TV & Films

The Best Celeb Cameos In British Soap History

Over the years, British soaps have played host to royalty, politicians, pop stars... and, most memorably, the Curtis brothers.

Cheryl Cole on 'Coronation Street'
ITV
Updated: 
Originally Published: 

Ru Pauls Drag Race UK Season One winner The Vivienne is set to hit the Yorkshire village of Emmerdale at the end of June this year. The drag star joins a long line of hilarious, random, and downright awkward celebrity cameos to happen over the years on Britain’s beloved soaps.

The Vivienne will make an appearance on Emmerdale for this year’s Pride. As Digital Spy, reports, the northern drag queen has said of her upcoming cameo, “I am so happy that I will be part of Emmerdale's first-ever Pride. My role is to officially open the event on the stage! It's great for Emmerdale to be doing this and I'm delighted to be part of it ... We're making that little bit of history for all the gays and the LGBTQ+ community and it's just an absolute honour.”

Producer of Emmerdale Kate Brooks said, “We're absolutely thrilled to welcome The Vivienne to Emmerdale to help our villagers celebrate this year's Pride event in style.”

From Hollyoaks to Coronation Street, over the years we’ve seen British soaps play host to royalty, politicians, pop stars, and radio DJs. So let’s take a trip down memory lane and look at eight other legendary cameos to get you in the mood for The Vivienne’s Emmerdale debut.

AJ and Curtis, Hollyoaks

Channel 4

Where better to start than with the most recent – and, let’s face it, most horrifying – cameo? Ballroom dancing brothers AJ and Curtis, known for their appearances on Strictly and Love Island, step-ball-changed their way into Hollyoaks this year to play the conniving Marco and Jacob, plotting against old dance rival Trish Minniver (played by Denise Walsh). Their performance went viral for all the wrong reasons.

Nick Grimshaw, All of them

BBC Radio 1 regular Nick Grimshaw might have actually done the most soap cameos out of any other celeb. As a part of his #soapbombing mission in 2013, the presenter visited the fictional suburbs of Hollyoaks, Summar Bay, Albert Square, Emmerdale, and Coronation Street.

Boris Johnson, Eastenders

In 2009, Boris Johnson, who was Mayor of London at the time, made a visit to the square. After puncturing a tire in his bike (what else?), he gets chatting with Landlady Peggy Mitchell. Who would of thought his next leading role would be running the country?

Prince Charles & Camilla, Coronation Street

Prince Charlies made an appearance as himself for Coronation Street’s 40th Anniversary back in December 2000. He met with Sue Nicholls, who played Audrey Roberts on the soap, and Denise Walsh, aka Natalie Barnes. Then, 10 years later, the Duchess of Cornwall pulled a pint in the Rovers Return to celebrate the soaps’ 50th year.

Lily Allen, Neighbours

OK, not technically British, but a soap we Brits cannot get enough of. In probably one of the strangest ways to promote your new single, a bright-eyed Lily Allen, went on Australian soap Neighbours to sing “22” back in 2009. Asking the bemused Karl Kennedy, “does your wife know you listen to my music?”

Cheryl, Coronation Street

Former Girls Aloud member went on Coronation Street back in December 2013 in aid of Text Santa. It wasn’t technically on the soap, but she still made it to the pub.

Lee Ryan, Eastenders

Although not technically a cameo, Lee Ryan certainly deserves a mention in this list. It’s actually pretty common for pop stars to become regulars on soaps after their singing days are over. From Spandau Ballet’s Martin Kemp to Martine McCutcheon in Eastenders and Shane Ward in Coronation Street. Blue’s Lee Ryan became a regular on Albert Square in 2017, playing Woody Woodward until 2018.

Dani Dyer, Eastenders

BBC

It was bound to happen: the Dyer father and daughter duo sharing the soap screen. On June 15, 2021 it came to be when the Love Island star Dani joined the Eastenders’ cast as a heavily pregnant cab driver named Jeanette. In the episode, Jeanette goes into labour, only to be rescued by Mick Carter, who rushes her to hospital. A one-off appearance, but a a dramatic one at that. In real life, the 24-year-old welcomed her first son, Santiago or “Santi”, in January.