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Have British soaps become staid and comfortable?

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

  1. Walford Boy

    Walford Boy Soap Chat Well-Known Member EXP: 7 Years

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    The problem is sadly many of the younger soap audience have been brought up on a diet of stunt (helicopters falling form the sky) ott plot after plott and when they don't get it feel short changed. Also many viewers now have the attention spaan of a goldfish and would struggle to follow the plot of an Enid Blyton.
     
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  2. Carrie Fairchild

    Carrie Fairchild Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    The UK soaps definitely hit a turning point in this regard in the late 90's. The Emmerdale plane crash was when the seeds were sown but I think Brookside started the stunt era that we still have today. At the time, it was slated in the press for being too OTT for having the parade gas explosion, the Millennium Club bombing and the helicopter crash over a number of years. But soon enough, all the other soaps were introducing "stunt weeks" and it's now become the norm. I know I was just giving out about him over on the Dallas forum but Brookside / Hollyoaks creator and Emmerdale plane crash mastermind Phil Redmond has a lot to answer for regarding the state of UK soaps today.
     
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  3. Ome

    Ome Admin

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    That's another great point. But this seems to be happening with most shows now. Viewers want to be shocked, they want to on the edge of their seat as they watch, so the soaps bring in the baddies, only all too often, these baddies are cartoonish and it just gets ridiculous.

    I also wonder if there's an element of upsetting viewers if you watch something like THE SHIELD, or SONS OF ANARCHY then don't expect the writers to pander to your favourite characters, I would include THE WALKING DEAD, & GAME OF THRONES but the three characters and fan favourites usually survive.

    I know from the perspective of my 19 yr daughter who has grown up with Corrie on the TV. She only ever sits down to watch it when there's a stunt or a stabbing, though I won't include Chesney with that.

    It's a combination of too many episodes and trying to out-do each other in the way of story-telling. I don't mind the stunts myself, but I do think they have the balance completely out of control when it comes to older characters versus younger characters.

    Watching 80s Corrie has been an absolute delight for me, I've done over a month in 5 days and nothing major has happened, it's been about the characters and characters only. But, if this was on at 8pm, I don't know how many of today's generation of viewers would stick with it.
     
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  4. Carrie Fairchild

    Carrie Fairchild Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    You're so right about 80's Corrie vs modern Corrie. It's a delight to watch clips of the barbs between Gail and Ivy. Even over subjects as mundane as Gail going back to work or Audrey babysitting the kids, it's so well written and acted that they turn these spats in kitchen sink master classes. If it were today's Corrie, Ivy would probably be kidnapping the kids in some car chase spectacular or pushing Gail off the roof of the factory.
     
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  5. ArchieLucasCarringtonEwing1989

    ArchieLucasCarringtonEwing1989 Soap Chat Addict EXP: 9 Years

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    All excellent points @Ome @Carrie Fairchild and @Walford Boy, furthermore this has lead to a common misconception, with Emmerdale in this regard, that before 1993 the soap was all about Annie making tea and Joe shearing sheep, when ironically Emmerdale probably had more stunts and disasters in the 1980s than all the other soaps at the time, from The Caravan fire in 1981 to Jackie's motorbike accident in 1984/85, Pat Sugden's car crash in 1986,
    The whodunit murder of Harry Mowlem in the same year, the Crossgill fire 1988, Jackie's death in 1989 and a criminal who Jack helped put away in jail returning to kidnap Sarah in 1991, there were others too, yet ratings for Emmerdale in 1984 were about 2.5 million viewers higher than in post plane crash 1994.
     
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  6. Ome

    Ome Admin

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    rotf:lolling:rotf:lolling:rotf
     
  7. ArchieLucasCarringtonEwing1989

    ArchieLucasCarringtonEwing1989 Soap Chat Addict EXP: 9 Years

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    A whodunit in circa mid 1980s Corrie, would reveal the culprit being Betty after she killed her victim by feeding them a hotpot that had been poisoned.
     
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  8. Walford Boy

    Walford Boy Soap Chat Well-Known Member EXP: 7 Years

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    Couldn't agree more. Redmond did good with Creating Brookside, his best work, i suppose Hollyoaks went off the rails when he sold his company. The premise for Hollyoaks was something for the younger audience, a British version of Saved by the Bell. God knows what you would call Hollyoaks now? The plane crash in Emmerdale was the worst thing that happened to the soap and in soap in general.
     
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  9. ArchieLucasCarringtonEwing1989

    ArchieLucasCarringtonEwing1989 Soap Chat Addict EXP: 9 Years

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    Didn't the bat sh*t craziness happen after Phil Redmond left Brookside though? I'm pretty certain he left in the early 1990s, though I am probably mistaken.

    I could get why Emmerdale did the plane crash, as it did help save the series, but lets not forget that just months earlier, Emmerdale had aired storylines such as Lorraine Nelson revealing she had been sexually abused as a child and Zoe Tate coming out as a lesbian, which back in 1993 was practically a taboo subject, only EE had two LGBT characters between 1985 & 1993.

    And now over two decades on, every social issue has virtually been covered, in every possible angle, so now its no longer an issue storyline and as a result they've been replaced by stunt storylines.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2017
  10. Carrie Fairchild

    Carrie Fairchild Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    Hollyoaks turned quite early on. I remember thinking it'd gone OTT when the Rob Hawthorne plot culminated in him trapping a number of characters in a waterworks, where they were sliding down chutes and trapped in cages. It'd been your typical teen drama up until that point and then they decided to make a low budget action movie.

    Interestingly, when Brookside was shifted to one of the death slots, Redmond threw his toys out of the pram and made noises about moving Hollyoaks elsewhere.

    https://www.theguardian.com/media/2002/nov/05/broadcasting.channel4

    I think he was always there as the show's executive producer while people like Mal Young and Paul Marquess had the main job of series producer. So Phil Redmond would've had a hand in most decisions over the years. I actually have his autobiography but he's kind of insufferable so I put it down quite early on. I must revisit it and just skip to the bit where he starts creating Brookside.

    There's no doubting that the show he originally conceived was groundbreaking in terms of soap, both in the way it was produced and the writing and the subjects it tackled. It seemed to be a proper gritty portrayal of Thatcher's Britain in northern England. It's just a shame that he seemed to lose focus in the 90's and get caught up in the more fanciful plots involving stunts and criminality like Lindsay Corkhill's rapid rise from working in the chippy to becoming the mafioso crime queen of the Close.
     
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  11. Ome

    Ome Admin

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    What about Gordon Collins & Christopher in Brookside?
     
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  12. ArchieLucasCarringtonEwing1989

    ArchieLucasCarringtonEwing1989 Soap Chat Addict EXP: 9 Years

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    Brookside's best era will always be the first nine years: 1982-1991, the mid 1990s were okay, but after 1997/98 I lose all interest, Hollyoaks for me is pure escapism, ill admit and say that its golden era is long behind it, 2000-2007 were great years for the show, but because it doesn't take itself seriously and the cast seem less stuck up than their counterparts I can tolerate it to this day.

    Yes I forgot about them! Brookside had LGBT characters quite early on in its run.
     
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