History of Soap Operas

Soap Opera is a phrase developed in the 1930’s in the USA, to describe a radio series that was sponsored by a largely known soap powder, leading to the use of “soap” with the “opera” part coming from the problems and dramatic/melodramatic situations. In the UK, Soap Opera’s began on the radio on the BBC and in 1951, the BBC provided the public with the soap opera “The Archers” which is the worlds longest running soap opera for radio. The longest running TV soap opera is Coronation Street, first aired on TV in December 1960. Soap opera’s became extremely popular in the 1980’s, and this led to the  beginning of the BBC’s Eastenders, which began on 19th February 1985. Australia also had successful soaps including Home and Away and Neighbours, which caused the British producers to reconsider the target audience and characters/storylines used. The Australian soaps were typically attracting teenagers, which led to Hollyoaks beginning on 23rd October 1995, which today is considered the largest teenage soap opera.



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