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A soap opera is a long-running, never- ending program of roughly half-an-hour stints, usually more than once a week, that follows the lives of many fictionalcharacters as they battle their own issues, written to reflect those of real-life, however events happening in real-life do not impact on the lives of the characters (e.g the current recession), unless it is by coincidence that the writer wants this to be the case.
The main convention in any soapopera is the verisimilitude reflection of it to everyday life.
This verisimilitude is used so the soap is believable to the audience and is a form of escape from their own life - especially if the characters are in adifficult situation, when it comforts the audience into realising their own problems aren’t that bad - or the characters’ actions help them to deal with their own life.
Once upon a time, instead of being on the TV, soap operas were transmittedon the radio and were called "dramatic serials".
These dramatic serials were sponsored by various different soap manufacturers which eventuallyinfluenced the change in title to "soap operas“; a nickname that stuck.
NOW THEN The longest running soap opera ontelevision is Coronation Street with the show first premiering on the 9th December 1960. Obviously, the much-loved soap opera is still being filmed to this day.
However, the longest running soap opera ever is The Archers. This soapopera was first broadcast on the radioin 1950, as a five-part pilot, and now it is still on-going on BBC Radio 4 today.
Originally, soap operas, like TheArchers, were broadcast in the middle of the day and aimed at housewiveswho could listen whilst doing chores.
According to a Digital Spy forum, Corries Fiz is the most popularcharacter, across the soap operas, however it does come down to personal opinion.
Coronation Street viewers favouriteever character was Jack Duckworth, as votes top him in a recent Digital Spy poll (May 2012).
One of Eastenders‘ original characters’,Sharons, return on August 13th 2012, prompted recent polls to pronounce that she was the viewers favourite character.
Eastenders was the most watched soap on Tuesday 28th August 2012 when it had 7.3m viewers to watchSharons decision, suggesting this was also one of the most popular storylines.