Today 56 years ago the first episode of Coronation Street was shown on television in the UK. It is the longest running soap opera ever. Strangely enough initially it was not thought to have been a success. Now it is shown in more than forty countries across the globe and there have been 9,049 episodes to date.William Roach (Ken Barlow) is the only character who was in the first episode and is still a main character to date. There have been over 5, 000 characters over the years that have walked the cobbles.It has been the most successful television soap of all time and long may it reign.