Coronation Street Romance

Using DBpedia to explore the mess of coronation street romance.

Wikipedia has a huge amount of information to mine but the data is not structured in a way that makes it easy to retrieve answers to specific questions. For example you may want to find out about all the characters Coronation Street and whom they have married to run some network analysis over it. It would take a long a time to sift through all the Coronation Street characters wiki pages and manually extract marriage data on each of these.  While you were going through these pages you may notice that each one has a handy little cheat sheet that makes extracting the information that little bit easier.

DBpedia is a database containing this structured data, because it is structured we can ask the database complex questions; questions such as who has married who in corination street. To do this you need to head over to the dbpedia endpoint and ask it something like this.

SELECT DISTINCT ?husband ?c  ?wife WHERE{

     ?husband ?c category:Coronation_Street_characters .

     ?husband dbpprop:wife ?wife



 LIMIT 1000


I got a dataset back that needed some tidying  but a few minutes in google refine and I had something that looked like this:


So next I wanted to visualise the relationships between the characters,  I used the export function to get the file in a format Gephi would play nice with. After a few minutes playing with the data I got something visualbut I have to say I’m a little disappointed. You can see who’s had a few marriages because they appear as big nodes on the graph, but it shows that apart from a few people having quite a lot of wifes or husbands there isn’t actually there isn’t much gossip. What would be interesting would be if I could get information out of dbpedia reguarding who has been cheating with who, but unfortunately that information isn’t structured in Wikipedia. Oh well, best move on to something else. Oh well, here’s a graph in case you are interested. The bigger the node the more times they’ve been married. Looks like Fred Elliot was killing off all his wifes.


Some errors:

  • Sometimes characters have been picked up twice with married and maiden names
  • Minor characters haven’t been picked up.