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What is a soap Opera? Essay

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The history of soap soap opera n serial drama: a serial on television or radio that deals with the lives of a group of characters, especially in a melodramatic or sentimental way [Soap from the fact that they were originally often sponsored by soap manufacturing companies] Radio Serials during the 1920s and 1930s, radio listeners could turn on their radios and hear action-packed adventure dramas complete with sound effects.

Whole families gathered around the radio every day at a given time to listen to the next episode of their favourite radio adventure story, such as “The Shadow Expand Soap opera grew out of American commercial radio in the late 1920s, when all the smaller stations were being hooked up to make two large, rival national networks, the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) and the Columbia Broadcasting System (now CBS). Once all Americans were able to hear the same programmes, advertisers began searching for the series that would be most effective at selling their products.

Hugely popular were the daily 15-minute romantic dramas about people with whom listeners, mostly women at home, identified. They were sponsored by the big soap firms (Procter and Gamble, Lever Brothers, and Colgate-Palmolive) and so the mildly derogatory name “soap opera” was coined: “soap” for the products advertised, “opera” referring to the larger-than-life, libretto-like plots. British soap operas have never actually been used to increase the sales of soap powder, although the form was copied from the American models.

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The BBC series Front Line Family, the story of the Robinson family’s attempts at surviving the London Blitz, was broadcast as propaganda on radio from 1942 and was the first British soap opera. It was followed by Mrs Dale’s Diary and The Archers-the latter is still a favourite with listeners to BBC Radio 4. To television in the 1950s came a family saga, The Grove Family, then a hospital soap, Emergency! Ward Ten, both of which were highly popular and catered to insatiable tastes for stories about inter-generational strife and “back-from-the-brink” hospital medicine.

The tradition of depicting working-class life, with an element of comedy, began with Coronation Street, created by Tony Warren for Granada TV in 1960. It has been Britain’s most successful drama series ever since. ATV’s motel saga Crossroads originally ran for 24 years (1964-1988), and was revived 15 years later by ITV in 2001. The BBC was slower to commit funds and energy to soap operas until 1985, when it launched EastEnders, a story about cockneys suffering every social problem including alcoholism, unemployment, abortion, racism, and homophobia.

Continuously the corporation’s top-rated series, it suggests that other people’s misery holds endless fascination. Together with Yorkshire Television’s Emmerdale Farm, begun in 1972 and set on the Yorkshire moors, (now called Emmerdale), and Channel 4’s Brookside, begun in 1982 and set on a real Liverpool housing estate, the home-produced soaps have dominated the British television ratings since the 1960s, and look set to do so for the foreseeable future. Coronation Street

Visitors to Granada Television Studios come particularly to see the sets of Britain’s oldest, and one of its most popular, television soap operas, Coronation Street. The Rovers Return pub, pictured here, is one of the focal points of the soap. EastEnders EastEnders is one of Britain’s most successful television soap operas. First shown on BBC1 in 1985 and still running this till this day. Set on Albert square in London and has made some of the most loved and hated characters on television. Task 2 Why are soaps so popular?

When soap operas were first shown they were held in low esteem by teachers, academics, and critics, especially in Britain, because of their low production quality (many were broadcast live and were under-rehearsed) and their unexciting trivial domestic themes. Yet they have great appeal throughout the world, probably because the themes betrayal, marriage break-up  children in danger  loss of money  Standing in the community etc. These are of universal interest. They may be seen to offer an unspoken reassurance that whatever happens to you, a solution exists.

There is always another episode with a new set of problems to overcome or solve. People, especially women, in soaps prove remarkably misfortunate.. This is appealing as someone else’s misery not only makes you feel good but it is entertaining and at times gripping. It makes people watch because the issues that soaps deal with are true to real life so it’s like watching someone else’s life but it is more interesting than any normal person’s life because there is so much more misfortune placed on each person in the soap. Some things are more or less certain in soaps: happiness never lasts.

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