The question I most frequently get asked about the soaps is “Which is your favourite?”
The truth is, it varies.
For the most part, I think the writing in Coronation Street beats all the others hands down. The combination of pathos and laugh aloud humour manifests itself both in big, hard-hitting storylines and also lighter ones.
EastEnders is not without its laughs, too. Jake Wood, who plays Max, has terrific comic timing and can also do the heavy stuff (his farewell scenes with Tanya were among the best the show has ever done). I also like EastEnders for Jack. Oh yes, Jack. Dark, handsome Jack, who was once handcuffed to a radiator – a vision that has never left me, even after all these years.
Emmerdale has some terrific characters, but its recent heavy reliance on drug plots has, for me, been tedious. I know it’s an important issue; it’s just one that has never interested me. But they have plenty of animals – and that’s always an attraction.
Hollyoaks has an abundance of eye candy and non-stop action these days. Every week brings another “revelation” or a “blast from the past” for at least one character.
The Australian soaps cannot match ours for dialogue or plot, but Neighbours has the divine Dr Karl (whose medical skills know no bounds – is there anything he cannot treat?), and Home and Away has the hilarious Marilyn.
Personally, I preferred Home and Away when Summer Bay was exactly that – a Bay, with golden sand and waves, rather then the gangland breeding ground for sun-worshiping Mafia types it has become. There is way too much violence now, too many guns, and too many hospitals with people lying in comas – or recuperating following one of the show’s ubiquitous car crashes.
I’m a big fan of American soaps, although the dropping of 90210 has been traumatising. Still, it became too heavy on promoting the musical careers of its stars (something to which Australian soaps are also prone), and there are only so many men in Beverly Hills with whom Naomi could have endured yet another disastrous relationship.
So, the answer to which soap is my favourite, is: it varies from day to day, hour to hour.
But give me good writing, strong characters and top totty and I’m happy.
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