BBC Studios: Leather-clad baddies, feisty matriarchs and The Queen Vic – future-proofing the cultural institution of soap operas

BBC Studios partnered with insight agency Verve to discover if soap operas in the UK have a future, and if so, how to adapt them to changing cultural and consumer needs.


Soap operas (EastEnders, Emmerdale, Corrie…) are a British cultural phenomenon. Many Brits were raised on soaps, with Pat Butcher's earrings holding a warm place in our collective hearts.

But today, the proliferation of content available across so many platforms leaves soap opera views waning (-15% year-on-year). From Love Island to Game of Thrones – we're getting our fix of drama elsewhere.

BBC Studios worked in partnership with insight agency Verve to tackle this challenge, and answer the question 'What is the future of soap operas?'

Our research combined cultural analysis, commercial semiotics of soap operas and competitor...

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