who plays Peter in the soap

With more choice of big budget programmes at our fingertips, Cat says soaps still have a place in entertaining all ages of people.

She said: "There are loads of good new series but you'd be wrong to say soaps are out of date.

"Because it's never ending, you have this constant connection with the characters and stories.

"So, to some people it's just a show, but to others it can mean a great deal because of how they connect with these characters and what they've gone through."

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
William Roach has played Ken Barlow since the first episode back in 1960

Whether it's dramatic storylines, funny characters or a way to meet new friends, millions of people still agree with Cat that there's "nothing better than to come home and just wind down and watch Corrie".

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