Originally the set was based on real-life streets like Coronation Street near Manchester and as the longest running TV soap ever, remains as strong and amazingly addictive as it was back in the 60's.
The resident's lives are filled with enough drama and turmoil to fill any normal resident's lifetime! But as with EastEnders the soap remains very much character-led and will only address bigger issues if it feels the need to move a character onwards.
One merit factor of the soap is that a large number of the cast are long running characters who have lived there for long periods of time. This reflects the fact that long term residents of streets such as Coronation Street do really exist!
However the soap would not exist without one major factor - common-as-muck, down-to-earth, brassy dominant women. Look at Elsie Tanner, Bet Lynch, Vera Duckworth, Hilda Ogden and now the latest contenders, Deidre Barlow, Janice Battersby, Karen McDonald and to a lesser extent Sally Webster.