For the most part, people from different social, ethnic and age groups in society mingle well in soap. Rich and poor, black and white – it is an arena in which only one thing (for the most part) matters: who is sleeping with whom. If someone breaks out of their group, either to pursue a relationship or to display greater aspirations, they are either abused or sneered at. Eastenders’ Christian and Syed had to overcome huge obstacles from the Masoods when they declared their love; likewise, Coronation Street’s Sophie and Sian, who were initially ostracised by the former’s parents Sally and Kevin.
Sally’s issue has always been snobbery, and the character is never better than when she gets ideas above her station. Having been fired up over the factory, believing that she would be co- owner with Carla, she was quickly disappointed; but this week she threw herself into the Weatherfield in Bloom competition with a display that, as Mary pointed out, would not have looked out of place at Kew Gardens. These moments that display who the person is (as against who they want to be) are the brilliance behind many Street characters. At their best, the other soaps manage it, too. Our aspirations are, after all, what separates us from the animals.