Emmerdale is Britain’s most working-class soap

...and you'll never guess which soap has the poshest audience

Emmerdale attracts the lowest class audience of any of the six major soaps broadcast in the United Kingdom, an exclusive RadioTimes.com study can reveal.


The rural Yorkshire-based ITV soap opera has the least number of upper-middle-class viewers and the highest number of working-class viewers, according to an analysis of consolidated viewing data between May 1 2010 and May 1 2011.

More than 44 per cent of Emmerdale’s audience are classed D or E by the NRS social grading system, indicating that they are working class or those at the lowest levels of subsistence.  Fewer than 9.5 per cent of the programme’s viewers are classified A or B (upper middle class or middle class).  The soap also has below average lower-middle-class and skilled working-class representation.

And you thought everyone interested in the countryside was a toff…

Less of a shock, Channel 4’s Chester-based teen soap, Hollyoaks, isn’t far behind, attracting a measly 9.6 per cent A and B viewers and an above average 39 per cent working-class audience (see informative chart, above).

Rather unexpectedly, it turns out the soap with the classiest viewers is Channel 5’s sun-kissed favourite, Neighbours*.  A whopping 21 per cent of the Australian soap’s audience are NRS rated A or B, meaning the programme stands out head and shoulders above its rivals in the class wars.  In addition, Neighbours returns the lowest number of D and E rated viewers, with just 33 per cent of its audience working class or lower.

It seems there must be a lot of ladies that lunch after 2:15pm in order to get their daily dose of Erinsborough-tainment.  However, they’re not so committed to the second half of Channel 5’s Aussie soap hour, because Home and Away* is not blessed with the same Midas touch of class.  Only 10.8 per cent of its audience are middle class or above and 36.6 per cent of its viewers are working class or below.

The BBC’s flagship soap, EastEnders, is the second classiest, attracting 14 per cent A and B rated viewers, with only 35 per cent in the lowest two categories.

The Walford-based soap marginally outclasses ITV’s Coronation Street, which pulls in 12.5 per cent A and B rated viewers and a slightly above average working-class audience of 39 per cent.

*Neighbours and Home and Away figures based on first run audience only.