Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Don't Let the Snobs Ruin These Soaps

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Don't Let the Snobs Ruin These Soaps

Article excerpt


ACCORDING to the latest Independent Television Commission report, there are too many soaps.

Rather like some rampant virus, they have tripled over the past 10 years, and they are in danger of swamping the schedules.

Could these be the very same precious TV schedules that last night brought us such dull, house-obsessed shows as Home Front on BBC2, or UK's Worst - New House? on BBC1, and the moving homes show, Location, Location, Location on Channel 4.

Is the ITC being snobby? Is it a case of popularity breeding contempt?

Just because, week in, week out, soaps win the ratings battles against everything the splendidly innovative TV schedule can throw at them, it doesn't make them bad.

In fact, soaps have managed to extend their runs and add extra shows, without compromising quality.

Granted four-nights-a-week EastEnders is a wee bit dull at the moment (will someone give Barry a slap please). Yet it Little Mo's revenge on wife-beater Trevor was voted best TV moment of 2002.

And soaps are also the breeding ground for some our finest acting and writing talent. Flick through the CVs of well-known drama supremos, such as Jimmy McGovern, Sally Wainwright, Stephen Mallatratt, and you will find stints on EastEnders, Brookside or Coronation Street. The glamorous careers of Martine McCutcheon, Ricky Tomlinson and Anna Friel, to name just a few, had similarly humble beginnings.

But then again, perhaps as a writer who works from home, I am a little biased. Alone all day, soaps have taken on a life, a meaning and a significance of their own. I am so addicted to Neighbours that it punctuates my day. At 1.45pm, I down typing fingers for a quick fix of Ramsay Street.

And woe betide anyone who tries to disturb me. You see, nothing comes between me and Harold Bishop. Sadly, that's not all. For I have another subsidiary addiction. I have becoming increasingly dependent on Channel 5's Home and Away. …

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