A soap opera is a view of life in the real world but played by actors. A soap opera can deal with real life situations and also which are happening at the moment. The producers do this to make us relate to each of the issues in the soap opera. The actual name, soap opera, came from the first ever soap opera, on radio, which was sponsored by a company called ‘ Lever brothers. ‘ This company was a maker of cleaning products, hence the name SOAP operas.
Some of the other main TV programmes are, ” The Weakest Link,” and ” The Royle Family.
” I think the majority of the audience like the weakest link because the presenter Anne Robinson is mean with the contestants. I think the majority of Royle Family’s audience like the show so much because they can pick certain characters out of the programme and they can see one of their family or close friends or somebody they know as that character.
The Royle Family is a very typical family and everybody can relate to the programme in one way or another.
My understanding of the genre as opposed to others such as sitcom is that sitcoms, like friends, have a strong comical element involved, where as Coronation Street focuses on real life situations and views in a more serious way. Coronation Street has been on our television screens for over forty years now. Since it was first scened forty years ago, Coronation Street is the only TV programme to gain cult status and successfully combine it with on going popularity.
It has always been popular, being in the top three soap rating and holding the number one slot longer than any other show, with viewing figures averaging over 18 million, and it has kept its prime time spot for forty years. So what gives the programme an enduring edge over shows, which have eventually ended up forgotten and left behind? Familiar themes that everyone can relate to, themes that have reoccurred within the great classics to the street, love, passion, deception, greed, intrigue and humour. From drama documentary to high-level comedy, Coronation Street has it all.
The street has something for everyone, its unique formula has not only given the programme its heritage, and it also means that it works worldwide. Coronation Street is a household name around the globe, from New Zealand to Norway, from Sierra Leone to Sri Lanka. Coronation Street was the brainchild of writer Tony Warren, who produced the first episode with the working title, ‘Florizel Street. ‘ It was transmitted live. A year later, the programme was networked throughout the United Kingdom and topped the ratings.
Soaps often have a range of characters that are remarkably similar. These stereotypes are useful for developing story lines and they are easily recognised by the audience. Take Coronation Street and Eastenders for instance, they both have a boss. The boss is usually male, usually wealthy and arrogant. His story lines can focus on how he is unfair to the people who work for him and money is more important than friends. In Coronation Street Mike Baldwin takes this role and in Eastenders Ian Beale used to take this role but he went bankrupt so now Phil Mitchell has taken that role.
The next stereotype is the attractive young female, the purpose of her is to build a new male audience and for the feminine viewers to have a role model. She is often single, independent, strong principles and has an outspoken manner. She also offers potential for romance. In coronation street I think Toyah Battersby takes this role and for Eastenders Melanie Beale. On the other hand you have the attractive young male, he is used for the purpose of the feminine audience, he is used for romance and he is also trying to be independent. He is also very outspoken. In coronation street Tyrone takes this role and Jamie Mitchell for Eastenders.
Another stereotype would be the wheeler-dealer, this is frequently a young male, he is normally ready to take advantage of any situation. He is quite often charming, often interesting for the audience to watch because of his ability to make trouble for the others. In Coronation Street I think we will all agree that it is Steve McDonald because he was always up to mischief. In Eastenders Phil Mitchell is that stereotype. The next stereotype would be the responsible professional; this can be male or female, usually educated, intelligent, often consulted by others for advice.
This stereotype is liked by and respected by all the other characters but they are often boring for the audience to watch. In coronation street there is a male and female responsible professional, there is Ken Barlow, who has been in the programme from episode one, and there is Rita Sullivan. In Eastenders I would say Roy Evans would take this role. Next would be the Grandmother, elderly woman, always on hand to give advice whether it is wanted or not. Others often regard her as a busy body. In coronation street Blanche takes this role perfectly, and Peggy Mitchell in Eastenders.
There is also the young couple and the older couple. The young couple struggle to make ends meet, where as the older couple are more settled, wealthier, also normally have a growing up family. In coronation street I think the young couple would be Tyrone and Maria and the older couple would be Maxine and Ashley. In Eastenders the young couple would be Sonia Jackson and Jamie Mitchell and the older couple would be Pat and Roy Evans. Another stereotype would be the strong woman. She is normally independent, experienced and self-confident.
In Eastenders this would be Peggy Mitchell and in Coronation Street this would be Rita Sullivan. There is also the awkward oldie and the troubled teenager. The awkward oldie has an opinion and something to say about everything. The troubled teenager, the audience tends to like to watch them grow up. In coronation street the awkward oldie would be Blanche and Norris. In Eastenders Dot Cotton would take this role. In coronation street the troubled teenager would be Sarah-Lou and in Eastenders it would be Sonia Jackson. I think this because they have both have just had babies and are both having problems with there love lives.