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The history and background of 'Soap Operas.'

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Soap Operas Task 1: History And Background The following piece of writing is based on the history and background of 'Soap Operas.' Commencing with where, when and why they were started. Who was the target audience. Finishing with the key conventions of the genre giving examples. Soaps first burst on the scene in America in the 1920s to the 1930s. This was when Radio stations sprang up all over the U.S.A. At that time they solely relied on advertising revenue to stay on air. Companies would sponsor whole programmes as well as using short burst adverts during breaks. This practice would also be used by television companies later on when the first 'Soap Opera was shown on T.V in 1964. This method of advertising has continued to be used to this day by both forms of media. The main target audience for these up and coming radio programmes was identified as being housewives. The reason for this is that back in the 1920's very few women once married, ever went out to work. Instead they were expected to stay at home raise families and look after the house and all the responsibilities that went along with it. ...read more.


It became so popular it ran until 1969, which was well beyond its life expectancy. Britain's first Soap was on radio which went on air just after the, 2nd World. It was called "The Robinson's". However the most famous radio soap in England, which is still on air today is " the Archers" an every day tale of " Farming Folk". It started in 1950 and has been listened to by generations. Reservations by companies about the cost of setting up the first T.V. Soaps were soon allayed because they were very cheap to run. There have been several T.V. Soaps of different genres come and go over time, some more successful than others. Emergency Ward Ten a Medical soap lasted only three years. United, was about a football club, which lasted two years. And, everyone will remember the disastrous Eldorado! This was about the lives of ex-patriots who lived in Spain. This was one of the B.B.Cs shortest run soaps ever. The most famous and longest running soaps are " Coronation Street" made by Granada television company, "Eastenders" made by the B.B.C. ...read more.


Writers of "Soaps" often create conflicts between characters. A good example of this was between ' Little Mo and her ex- husband, who used to verbally and physically abuse her. This storyline lasted for several months with lots of cliffhangers and the nation was gripped with its finale and his death in a fire. It was filmed in one small room with just those two characters amongst the flames, screaming and crying at the same time, wondering how it all came to this. After all they had loved each other at one time! Soaps are still the lifeblood of regionally based independent television stations as well as the commercial television stations such as Granada, Tyne Tees and Yorkshire. They need to make profits to stay in business and pay their shareholders. Because after all that is what they are, business's. So they continue to use advertising breaks during the good quality "Soaps" to keep the revenue coming in. This does not affect the B.B.C because it is a Public Service Channel and receives their money via the television License. What about the future? Who knows when the bubble might burst? But for now, the viewers, television stations and the companies who advertise are all winners. Michael Smith - 1 - ...read more.

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