|The filming of famous British soap opera Eastenders
Watching TV is a very popularpastimein the UK but what kind of programmes do British people like to watch? Well, themost-watchedTV programmes every week are very popular dramas that are usually on at least four times every week. They are dramas based in oneneighbourhoodthat tryto depictordinary life in the UK - we call these dramas ‘soap operas’ or ‘soaps’.
In the early days of TV, there were often dramas on during the day. Back in those days, it was traditional for the husband to go out to work and for the wife to stay at home and look after the house and the children. Most of these daytime dramas wereaimed atentertaining thehousewiveswho would traditionally be at home, probablydoing the washing. Companies sellingwashing powderwouldadvertisetheir products at times when these dramas were on, and sometimes those companies would evensponsorthe drama.Hencethe word ‘soap’.
So what about the word opera? Well, that’s because these dramas are often anexaggerationof real life. They are supposed to represent ordinary lives but to make them entertaining, lots of dramatic events likemurders,divorces,affairsetc. all happen probably much more regularly than they would in a normal neighbourhood.
Most soap operas these days are shown in the evening. Each show will have several differentstorylineshappening at once that continue over several shows. The samecast memberswill appear in every show too.
There are lots of different soaps on in the UK on different channels but there are three main popular ones. ‘Coronation Street’ has been on since 1960. It issetin asuburbof Manchester and it’s supposed to representworking classlife in the north of England. Then there’s ‘Eastenders’ which started in 1985, set in the East End of London and ‘Emmerdale’, which is set on a farm in Yorkshire, in the north of England.
The BBC even has a soap opera to help you learn English – so if you want to experience one of these dramas in English, ‘The Flatmates’ would be a good place to start – go to www.bbc.co.uk/china/learningenglish/flatmates.