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Title sequences have a few various functions (such as attracting the audience), with many different ways of fulfilling these functions (such as the music used during the titles). These functions will be discussed in this essay. There are some general functions that would relate to most of the soap operas, which have been made. The most obvious function of the opening titles is to attract the audience’s attention back towards the television.
This is because the attention of the audience will have most likely been distracted during the ‘break’ between the programme shown before the soap opera and the soap opera in question. Thus, using loud music and/or flashing, bright images, regains the attention of the audience once more. This is shown in the opening titles of the soap opera ‘Brookside’, where the loud music, which is a simple, repetitive melody, attracts the audience’s ear, and the split screen images attract the audience’s eye.
Another function that could be related to most soap operas is that the title tells the audience where it is set, through the use of images. This is clearly apparent in the ‘Eastenders’, as a map of East London is used as the main image, thus it is obvious that the programme must be connected to East London. This is also shown with ‘Brookside’, where various landmarks (such as the River Mersey) and institutions (such as Liverpool Football Club) are shown in the different split screen shots. One more general function is that the titles will inform the audience of the name of the soap opera.
With programmes such as ‘Eastenders’, ‘Coronation Street’ and ‘Emmerdale’, the programme name will appear at the end of the titles, just before going into the first scene. However, with soaps such as ‘Brookside’, the name stays on the screen throughout the opening titles, thus meaning that there will be no question of what the programme is called. There are also some more functions; however, these are more specific to the programme that they are related to. For example, one of these specific functions of the opening titles would be to advertise the sponsors.
This is done on mainly commercial channels such as ITV. ‘Coronation Street’ displays this with its sponsor (Cadbury’s) advertising just before the soap’s actual opening titles. The advertisement actually links in with the programme as its opening titles mirror that of the soap, as does the music, and the slogan ‘The Nation’s Favourite’ is used. This links in with the soap, as ‘Coronation Street’ is considered to be ‘The Nation’s Favourite’. Another specific function of the opening titles of soap operas is that it tells the audience who is who in the programme.
This is shown in ‘Dallas’ where split screen shots are used with various shots of each character, and the character’s name beneath the image. This is also shown in ‘Neighbours’ where various characters are shown in a series of action shots, with each of the character’s name beneath them. A final specific function is where there is a daily recap of the previous episode’s ‘cliff-hangers’, thus enabling the audience to remember what has happened the last time they saw the soap. This is shown in ‘Neighbours’, where the credit sequence is split by this ‘daily recap’.