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Have British soaps become staid and comfortable?

Discussion in 'UK Soaps Forum' started by ArchieLucasCarringtonEwing1989, Oct 4, 2017.

  1. ArchieLucasCarringtonEwing1989

    ArchieLucasCarringtonEwing1989 Soap Chat Addict

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    I've been watching all the soaps recently, and I can honestly say that I do not know what's happening to them, Hollyoaks is the only one worth watching (and that's considered to being the worst soap)

    All the big 3 soaps are dragging out storylines without making them entertaining, focusing on just a small handful of characters (ahem RobRon) and the formula is being constantly on repeat cycle.

    December 1993 was the time soaps changed forever thanks to the
    Emmerdale Air Crash storyline, it shook up the soaps in the UK.

    Do soaps today need another shake up in style? In an age where streaming shows are becoming the norm and increasingly popular, is it possible that the next soap could air on Netflix?
     
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  2. Omg

    Omg Admin

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    The biggest problem and the reason I believe the soaps are in a poor state is down to how many episodes they are producing each week. It's beyond ridiculous and stinks of them trying too hard. There's so much to that old saying "less is more" and yet here we are.

    I find the same with the big US shows that throw out 20-24 episodes a season. Over the past five years, I've noticed that shows are at their best when they come out with 10/13 episodes a season.

    From my perspective, I think Corrie latch on to what they see as their biggest characters and focus heavily on them until they reach a point where I'm sick of seeing them. Becky, Carla, Tina, Michelle all became fan-favourites and so we had them featured in many big story-lines. The same can be said for Aaron & Robert in Emmerdale.

    We know that ITV & BBC can produce some brilliant drama with shows like THREE GIRLS, MOORSIDE, LITTLE BOY BLUE, TRUST ME, LUTHER, LINE OF DUTY, yet they seem to treat their 'flagship' shows with little to no respect.
     
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  3. Sarah

    Sarah Super Moderator Staff Member Original Member Since 1998

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    I'm really interested to see how much longer they can all go on for. They have become such institutions that it's hard to imagine they will end. I don't watch Emmerdale and gave up on EastEnders a long time ago. When I was a kid my Granny watched Emmerdale and it was about a farm - it's title was Emmerdale Farm - but it's become ridiculously sexualised and is so far removed from what it was originally about.

    EastEnders is the most depressing thing I've ever seen in my life - I have no idea how it lasts or wins so many awards. I gave up on it years ago. How so many people can be that unhappy in one place at one time and always have a Christmas tragedy....aaaaaaaaaaaaaah, it's maddening.

    I love Corrie but agree with what Ome is saying about churning out too many episodes. Less is more is correct.
     
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  4. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    When the Emmerdale plane crash happened it got attention because it was so out of the ordinary. Disasters, explosions, serial killers, kidnapping, hostage-taking, gaslighting or whatever won't shake things up much because they're now just a regular part of the landscape. I'd find it exhausting to watch the soaps regularly today.

    Back in the latter half of the Eighties I recall reading a magazine or newspaper interview with a Corrie producer who felt EastEnders wouldn't last because they'd already done everything. Overdone everything, they added. And they went on to criticise the faster pace, saying they didn't believe people lived their lives in such a constant state of high drama.

    Flash forward a couple of decades and every British soap has bought into that energy and pace to a lesser or greater degree.

    Events aren't the solution, in my opinion. They're actually part of problem and the frequency with which they now happen is a reason I find British soaps far less attractive today than they were thirty years ago.

    The bravest thing one of the soaps could do today would be to slow the pace right down, focus on quality over output and have a period where events take a back seat to the characters getting on with the fascinating business of being prosaic. To really become staid and comfortable. But I can't see that happening.



    This too.



    This sums it up and holds true on every level.
     
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  5. Sarah

    Sarah Super Moderator Staff Member Original Member Since 1998

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    I think that's it too @Mel O’Drama - UK soaps can't really pull off high drama (I don't think) the way like Dallas could...exploding helicopters, disaster rail crashes, buses falling on top of people - it just doesn't work in the way it does on American TV... I don't think anyway..
     
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  6. Karin Schill

    Karin Schill Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I think you definitely have a point here. I mean there's always been a significant difference between the prime time soaps and the daytime soaps to me.

    When I was a teenager I tried to watch British Soap opera "Coronation Street" but I gave up after only a few weeks as the plots were so boring. I think there was a big plot about a missing cat. :lolo:

    So well to me the British soaps were too everyday to keep my attention. I preferred the US Primetime soaps of the 80's like Dallas, Dynasty, Knots Landing etc.
    I still prefer to watch shows every day. But I tend to re-watch old primetime shows on DVD rather than watching daytime soaps.

    I am not trying to put daytime soaps down. I do realize that they keep a lot of actors employed and I prefer them to most of the reality shows out there. It's all just a matter of preferences I guess.
     
  7. ArchieLucasCarringtonEwing1989

    ArchieLucasCarringtonEwing1989 Soap Chat Addict

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    Another problem I have with soaps now is the endless casting of has-been 90s & 00s pop stars, instead of real actors, stunt casting has become another issue in itself.

    What I meant by The 1993/94 New Years Emmerdale air crash was that it paved the way for soaps in the UK to do those sort of bigger storylines.

    6 episodes a week is also too much, they should cut back down to 3/4 episodes, its burn out now, I do wonder if soaps will even make it through the 2020s at this rate?
    With Corrie & EE becoming 60 & 35 in 2020, Emmerdale becoming 50 in 2022, I think they'll have to be brave and clear house, cut the episodes back and stop stunt casting.
     
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  8. ArchieLucasCarringtonEwing1989

    ArchieLucasCarringtonEwing1989 Soap Chat Addict

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    Yes Emmerdale has become overly sexualised, especially for a teatime soap, however back in 1989 when it was revamped, it was understandable, by then there were less Sugden type farming families and more wealthy Tate type families dominating the Yorkshire landscape, realistically, the younger Sugden's at the time (Jackie, Sandie, Rachel and Mark) were moving to the cities particularly the South.

    EastEnders has moments of genius a a glut of years are excellent, the first 9/10 years for me are classic EE, the mid 2000s was another great era for the show, but now I'm completely turned off by it.
     
  9. Sarah

    Sarah Super Moderator Staff Member Original Member Since 1998

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    Oi you! Missing cats are nothing to be scoffed at!!!! :innocent:

    I only watched Hollyoaks because of Linda. I don't approve of their casting process (aside from her of course) and it's too shiny and teenager based for me. Apart from when she's in it ;)
     
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  10. Angela Channing

    Angela Channing Soap Chat Hero

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    I don't often watch UK soaps because I normally find them tedious and get bored with them really quickly. I do tune in when there is a big storyline and often I am disappointed. Recently EastEnders had an explosion, a shooting and an ambulance all in quick succession which just stretched credibility to the limit and I ended up not caring who lived or died.

    Emmerdale on the other hand really knows how to play out big dramatic storylines very well, it's just the run of the mill storylines inbetween that I find tiresome. Coronation Street bores me witless these days and I find it a struggle to get through a single episode.
     
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  11. ArchieLucasCarringtonEwing1989

    ArchieLucasCarringtonEwing1989 Soap Chat Addict

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    Nothing wrong in a teen based soap, America's had them for years, Hollyoaks is actually one soap I can watch at the moment, its like a modern Crossroads but with a higher budget, it doesn't take itself seriously (Loved the Linda Gray casting myself)

    I find alot of Emmerdale's stunts all very pretentious "look at us we did our latest stunt at Pinewood" *eyeroll* Coronation Street has become the Kym Marsh show long ago, I'm probably most disappointed in EastEnders, it looked like it was on the onset of another golden era last year.
     
  12. Adamski

    Adamski Soap Chat Member

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    The increase in episodes is killing the British soaps, in my view. It's too daunting a prospect for the casual viewer to just dip in and out of, when there are so many other distractions out there competing for their free time.
     
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  13. ArchieLucasCarringtonEwing1989

    ArchieLucasCarringtonEwing1989 Soap Chat Addict

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    Precisely, Netflix and Amazon Prime are offering so much more now, even terrestrial dramas such as DR FOSTER, ELECTRIC DREAMS, etc provide much more entertainment now, DR FOSTER is once a week and before this series aired, it had been two years since the last episode.

    Soaps now have two things on their minds:

    1: Stunt casting ie which former Pop Idol/X Factor star from the 90s & 00s, this is rather disheartening for aspiring actors/actresses who spend years in drama schools only for them to be competing with has-beens, whose fame was wound up ling before Tony Blair stepped down from being prime minister.

    2: Its now quantity over quality, extra episodes don't necessarily mean storylines will get better, it just drags them.out even more, CROSSROADS in its heyday had to cut down from 4 episodes to three a week to maintain quality, when was the last time soaps were 4 days a week? Heck three would be better, I wouldn't mind but its not as if viewers are watching soaps in their droves, the days of 30 million viewers are long gone.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2017
  14. Walford Boy

    Walford Boy Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    Hated the Plane disaster in Emmerdale, imo that was when Emmerdale went from being a UK Soap to a US Style soap. Emmersty or as it is known Dallas in Wellies.

    I may be in a miniroty of one, but i like my soaps to be normal, every day, mundane. I like pot burners with a surprise/reveal at the end. I dislike stunts.

    The only soaps I religiously watch now are EastEnders and sometimes Corrie, they are far from perfect but I get on best with these soaps.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2017
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  15. Omg

    Omg Admin

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    I don't think this is really anything to do with the problem today. How many channels were there when soaps were getting 30 million viewers?

    I'm not familiar with ex-stars of talent shows, all I know is Kym Marsh & Shayne Ward and with that info, I can't see how it's a part of the problem. Though do correct me if there are much more in the soaps that I don't know.

    On the subject of 'stunt casting' is this any different to Barabara Windsor, Danny Dyer / Stephanie Beacham, Rula Lenska / Lorraine Chase, Maxwell Caulfield / Linda Gray, Helen Lederer ?

    Also, why is it wrong for a singer to become an actor? I've never understood this argument.


    Can someone who has spent 25 years in accounting, not build an extension on his property because there are 100s of builders out there who need the work?
     
  16. ArchieLucasCarringtonEwing1989

    ArchieLucasCarringtonEwing1989 Soap Chat Addict

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    With everything that's going on with soaps these days I can't help but agree with you @Walford Boy, I liked it in the 90s and 00s when stunts and disasters were spread out apart from one another but now it seems to be a constant barrage of them.

    Maybe its just a weird phase the soaps are going through at the moment, I hope.
     
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  17. pete lashmar

    pete lashmar Soap Chat Fan

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    Ratings are far lower than they were years ago for all UK soaps, but they still dominate the Top 40 shows per week, so dropping episodes just won't happen, but it should. They're far cheaper to make than other shows due to standing sets & regular casts. If they put EastEnders. Corrie & Emmerdale on twice a week with 1 hour episodes ratings would probably increase - but what would fill their old slots...probably new reality TV shows & consumer programmes which would get far fewer viewers than the soaps. It's all about ratings & cost effectiveness nowadays and TV execs just don't have the money to create & produce new TV comedy & drama to fill the soap slots year round.
     
  18. Carrie Fairchild

    Carrie Fairchild Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    The number of episodes, especially from the ITV soaps, is one of the main issues but I also think a lot of the shows have been going around in circles for years. Storyline wise, everything has been covered. Nothing is new anymore, it's just the same merry go round of affairs, murders and "Who's the Daddy?" plots, just with interchangeable characters.

    And in terms of them covering real life issues, some of them have been so disconnected from reality for so long that when they do try and cover something current, it just feels shoehorned in. Like the recent storyline arc on EE where Denise was suddenly skint and eating out of bins and going down the food bank. They just don't do social issue plots well anymore because they're so caught up in resurrecting dead characters and explosive stunts.
     
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  19. ArchieLucasCarringtonEwing1989

    ArchieLucasCarringtonEwing1989 Soap Chat Addict

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    And also about Denise is that bombshell her mother left The Fox sisters was that they weren't really sister's??? Has this been followed up yet?? Or is EE now to focused on Max's revenge plot?
     
  20. Carrie Fairchild

    Carrie Fairchild Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure as I rarely watch it these days. I used to love the show but it just feels very uneven in recent years. It seems to be in a constant flux of harking back to the past and then going nowhere with whatever revelation has been unearthed. The Denise & Kim plot being one point. Kathy's also a prime example of this. There was such a build up to her being reunited with her sons and then they give her a lazy affair storyline and stick her in the cafe for two years. Only now is she getting a decent plot and again, it's based on the show's past glories.

    I think a big problem is also the hesitance to evolve. Emmerdale has reinvented itself over the years but both EastEnders and Corrie are based on outdated notions of close knit city communities that are rare in this day and age. Had they evolved a bit over the years, to reflect the changes in the areas that they're based in, they wouldn't feel as staid. Instead, it always feels like EE is trying to relive past glories of the 80's and 90's.
     
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