Considering The Growing Use Of Current ‘Issues’ In Soap Operas

Thoughts about the way serial fiction draws upon real everyday life

Photo by Jens Kreuter on Unsplash

I am a self confessed soap addict. I watch four out of the six UK soap operas, and have done for a number of years. I love them. I love the continuity with the characters, and I love the storylines.

A lot of people choose not to watch the soaps. They tend to look down on them, and think that they’re ‘trash’ TV, believing that they aggrandise and profit from serious problems, creating sensationalised storylines.

There is something of a conception that only ‘chavs’ and common people watch them. They are considered a ‘guilty pleasure’, and a number of people look down on those who do watch them.

Personally, I believe that soaps get a bit of a hard rap.

The thing is that the soaps are accessible to a wide range of people, whether young, or old, or from different backgrounds and cultures. They appeal to such a broad range of people, and deal with hugely relevant topics.

There are times when the storylines in soaps are light, and that is nice to have. These times balance out those storylines which can become far, far darker.

I have heard varying opinions of this tendency of soaps to show ‘issue-led’ stories. Some people feel like they are taking advantage of other people’s misery, while others applaud their brave choices to not shy away from these subjects.

I look at when a soap decided to cover a very controversial and very real issue in this blog post:

The thing to remember is that in these soaps, there is not only a hugely talented cast and crew that work incredibly hard on most days of the year to bring these stories to life. There is also a group of amazing writers and researchers that work together and do their job extremely well to try and ensure accuracy in their portrayal of these issues.

In the past, soaps have dealt with issues such as abuse, domestic violence, cancer, knife crime, dementia, knife crime, epilepsy, postpartum psychosis, and PTSD, to name but a few.

Of course, there are parts of soaps that are overly dramatised (this is a TV show, after all), but watching in between the lines, it is clear that there is a slew of hugely important issues that are being addressed, and brought into the public sphere, and I feel that this, is really the most important thing of all.


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Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

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