Progression in soap opera plots isn’t always welcome

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Life has moved on a lot since 1963 – and in many ways, that’s a great thing.

While there must have been a lot of exciting stuff happening in the Swinging Sixties it’s clear we’ve come on leaps and bounds.

The introduction of the minimum wage, invention of the internet and creation of Pot Noodles have certainly made things a little sparkier for me.

But is it a good thing that we’ve come so far along our journey of progression that we’re now entirely comfortable with the kinds of things being shown during our prime time soap operas?

In 1963, Coronation Street axed a scene depicting one of its characters, Sheila Birtles, committing suicide.

It was considered too shocking – but those scenes are going to be retrieved from the archives and shown this summer as part of a documentary looking back at Corrie’s history.

As the scenes weren’t shown originally, I can’t see how they fit in now and, more importantly, do we really need to see a character taking an overdose to have sympathy for her?

The straightforward answer is no, we don’t. And the bigger point is that it isn’t a very responsible thing to do anyway.

There are some issues that are so huge and so unimaginable unless you’ve been through them, that trivialising them in this way is actually rather insulting.

This year alone we’ve seen Emmerdale play out a mercy killing and EastEnders forced to cut scenes it thought fit to film showing a mum finding her dead baby in his cot.

I’m all for soaps reflecting real life and don’t expect the millions of viewers who love them to be happy with only seeing the hearts and flowers stuff.

But there are times when it’s clear they’ve gone too far in the name of entertainment. There’s a time and a place for the sexy stuff and 7pm on a Tuesday evening is not it.

There’s also a time and a place for exploring the most difficult aspects of life.

But in between plot lines involving teenage boys getting off with their girlfriend’s mum, and petty relationship squabbles, isn’t right either.

Maybe we did make the right call on some things in 1963 after all.