Soap Operas

Posted: August 3, 2015 in British Television
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You rarely see any soap and I have yet to see a fat lady singing but I have to admit that, although I list soap operas under my dislikes, I have actually watched them a few times. What puts me off is that the reality they try to depict is actually what makes them so unreal.

Using examples from Eastenders and Coronation Street, which are Britain’s two most popular and successful soaps let me try and explain what I mean.

If these two are the most popular soaps in the UK, how come nobody in either of the two soaps watches them? Characters in Eastenders could watch Coronation Street and vice versa. Seeing Denis and Rita snuggle up on the sofa watching Coronation Street would be too unreal or too surreal, one or the other, but watching each others soap would work.

The problem here is that ITV would have to admit to the existence of the BBC, and again, vice versa. This is akin to the world’s most diehard atheist suddenly finding God. So this is one reality that is unlikely to happen.

They only read the local newspapers. I may be wrong, but I don’t remember seeing the Sun, the Daily Star or the Daily Mirror in these programmes. Again, among the working classes, these are the most popular papers in the UK. Ken Barlow doesn’t even read the Times or the Telegraph! Another unreality I don’t expect to see corrected any day soon.

Apart from in the pub, nobody goes to the toilet. It’s as if a race of people has been discovered who only need the loo when they drink in a bar.

The death rate is shocking. The amount of murders and fatal accidents is remarkably unreal when you consider that this all happens in one street or in one square, depending upon your soap of choice. At least in Midsomer Murders everything happens in a village. (I think they are all dead now as even John Nettles has gone!).

There is usually a token black person or two nowadays to comply with the absolutely absurd “political correctness”. In my experience, black families tend not to live in white neighbourhoods and the same applies in reverse.

One of my favourite “unrealities” is that nobody swears. Here we are in this working class environment, either in London with thick Cockney accents or in Manchester with thick Mancunian accents and none of the builders swear, nobody in the pub swears, in fact nobody at all swears. I’m pretty sure this won’t be changing either.

For the majority of people who watch them, soap operas are great viewing and there’s nothing wrong with a bit of light entertainment. They are simple, easy to get into, easy to understand and easy to get out of, nothing too complicated. Let’s face it, after a hard day at work, the last thing you need is a thought provoking documentary on the benefits of learning differential calculus at school. (there aren’t any, by the way). Half an hour per episode, two or three times per week and that’s yer lot till next week. Easy.

It’s only when you look at the stars of these soap operas that you begin to see what I mean about the unrealities.

They spend their week filming OUR realities, not theirs. They pretend to be US for a short while each week then they return to THEIR realities which are a long way removed from ours. This is the height of hypocrisy.

As long as this is the case soap operas will never feature in my top 100 programmes to watch.

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