Is BBC's 'EastEnders' England's longest-running soap opera? No. England's longest-running soap is Coronation Street. It was first broadcast on December 9, 1960, and is still on the air. Then, twenty-five years ago today the Beales, the Fowlers and the Mitchells first came to UK screens on BBC TV's EastEnders. They came from London's East End, from the fictional borough of Walford. The soap opera was an instant hit and, though it has had its ups and down in the ratings, it remains one of Britain's most popular and one of its most critically acclaimed. Over 30 million viewers watched Den Watts give divorce papers to his wife, Angie, on December 25, 1986 — still the highest-rated episode of a soap in England's TV history. The show prides itself on its realism, with storylines about HIV, SIDS, child abuse, domestic violence and drug abuse.
"I like soap opera acting. If it's done really well, there's nothing better." — Parker Posey