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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 August, 2003, 10:33 GMT 11:33 UK
Soaps join TV classics list
Zoe and Kat Slater - Michelle Ryan and Jessie Wallace
Kat Slater (Jessie Wallace) appeared in a tense EastEnders scene
Episodes from soap operas EastEnders and Coronation Street have made it onto a list compiled by the Radio Times of the 40 greatest TV programmes ever made.

The line-up also includes classic comedies, drama and documentaries, including groundbreaking 1966 drama Cathy Come Home, and David Attenborough's 1979 documentary Life On Earth.

Other more recent shows include Ricky Gervais' hit comedy The Office and Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights, as well as the dark humour of The League of Gentlemen.

Click here to see the list in full

EastEnders was featured for its week of episodes in 2001 which saw Zoe Slater, played by Michelle Ryan, discover her elder sister Kat was, in fact, her mother, after she had been sexually abused by her uncle.

Which is the greatest TV show?
Boys From the Blackstuff
Cathy Come Home
Coronation Street
Fawlty Towers
Life On Earth
Monty Python
The Office
The Simpsons
4229 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion
Radio Times TV editor Alison Graham, who drew up the list, said it was an example of how soaps could "break down their boundaries and soar into new territory".

"This happened in one memorable week when the previously tiresomely boisterous Slater family revealed their dark underbelly," she said.

A moving scene from Coronation Street - "a part of the TV landscape unlike any other programme has been or will be" - screened nearly two decades ago is also singled out.

It featured recently-widowed Hilda Ogden, played by Jean Alexander, returning from her husband Stan's funeral and crying over his spectacles, which had been left behind at home.

Stan and Hilda Ogden - Bernard Youens and Jean Alexander
Stan and Hilda: The aftermath of Stan's funeral moved millions
The episode was shot after the death in 1984 of the actor who had played Stan for 20 years, Bernard Youens.

First in the alphabetical list is Abigail's Party, the 1977 Mike Leigh comedy which made a star of his former wife Alison Steadman.

9/11 documentary

Comedies included on the list also include Fawlty Towers, Monty Python's Flying Circus, The Morecambe and Wise Show, Porridge, Steptoe and Son and Till Death Us Do Part.

Dramas include thriller Edge of Darkness and Alan Bennett's Talking Heads series of monologues.

A number of US shows feature as well, including ER, Hill Street Blues, The Simpsons, Seinfeld and The Larry Sanders Show.

The most recent programme on the list is directors James Hanlon and Gedeon Naudet's documentary on the terrorist attacks on New York, 9/11.

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Here is the list in full, in alphabetical order:

  • Abigail's Party (1977)
  • The Ascent Of Man (1973)
  • Blackadder Goes Forth (1989)
  • Boys From The Blackstuff (1982)
  • Cathy Come Home (1966)
  • Caught On A Train (1980)
  • Civilisation (1969)
  • Coronation Street (began 1960)
  • Dad's Army (1968)
  • Edge Of Darkness (1985)
  • EastEnders (began 1985)
  • ER (1995)
  • Fawlty Towers (1975)
  • Frasier (1994)
  • Hancock's Half Hour (1956)
  • Hill Street Blues (1981)
  • I'm Alan Partridge (1997)
  • The Larry Sanders Show (1993)
  • The League Of Gentlemen (1999)
  • Life On Earth (1979)
  • M*A*S*H (1973)
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus (1969)
  • The Morecambe And Wise Show (1961)
  • 9/11 (2002)
  • Not Only ... But Also (1965)
  • The Office (2001)
  • Our Friends In The North (1996)
  • Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights (2001)
  • Police (1982)
  • Porridge (1973)
  • Pride And Prejudice (1995)
  • Seinfeld (1993)
  • The Simpsons (1990)
  • The Singing Detective (1986)
  • Steptoe And Son (1962)
  • The Sweeney (1975)
  • Talking Heads (1988)
  • Till Death Us Do Part (1966)
  • Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads? (1973)
  • Z Cars (1962)

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