TV loving Brits spend a year of their life watching soap operas such as Coronation Street and Eastenders, according to new research.
The latest study, which set out to uncover the extent of our obsession with soaps, reveals that some adults prefer to spend their time watching what’s going on in Albert Square or the Rovers Return than spend time with their own partner or children.
Two thirds of UK adults – that’s close to 33.9 million people – say they catch at least one episode of a leading soap a week, while on average we spend 143 minutes catching up with our favourite shows weekly. This equates to 336 days spent in front of the box over the course of an average adult lifetime.
And according to the new report, which was commissioned by family frozen food favourite Dalepak, almost a quarter of women say they view between three and four hours of soaps each week, while six per cent of over 55s told researchers they watched more than 10 hours weekly.
Speaking about the results of the survey, which quizzed 2,000 adults across the UK, Anne Claypole, marketing manager for Dalepak, said: “We Brits love nothing more than to watch our favourite soaps, they are part of our cultural make-up and we love them because of that.
“However, it is extraordinary to think that on average we spend a year of our lives sat in front of the television watching our favourite soaps. For many people soaps have become like extended members of the family and they wonder what they would do without them.”
But it isn’t just women or older people who love to spend time with their favourite soap characters, men are fans too. In fact almost a quarter of men told researchers they preferred watching soaps than spending time with their partner or even with their own children.
While just eight per cent of women said they enjoyed viewing Corrie or Eastenders more than spending time with their children.
Coronation Street serial killer Richard Hillman (16.45%) was voted the top soap villain of all time, followed by Eastenders’ crooks Dirty Den (14.77%) and Nick Cotton (13.16%).
Weatherfield’s loveable clan the Duckworths were crowned the best soap family of all time with 22.04% of the vote, followed closely by Eastenders hard nuts the Mitchells with 21.73%. Their Albert Square neighbours the Slaters were in third place with 14.54% of people voting for them, in the nationwide survey by family frozen food favourite Dalepak.
The best soap plot ever was won by Eastenders with its ‘Who Shot Phil Mitchell?’ storyline, which landed 15% of the vote.
It ran in 2001 and captivated the public’s imagination leading to thousands of bets being placed at the bookies across the UK — at the time bookmaker William Hill said that around 50,000 bets were made on who was responsible.
An estimated 22 million viewers watched Eastenders on April 5, 2001 to find out that Lisa Shaw — Phil’s former girlfriend — was the culprit. The episode caused the third-largest power surge on record and the Liverpool and Barcelona UEFA Cup semi-final was postponed for 15 minutes to accommodate a special 40 minute edition of the soap.
Coronation Street’s tram crash, which was broadcast live to mark 50 years of the longest running soap in British history, was voted the second best plot ever with 13.31% of survey respondents voting for it.
And the third best soap plot of all time was the classic ‘Body under the patio’ storyline by former Channel 4 hit Broookside.
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