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The History of the 'Soap Opera'

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The History of the 'Soap Opera' Soap operas have been one of the most popular forms of television in the world, being the foremost genre in Britain for thirty-five years, ever since the first episode of Coronation Street was screened in 1960. The continuous plots and new characters that viewers could relate to sparked I new passion for the common soap opera. Ever since, new soap operas have been released, still using the old ingredients and standard story lines, still managing the captivate audiences on a constant basis. The original soap opera weren't television programs as they are now. The original soap opera began in the US in the 1920's - 1930's, when the main form of entertainment was the radio. ...read more.


The 'opera' was because the plots were often dramatic and surreal as were the theatrical operas of the time, hence the name 'Soap Opera'. To keep loyal listeners, radio stations would each have their own different type of opera, however they all followed the same basic plots involving romance, drama and topics the audience could relate to, such as politics. Soap operas were soon everywhere as they were very popular and very cheap to produce, an ideal combination for the soap and radio companies, however after the war listeners were flocking toward the television, and the radio soap operas were finding it difficult to complete. By the mid 1950's the radio soap opera was dead! ...read more.


All soap operas have different character types, i.e. reckless teenagers, rebelling children, drug addicts etc. For example 'Peggy Mitchell' is the matriarch figure in Eastenders, and 'Grant Mitchell' is the thug. This helps viewers identify the program as a soap opera, and added predictability to the show. This helps as the viewers will know what a character may do next which may add tension. This also helps the shows creators shock the audience by having a character doing the opposite of what's expected. Over time soap operas have evolved from radio stories listened to by housewives, to being viewed by all. Ever since television soap opera companies have been using the same ingredients and basic storylines to keep up with society, and even though there are few housewives in this era, soap operas still manage to keep their audiences entertained. Steven Anglin 11CP 13/11/2003 Page 1 of 2 ...read more.

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