Soaps an Introduction

Since early 80s British Soaps have been broadcast in the evening underlining the fact that as a genre it has evolved and traced the change in the status and lifestyle of women (i.e. that they’re now more likely to be at work.)

Tania Modleski

Has analysed the techniques used to appeal to a specifically female audience:

  • Storylines usually centre on relationships and emotions, therefore appealing to women’s traditional competences of caring and understanding of the emotional needs of others and therefore the female viewer is positioned as the ‘ideal mother.’
  • Segmented narrative structure, multiple- synchronous storylines, dialogue driven plots, reiteration of key events from different perspectives addresses the female viewer who is busy and may need to drop in and out of viewing
  • No single hero nor particular moral perspective
  • Moral ambiguities and contradictions means that they are open to interpretations
  • Endless deferral of resolutions

Pleasures therefore reside in endless rekindling of anticipation; processes of interpretation which often occur in social intercourse after programme viewed.

Climactic denouements; line or narrative are a ‘masculine’ form.

Christine Geraghty

Points out the proliferation of strong female characters, all age groups, all appearances, all classes – all ‘normally excluded‘ by other programmes (till reality shows!!)

Soaps and gayness

Eastenders 1989 had soaps first gay kiss which aroused a storm of controversy.

Brookside in 1994 Beth Jordache kissed her girlfriend – greeted with enthusiasm – perhaps showing the greater tolerance for female sexual intimacy. In fact the episode increased Brookside’s ratings by 20%.


Did you find this information helpful?