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A Love Affair With… Soap Operas

 

When you say you enjoy soaps to people, they sometimes turn their noses up at you. But, really, let’s focus on the good things that continuing dramas offer.

 

Unless you were living in a cave last week, or aren’t interested in soaps in the slightest (in which case, why are you reading this?!) you’ll have noticed that the ‘Northern soaps’ i.e. Emmerdale and Coronation Street, both had exciting action-packed weeks.

Seriously, if you’re yet to watch Emmerdale’s #NoReturn week, then go to ITV Hub and have a gander now! It’s nothing short of spectacular!

The stunts looked like something out of a Hollywood movie. The writing was brilliant, the acting was fantastic, and the directing from Duncan Foster was simply beautiful. Last week’s Emmerdale disaster was also branded the most-expensive soap stunt ever. So, kudos to them for showing the rest of the world how it’s done. A 19 car pile-up can’t have been easy to orchestrate, and I’ve heard it only took them 8 or 9 days to film. Last week wasn’t all about Emmerdale though. Here’s a little bit of goss…

The Explosion

Coronation Street had a special stunt week themselves, with David Platt going off the rails while seeking revenge for his wife’s stabbing.

I was lucky enough witness the explosion being filmed about six weeks ago. Purely randomly though. By chance, I was walking along Salford Quays, on my way to a work placement. I was renting an apartment there which overlooked the set. It was about half 9 in the morning, I was minding my own business and then ‘Bang!‘ Needless to say, it really made me jump, but all I could see was a cloud of black smoke emerging from the set and floating up into the sky.

The explosion that just went off at the Coronation Street set as I walked past didn’t half make me jump! 😂 pic.twitter.com/KHSnNu7Vzc

— Katie Brown (@katiee_brown) August 25, 2016

At the time, that’s all I knew. I didn’t even know which particular characters were involved until people got in touch on Twitter to let me know it was David Platt. Until last night’s transmission, I’d no idea that half the cast were present at the time and that the explosion I’d seen took place right outside the Rovers. Or even that Poor Anna Windass was on fire.

So, why do I think soaps are great? Here are a handful of reasons:
Tackling Important Issues

Soaps discuss and confront issues that often go unnoticed by drama series. Let’s look at Ashley’s dementia storyline in Emmerdale. It’s being incredibly well-written, and well-acted by the wonderful John Middleton. The episode that focussed on him on Thursday was nothing short of tragic to watch. It is incredibly sad to watch a much-loved character slowly fade away, and the character’s visible frustration with his condition only adds to the audience’s sadness. Dementia is something that unfortunately affects are large swathe of the population, so it’s only right that soaps highlight such issues. Soaps don’t generally tend to glamourise certain health conditions either, which is incredibly important for an accurate portrayal.

Humour Alongside Pathos

Life is never a walk in the park, and soaps depict that brilliantly. Sometimes, you have to find humour in situations that otherwise wouldn’t be funny. A good example of this is Emmerdale’s second episode this week, with Paddy and Marlon dressing up as a pair of rabbits and singing that rubbish song. (Explaining it simply doesn’t do it justice.) Coronation Street also has a fantastic reputation for having humourous storylines, even if they’re not really prevalent on the show right now.

Realism, with a Touch of Surrealism

So soaps aren’t always totally realistic. How many streets/squares/villages have regular disasters? Plane crash, tram crash, then a massive car pile-up? Not an everyday occurance in a small geographic area, thankfully. You’d have to pretty unlucky to be constantly caught up in such events, but they’ve got to keep their viewing figures up somehow, haven’t they?

So why do some people shun soaps? It is a class thing? Is it a gender-specific thing? Some people don’t see them as a valuable form of escapism or entertainment, and that’s fine. You can’t please all of the people all of the time; but I hope you know how much you missed out last week.

Do you love soaps too? Or can’t you stand them? Let us know in the comments, or on Twitter!

By Katie

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