Want To Try A Foreign Soap? Three British Soaps to Get Hooked On!

If you are looking for another soap to get seriously addicted to, but want something a little bit different, watching soaps from other countries is a great option. You can get the same regular dose of drama and discover a whole new host of interesting characters, but also get an idea of what life is like in a faraway place (or at least, what life is 'sort of like', through the soap lens!).
Obviously if you want to watch in English without subtitles, then soaps from English speaking countries are the way to go. While there are famous soaps from countries like Australia (Neighbours and Home & Away being the most popular), some of the world's biggest English language soaps come from the UK. With a good internet and TV package (you can find reviews of great packages at satellitetvcable.com), it is easier than ever to watch TV shows from around the world, so why not check out one of these three big UK soaps?

Coronation Street

Coronation Street, or 'Corrie' as it is affectionately known in England, is the oldest running UK soap, and has aired without a single hiatus since the 1960's. It has, of course, moved with the times, and also increased from one episode per week when it started to having a new 30 minute episode aired most days. It is set in a small town just outside of the well known Northern English city of Manchester, and a lot of the drama centers around the long running families and businesses who live there. Coronation Street has had some famous and groundbreaking storylines, and while it is known for its humor too, can often have some high drama with storylines including typical soap fare like betrayal, murder and romance.


Eastenders is the second longest running soap, and is made by the BBC. It has been competing with Corrie for popularity since it started in the early 80's, and is one of the best loved shows among Brits, with even people who 'don't like soaps' admitting to knowing what is happening in this prime time show. Set in London, Eastenders can often be quite gritty and often features crime based storylines as well as complicated ongoing family dramas. It can also be very funny, and of course gives you a chance to pick up some cool London slang terms!


Hollyoaks is a soap that is typically popular mostly with the 'twentysomething' demographic, and has a more glamorous feel than Coronation Street or Eastenders, with lots of good looking young people involved in all kinds of dramatic and intriguing stories. It is made by Channel 4, and if you have ever watched and enjoyed other Channel 4 shows that have made it across the Atlantic like Skins or Misfits chances are you'll love Hollyoaks!

Watching soaps from other countries can be really fun, and you'll quickly notice how the style of soap acting and writing differs between these UK shows and our own most popular soaps. Check them out!


  1. British soaps are the absolute best! In the case of "Coronation Street," it's pure domestic drama like U.S. soaps used to be through the mid-1970s. Unlike today's U.S. soaps, not everyone is super-rich (in fact, "Corrie" prides itself on characters predominately from the working class, which is rife with drama). No master villains who secretly keep dead characters alive in their basements for years. No crime mob. And NO 60-plus actresses unrecognizable from too much cosmetic surgery. It's Dickens for 21st Century.

  2. Big fan of EastEnders! Watch on local PBS station...we're a bit behind (fall 2005) because we only get two episodes a week, but best show on the telly! (Just don't grass to the old bill about me, ya plunker!)

  3. Because of the amount of foreign TV I watch, I use a VPN service that allows me to watch these shows at their broadcast network websites on the day they're broadcast. I've been watching EastEnders, Emmerdale, and Hollyoaks for years now. (It costs me a little over $6 a month, but I prefer this to buying a premium cable package!)

    If you don't care if you're a week or two behind what's currently being broadcast in the UK, then you can watch both Coronation Street and Hollyoaks at Hulu (with advertising). Example: Today is May 22 and the latest episode at Hulu for Corrie is May 15. Hollyoaks just put up the May 5 episode. So that's not too far behind.

    A couple things I love about British soaps is the diversity and the more ensemble nature of the cast. Just about every character gets their turn at having a story. Also, I actually prefer the larger cast size coupled with the half-hour format. I think EastEnders currently has a cast of over 50 characters in "The Square" and some evenings we see over 20 of them. No time to get bored with screen hogs like in US soaps .. lol! .. And Bill Bell was right. The half-hour format is the perfect one for soaps. You're usually wanting more and actually anticipate the next episode.

    If you want some quick run-downs of what's happened (or about to happen) on these UK shows, I recommend the "Whats On TV UK" website at:


    Once you select the soap you want to review, you can read "Coming Up" with day-to-day spoilers or look at "The Story So Far" for a rundown of what's happened day-to-day in the recent weeks.