The Appleyards

The Appleyards

1952 - United Kingdom

Transmitted once a fortnight from 1952 in the Children's Television slot, The Appleyards is generally regarded as Britain's first television soap opera-even if it was made for kids. 

Telling the ups and downs of a suburban Home Counties family, the show, which picked up a number of awards during its 5 year run, was broadcast live on Thursday's around 4.30 to 5.00pm with a repeat performance the following Sunday. Each episode was approximately 20 minutes in length. 

The theme music for the series, 'Looking Around' was played into the studio live off a 78rpm record. 

The family consisted of Mr and Mrs Appleyard and their four children; teenagers Janet and John, and their younger siblings Margaret and Tommy. Interestingly, the younger actors were replaced during the series run in order to maintain a constant age for the children, suggesting that although regarded as an ongoing series, time stood still in 'Appleyard World'. 

Although the series was popular with the viewing public it's title was not to the liking of everyone, especially the then Controller of Programmes, Cecil McGivern, who suggested it sounded like 'suet pudding with a dash of cement.' 

The series ended in 1957 following around 160 broadcasts of what is best described as the trivial ups and downs of a nice suburban family, worlds apart from the dramatic and often traumatic lifestyles that latter day soap characters lead as an obligatory requirement. A Christmas reunion, Christmas With The Appleyards, was made in 1960. 

Published on November 27th, 2018. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.

Read Next...

I Married Joan

Standard US sitcom that tried to reproduce the phenomenal success of I Love Lucy.

Also released in 1952


Airing on the launch night of Channel 4 on 2 November 1982 Brookside changed the face of soap opera in England by tackling realistic and socially challenging storylines.

Also tagged Soap Opera

Annie Oakley

Television's first Western heroine was played by Gail Davis and co-starred Brad Johnson as Deputy Sheriff Lofty Craig and Jimmy Hawkins, as Annie's brother, Tagg.

Also tagged 1950S Television

Arabian Knights

Animated series of stories set round the ancient city of Baghdad which is under the rule of the evil Sultan Bakaar, who has usurped the throne from the rightful inheritance of the young Prince Turham

Also tagged Childrens Television

Billy Bean

Billy Bean and his friend Yoo-Hoo the cuckoo operate a machine, which features such devices as a windmill, a Dorset-Faucet and a cartoonerator which draws magic pictures.

Also tagged Childrens Television

H.R. Pufnstuf

Short lived but lively musical series based on The Wizard Of Oz.

Also tagged Childrens Television

market in honey lane

Created by Louis Marks and beginning on Monday 3rd April 1967, Market In Honey Lane was British TV's first attempt to break Coronation Streets' supremacy as the number one soap opera with an East End version.

Also tagged Soap Opera

Ann and Harold TV series

The first televised episodic series on television, Ann and Harold followed the courtship to the eventual wedding of a society couple.

Also tagged Soap Opera