Going Native: Long-Running Television Serials in the UK

Douglas Chalmers, Hugh O'Donell


This article examines in detail the development of the long-running serial in the UK, from its beginnings on radio in the 1940s, through the move to television in the mid 1950s and then up to the present day. It pays particular attention to language use throughout this period, focusing on the move from Standard English to a wide range of regional dialects during the four decades when these serials were at the height of their popularity, routinely dominating the television ratings. It then examines the development of long-form serials in languages other than English, firstly Welsh from the mid 1970s on, and then Gaelic intermittently from the early 1990s to the present day, and finally Scots, a highly minoritised Germanic language spoken mostly in the Scottish Lowlands. It compares both the current health and the future prospects of Gaelic and Scots with a particular focus on the challenges faced by both. Additional insights into the particular case of Gaelic are provided via interviews with a number of stakeholders.


Soap opera; minority language; Welsh; Gaelic; Scots

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DOI: 10.6092/issn.2421-454X/8396


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