People have been reacting to the news that Coronation Street is to crossover with the other soaps to draw attention to the climate crisis.

It was announced last week that the world’s longest running soap, which is filmed and based in Salford, will be participating in a crossover with Britain’s other soaps and continuing dramas to highlight environmental issues.

For the first time in British television history, Casualty, Coronation Street, Doctors, Emmerdale, EastEnders, Hollyoaks and Holby City have all filmed scenes with, or references to, one another.

The unique idea originally came from Emmerdale’s executive producer Jane Hudson, who has been co-ordinating with her fellow executives with the aim of highlighting the climate crisis.

Speaking on behalf of Emmerdale and ITV studios, she said: “Never before have all five soaps and both continuing dramas come together and united in telling one story. And we certainly haven’t seen characters pop up in other shows before.

“This is a real treat for our audience, whilst also allowing us to get across a very important message.”

Coronation Street
Image Credit: Lewis Clarke via Geograph

According to a press release, a social media video featuring two Emmerdale residents will be shown to Coronation Street characters, and one of BBC’s Doctors will appear on the infamous cobbles.

A social media clip from Weatherfield is also set to be shown in EastEnders’ pub, The Queen Vic.

It is not the first time that soap operas have used their platform to bring important social issues to the fore.

Most recently, Coronation Street shone a light on the violence experienced by those from alternative subcultures, with a storyline inspired by the tragic murder of Sophie Lancaster in 2007.

Discussing the impact the latest story will have, Dr Sharon Coen, Senior Lecturer in Media Psychology at the University of Salford, said: “As a psychologist, I think it’s a good thing.”

Dr Coen, whose research interests include the media’s coverage of climate change, went on to say that while psychological research tells us that watching something such as a soap opera may not change how you personally behave, it changes what society perceives as the “normal” thing to do.

She explained: “It changes what we in psychology call ‘the social norm’.

“The literature suggests that one of the biggest challenges with climate change, with the coverage of climate change, is actually to find a way to make it real, concrete, visible, to people.

Dr Coen explained: “People are fed up with the polar bear – they don’t want to know about it.”

“So, if Coronation Street is able to articulate the problem in a way that is closer to the British public, kudos to them – I’m all for it.

“We need the media to really start drumming down the message.”

The scenes are set to begin airing on Monday 1 November and will coincide with world leaders meeting in Glasgow for the COP26 conference to discuss the climate crisis.

CAFOD (the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development) have been one organisation focusing on highlighting the severity of the climate crisis ahead of COP26.

Their “Eyes of the World” campaign has achieved much attention during the run up to the conference.

Last weekend, with the support of CAFOD, the Diocese of Salford organised a ‘Climate Walk’ from Salford Cathedral to Wardley Hall to raise awareness, which was attended by Salford & Eccles MP Rebecca Long-Bailey.

While discussing the soap’s latest move, Simon Holleron, Community Participation Coordinator for Salford diocese, said: “I think it’s an important thing because it’s getting into that mainstream, it’s bringing it into people’s living rooms.

“It’s seeing, albeit fictionalised, ordinary people talking about it, and hopefully it will be seen as a normal thing rather than just something that is on the news.”

Speaking about the novelty of characters crossing over from different programmes, Simon said: “I think it’s a little bit quirky, if that’s an appropriate word to use, in a good way, in that when something is different from the norm it attracts people’s attention.”

He continued: “I also think the fact is, if it is seen to be normal and something that impacts us, then we can keep a pressure on the politicians.

“For our own world and our own environment, and for, I know it’s a bit of a cliché, but our children and our children’s children.”

Coronation Street airs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on ITV.

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