Sofa specialist reveals designs inspired by iconic soap stars

A poll for the sofa company revealed some of the most iconic female soap characters.

Bet Lynch/Gilroy proved popular with sofa lovers.

A nationwide survey has voted Coronation Street pub landlady Bet Lynch the most iconic female soap character ever. The poll of over 2,000 adults, carried out on behalf of the UK’s leading sofa and carpet specialist ScS, looked to discover which women in soap are thought of as being the most iconic. The sofa specialist then imagined what a sofa would look like if it were characterised to represent the iconic looks of the top four.

EastEnders and Coronation Street came out on top, with two soap characters from each soap making it into the top four. However, the race to the top spot saw a divide between the younger and older generations, with those under 35 voting EastEnders‘ Peggy Mitchell the most iconic, compared to those over 35 years old who agreed with the nation overall, picking Granada Television’s Corrie legend Bet Lynch as their number one.

Bet, played by Julie Goodyear, joined Coronation Street as a regular in 1970, having made a brief appearance back in 1966. Bet became the glamorous barmaid in the Rovers Return working alongside landlady Annie Walker (Doris Speed) and Betty Turpin (Betty Driver). In the mid-1980s she first became manager of the Rovers, before with the help of future husband Alec Gilroy (Roy Barraclough) buying the tenancy and became landlady. In 1995, however, Bet decided to bid farewell to Weatherfield, and apart from a brief return in the early 2000s, hasn’t been seen since.

Bet Gilroy with hubby Alec, the pair can be currently seen on ITV3’s repeat run of Classic Coronation Street

The BBC News site previously embarked on a mission to discover who was the nation’s favourite soap opera matriarch with another Coronation Street legend topping that poll. Liz Dawn’s portrayal of Vera Duckworth proved a hit with the beeb site visitors while others listed included Pauline Fowler (Wendy Richard) from EastEnders and Annie Sugden (Sheila Mercier) from Emmerdale Farm.

The BBC News poll also lists the late Noele Gordon in 4th place for her role as Meg Mortimer in Crossroads. During the sixties and seventies Noele won more television soap awards than any other UK performer; placing her from 1966 to 1981 as the most popular female serial actress in the country.

However, as the polls both prove, popularity at the time doesn’t always make for longevity in the minds of the British public. Surprisingly Hilda Ogden (Jean Alexander) is missing from the top end of both polls. Hilda, of Corrie fame, is often the list topper in soap votes when viewers are asked to note their favourite female character.

We’ve put the SCS and BBC News soap queens polls together below. Above the SCS video shows the sofas created reflecting the styles of Bet, Dot, Peggy and Deidre.

Hilda Ogden is absent from the list.

SCS Top four most popular soap icons:

  1. Bet Lynch, Coronation Street
  2. Peggy Mitchell, EastEnders
  3. Dot Branning (Cotton), EastEnders
  4. Deidre Barlow, Coronation Street

BBC News Top 7 Great British soap matriarchs

  1. Vera Duckworth, Coronation Street, (31.42%)
  2. Ena Sharples, Coronation Street, (26.05%)
  3. Pat Evans, EastEnders, (13.18%)
  4. Meg Mortimer, Crossroads, (10.71%)
  5. Annie Walker, Coronation Street, (9.65%)
  6. Pauline Fowler, EastEnders, (6.23%)
  7. Annie Sugden, Emmerdale Farm, (2.77%)

Crossroads Motel owner Meg Mortimer made the BBC News poll

As part of the research, ScS has revealed four sofa icons styled with inspiration from the characters and are asking their customers to vote for their favourite design on Facebook. You can see the various tribute styled sofas to the stars on the page and make a choice which is your favourite.

Other soap females that ranked highly in the SCS poll included EastEnders’ Pat Butcher/Evans and Coronation Street’s Rita Littlewood/Fairclough/Sulivan/Tanner. The top 10 was dominated by EastEnders and Coronation Street apart from Emmerdale’s Lisa Dingle, who was the only character from a different soap.

“We know people love their soaps and over the years we have been treated to many iconic sofa moments in soapland. Our poll has voted stars of Coronation Street and EastEnders as the most iconic and memorable in terms of style, which we have turned into would-be sofa designs inspired by their character. Here at ScS, we are all big fans of watching soaps on the sofa and this year, 100 years of the suffragette, is the perfect time to celebrate some of our favourite female characters. We hope people enjoy our take on how the sofas of these characters could look and we’d encourage everyone to get involved and vote for their favourite on Facebook.” – Vicki Burns, Communications Executive at ScS

Emmerdale Farm’s Annie Sugden made the BBC News poll, but a later Emmerdale village resident, Lisa Dingle, made the SCS version
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