• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How do you account for the wide appeal and popularity of soap operas?

Extracts from this document...


How do you account for the wide appeal and popularity of soap operas? The Cambridge dictionary defines a soap opera as ' a series of television or radio programmes about the lives and problems of a particular group of characters'. Soap operas originated from American radio and have been revolutionised of the last half century to become one of the worlds leading television genres. Thirty years ago, the normative view on soaps was that they were merely 'chewing gum for the eyes' (Kilborn), however today, people are allured to their TV sets like Sir John Benjamin who openly stated 'Mondays and Wednesdays, I live for then. Thank god, half past seven tonight and I will be in paradise. Today, the most common soap operas in Britain are Eastenders, Coronation Street and Emmerdale farm. It is these soaps that posses characteristics that have revolutionised viewing habits of media consumers and it is my objective during this assignment to identify the cause of their appeal. All soaps have codes and conventions which give them their identity, such as their regularity, interwoven narratives, concern with every day activities and famously their cliff hangers. These are some of the basic reasons why soaps are so popular, never the less there are many more. ...read more.


In order to re -enforce the escapism theme, many women see soaps as a means of escape even after the soap has finished. Studies have proven that women equally enjoy discussing the events of past episodes with their work colleagues and friends the next day, as much if not more than watching the soap itself. I conform to this view, as it is impossible to go through a day without hearing a phrase similar to '.....did you watch ..... last night? The soap genre has become a part of British culture and is also a means of socialising. The use of melodramatic aesthetic in soap is also a contributing factor to their appeal. By introducing dramatic, sometimes extreme story lines, the producer can capture the attention of the viewer. The typical melodramatic characteristic of ever soap is the notorious cliff hanger. I have lost count how many times I have heard people swear and scream at their TV sets because the producer has ended the episode at the pinnacle of the dramatic tention e.g. the vision of Ian Beale lying on the floor after he had been shot by his wife Cindy. However this is a media technique that makes the viewer determined to watch the next episode. ...read more.


The most influential in my mind was the Eastenders advertising strategy during the 'who shot Phil?' episodes. They used shots of the soap characters asking rhetorical questions to the audience which increased their longing to watch the next episode. The use of advertising is crucial as it constantly reminds people that they wanted to watch the next episode. They even advertise on nights that the soap isn't broadcasting to ensure that the soap, is in the mind of its viewers every day. The duration of my presentation thus far has focused on other peoples assumption of why soaps are so popular. However, it is in my view that soap operas are indeed multi generic. They combine an array of aspects from other TV genres such as chat shows, drama and film and is the reason why the soap genre has been described as 'the most popular form of television in the world'. To conclude, it is evident that the appeal of soap opera has been created via the psychological manipulation of soap viewers. Putting this aside, its main appeal is its ability to appeal to an large audience span that can not be achieved by any other TV genre in this way. It is obvious that Soaps have become a part of the British culture and now they act as educators, inspirers and sources of escape for many. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Television section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Television essays

  1. For my GCSE media coursework I have been asked to write about and analyse ...

    On the Eastenders website (www.bbc.co.uk/eastenders) they sell items such as, mugs, T-shirt, books etc. All of which have some connection to Eastenders. They may have a picture of a character or "Eastenders" written across it. Series are not ongoing. They usually have about 12 episodes, then switch with a different series.

  2. History Of Soap Operas.

    Instead, a soap opera features many short scenes, switching between different storylines. Settings and Storylines British soaps have a strong regional identity - for example, Eastenders is set in the East End of London, Manchester is the setting for Coronation Street.

  1. A comparison of British and American sitcoms based on an episode of "Fawlty Towers" ...

    She can be described as a "Jewish American Princess" which shows that she is fashionable and youthful also. She is not a comic character but in this particular episode she creates invective humour buy stating that Julie, Ross's new girlfriend, is a "Manipulative Bitch", this comes totally unexpectedly as she had just made friends with Julie.

  2. Soap operas or 'soaps' criteria

    They may have been involved in the build up but it only becomes a main storyline when a curtail event takes place. The soaps also involve a fixed set of characters, sometimes a new character is introduced to replace an old one or just to fill in a new role,

  1. Do Soaps Represent 'real' life?

    encountered within personal relations and family life; the content is essentially humanised. A mundane quality is evoked, as the lifestyles of the characters on screen are not so vastly different from our own. The claims that have been made by the producers of these soaps, in that they are ultimately

  2. To what extent do ‘Eastenders’ and ‘Neighbours’ represent reality?

    Pauline is hassling Jim about arranging a honeymoon, but he cannot afford it. In later episodes we see the Square rallying round to make Dot and Jim's wedding really special because they deserve it but cannot afford it. This reflects the ideology that older people are generally good citizens and that the state doesn't provide them with much money.

  1. Identify and compare the main conventions of two documentaries and explain what affect that ...

    The benefits and possibilities that the Army offers. To her deep regret, she reads out the last letter she received from her son, who lost his life in Iraq. In the letter, he writes of how negatively he felt towards the president in his decision of sending them to Iraq.

  2. Soap Operas.

    There were discussions about whether or not to wait before having sexual intercourse. In, "All My Children," the storyline was about a teen-aged birth mother suing the adoptive parents for custody of her child. This storyline allowed for several discussions about the consequences of unplanned and unprotected sexual activity, and

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work