Magazine article Marketing

Royal Press vs Soap Operatic TV

Magazine article Marketing

Royal Press vs Soap Operatic TV

Article excerpt

In the same batch of letters to the editor published in a recent issue of the Independent suggestion that the "Duchess of York should be offered a part in Eldorado" followed hard on the heels of the comment, "The Duchess of York should be deprived of her title and subsidy. The photographers will not bother her thereafter".

The first correspondent misses the point that the Duchess already has a leading role in a much more successful series than Eldorado, as the Royal Family functions as the tabloid press' very own soap opera. The second correspondent is far from the mark in assuming that sacking Fergie would mean loss of interest in her. "Banishment" or at least "voluntary exile" would add extra spice and all manner of main and sub plot options for the popular papers to play with.

Until recently, the popular press could hardly hope to keep up. It could only try to feed off the TV soap scene with personality actor features. Now however, the newspapers - because of our conventions concerning what TV can and cannot report about the Royal Family - have corralled not only a captive audience but also a captive cast.

Social questions raise their ugly heads. Will ever-more people come to prefer to live in the fantasy world of soap with minimal interest in what is happening and significant in the real world? Should we fret more about values?

We see little cause for concern. The so-called "gutter press" and its "prerogative of the harlot" were invented in the 30s, with antecedents including the "penny dreadfuls" long long before. …

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