Australian soaps are Soap operas which are set inAustralia such as Neighbours and Home & Away. Theyusually follow the conventions associated withMelodramatic Soaps such as Hollyoaks. They areeffectively a hybrid of melodrama soaps and realismsoaps. The majority of Australian soaps are produced forearly evening timeslots and usually release about 2 & ahalf hours of footage a week. (4-5 half hour episodes).Most Aussie soaps include a range of middle-classcharacters of various ages and will feature a number ofrealistic settings such as beaches, schools, Cafes etc.Outdoor settings are frequently used.
Australian soaps originated in Australia and were firstbroadcast over radio from the early 1940s. Some popularAustralian soaps at this time were ‘Big Sister’ & ‘BlueHills’. The first Australian soap to be televised was‘Autumn Affair’ in 1958 however the series failed tosecure a sponsor and ended in 1959. In 1972 the Aussiesoap ‘Number 96’ was first screened and by 1973 becameAustralia’s highest rated show after showing the unusualand scandalous topics of: Adultery, nudity, racism, drug-use and homosexuality. These topics were extremelyinteresting to Australians and are highly evident in today’sAustralian soaps.
•Non- diegetic music. (Creates drama).•Diegetic sound. (Creates realism).•Dramatic narrative. (Melodrama)•Cliff-hanger (tension).•Stereotypical characters. (Boyfriend &girlfriend).All of these are frequently used inAustralian soaps.
‘The Patriarch’. A successful entrepreneur, very powerful man who few wish to upset. Alf Stewart ‘The Rebel’. Heath proves troublesome for the local police, often enjoys short term romances and is certainly brawn over brain. Despite this his nature is not villainous and he never causes any true harm to anyone.Heath Braxton ‘The underdog. Liam is a struggling rockstar whose drug addiction cost him his marriage and custody of his son Ash. The audience feels sympathy for him because of the on-going bad luck he faces.Liam Murphy ‘The girl next door’. After splitting up with her Boyfriend Romeo Indigo is constantly pursued by various male characters. She is quite seductive and knows how to use her looks to get her own way.Indigo Walker
‘The housewife’. Gina has dedicated her life to her family having single handedly raised her 3 sons. She is almost always associated with the gossip within the narrative, but is never actually a part of it. Gina palmer ‘The villain’. Johnny is a notorious gangster who killed his own brother rather than letting him leave the gang. The audience is forced to feel hatred for Johnny because of his selfish & evil actions. Johnny Cooper ‘The good guy/hero’. Darryl is respected by many for his loyal & easy- going nature. As a confident guy Darryl is not afraid of standing up for what he believes is right. Darryl Braxton ‘The couple’. Often appearing on screen together, Martha & Jack can effectively be viewed as one character. The issues and scandals that one is involved with, the other also becomes involved with.Jack Holden & Martha Mackenzie
Australian soaps tend to have dramatic storylineswhich are still realistic, making them a hybrid ofmelodrama and realism soaps. For example in ‘TheSullivans’ A character named John is told that hisMother has been killed by a bomb attack howeverdoes not struggle with the news, but instead travelsto Palestine to chase the woman of his dreams,abandoning his family at a difficult time. This story isextremely unlikely however it is still completelypossible, showing a mixture of both realism &melodrama soaps.
The target audience for Australian soaps is about aged15- 45 and mainly female gender. The cast tend to bequite young and attractive, particularly in ‘Home &Away’ & ‘Neighbours’ and so the younger audience willaspire to be like them. The storylines of Aussie soapsalso appeal to a younger audience as they are quiteexciting & tense & also often reflect issues which youngpeople themselves will be facing. They also appeal toan older audience as there is much scandal included inthe storylines which people aged 21-45 are likely to beinterested in. Females are more interested in Aussiesoaps more than males because of the large amount ofgossip & melodrama included in them.
Australian soaps have been successful in the UK sincethe mid 1980s when ‘The Young Doctors’,‘Neighbours’, ‘Sons & Daughters’ & ‘The Sullivans’were broadcast on UK television, & achievedsignificant success. ‘Prisoner’ was also televised inthe USA in 1979 & also achieved great success. In thelate 1980s the Aussie soaps ‘Taurus Rising’ & ‘Returnto Eden’ were created, these were an attempt toreplicate the popular American fantasy soaps‘Dynasty’ & ‘Dallas’. Both of these wereinternationally popular. Today Australian soaps suchas ‘Home & Away’ & ‘Neighbours’ are still verypopular in the UK and USA.