Well it’s the end of another week in the land of soap where, it seems, there’s never a dull moment. Here are 10 Things You’ll Always See In A UK Soap Opera.
1. A pub – It fits in with the drinking culture in this country after all. Where would Corrie be without the Rovers Return? Or EastEnders without the Queen Vic? Or Emmerdale without the Woolpack?
2. A battleaxe – Remember Ena Sharples in Coronation Street? When I close my eyes, I can still see that woman’s miserable face and hairnet. She’s the stuff nightmares are made of. And how about EastEnders’ Pauline Fowler? She’s definitely up there in the Premiership of soap battleaxes. How on earth Arthur put up with her for so long I’ll never know.
3. Annoying child actors – I don’t need to tell you what I think about EastEnders’ Ben Mitchell and Corrie’s Bethany. It seems that the producers of these soaps have a knack for scouring the country for the most irritating child actors. I can just imagine how the adverts would read: "Wanted: precocious child stars needed for popular soap. Must be prepared to annoy the living daylights out of TV viewers for the next decade. Only the most irritating child actors need apply."
4 ‘Token’ ethnic families – When are they gonna get things right with the ethnic families that appear in our soaps? I’m all for diversity in soaps – after all they should reflect society. However, the biggest problem is that the ethnic families that tend to appear on our screen always seem to be very stereotypical. EastEnders’ Masoods and The Truemans are prime examples. And don’t get me started on the Ferreiras.
5. The Soap ‘Bad Boy’ – Every soap needs a ‘wrong un’. Admittedly, Corrie’s ‘Damian’ David Platt has taken the role of soap ‘bad boy’ to another level (it’ll be interesting to see which direction Corrie’s writers next take his character), but the traditional ‘Bad Boy’ is a mixture of things. He can be a love rat (Corrie’s Charlie Stubbs, Emmerdale’s Robert Sugden, Hollyoaks’ Jamie Nash), a cold-hearted so and so (Corrie’s Terry Duckworth), just plain evil (Nick Cotton) or a combination of the above (EastEnders’ mummy’s boys the Mitchell bruvvers).
6. The Soap ‘Bad Girl’ – Once again another necessary ingredient for a good soap. Corrie’s Tracey Barlow was definitely the epitome of a soap ‘bad girl’ – one who resorted to murder. You can’t get more cold than that; we won’t be seeing much of her thanks to Her Majesty’s Prison Service. However it looks like Rosie Webster is poised to take her crown. But soap bad girls come in all sorts of shapes and sizes: Pat Wicks, as she was back then, started out in EastEnders as a right evil cow, but she’s the soap’s great survivor now. Then there’s Emmerdale’s Kim Tate who twice cheated on hubby Frank then finally let him die when the pills that could’ve saved him were nearby. Finally, Hollyoaks’ Clare Cunningham was one big witch – and she’s sadly missed.
7. A brassy barmaid – Where would a soap be without a brassy barmaid? Remember the legendary Bet Lynch of the Rovers Return (WE ARE NOT WORTHY!)? Then there’s Corrie’s town bike Liz McDonald. And how about EastEnders’ Angie Watts (WE ARE NOT WORTHY!)? Those were the days! Who can forget watching her sling back the gin and vodkas at the Queen Vic? A soap without a domineering barmaid is like eating fish without chips or watching Ant without Dec…something would be missing.
8. Mrs Gossip – Or in other words Dot Cotton (or Branning, but I prefer Cotton). Blimey, they don’t come any more interfering than her do they? I’m just glad she ain’t my next door neighbour. And let’s have an almighty hand for the legendary Hilda Ogden (WE ARE NOT WORTHY!) who couldn’t wait to go up t’Street and be the first to spill some hot gossip to the first person she saw.
9. The Soap ‘Winner’ – In every soaps there’s always someone who most people consider to be a ‘winner’. The criteria is either wealth or luck with women. Corrie’s Mike Baldwin instantly springs to mind. Although he had his fair share of life’s ups and downs, most of us will always remember his character as one of the more fortunate residents of Coronation Street. Let’s not forget EastEnders Den Watts or Steve Owen.
10. The Soap ‘Loser’– Where there’s a winnner, there’s always a loser. In my opinion one the biggest losers in the history of soaps has got to be the character Lofty on EastEnders. Remember him? Nothing ever seemed to go right in his life; he couldn’t even fall in love with the right woman – Michelle didn’t love him and aborted his baby. If there’s a bigger loser than Lofty, get the tissues out. I will also put forward Crossroads’ Benny (remember him? Always with his ‘Miss Diane’), boooooring Ashley, EastEnders Robbie Jackson (played by Dean Gaffney), Brookside’s Terry Sullivan, Hollyoaks’ Bombhead and Coronation Street’s Roy Cropper. There’s another soap loser to come…more on him in a minute.
So there you have it – 10 things you’ll always see in a Brit soap opera. Feel free to add suggestions of your own in the comments section.
In connection with point 10 – we couldn’t leave out a couple of EastEnders’ biggest losers, could we?
That’s it for now. Join me on Monday for a preview of all the week’s soaps. Got a comment about your favourite soap, this blog or anything else? Share it with me.
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