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Missing the point - an object lesson from the Learning & Skills Council

I am not a fan of soap operas, but have picked up a working knowledge of their structures, cliches, conventions etc etc both from their ubiquity and via work I have done for the broadcasters in the past.

Anyway, in what I imagine is more an exercise in getting press coverage than a serious argument, the Learning & Skills Council has berated soap script writers for 'Giving teenage soap characters dead-end jobs and low aspirations [that] risks shattering young viewers' career dreams'. Instead it wants various characters to be getting NVQs and the like and be ascending the corporate ladder. As the LSC should be aware, soap operas a l'anglais are based on a fiction of highly cohesive working class areas where the inhabitants live, work and socialise all in an area of a few thousand square yards. The entire point of drama is that it does not deal with reality as it is lived, and thus acts as escapism, or further up the literary food chain gives catharsis. If the inhabitants of soap land behaved more like their viewers, they would spend much of their time engaged in day to day work or slumped in front of the television. And that would make for rather dull viewing. Similarly, if the various dead end job holding characters were doing jobs more suited to whatever skills they might have and were thus well away from the centre of the dramatic action, maintaining plot dynamism would be well nigh impossible.

Perhaps in their next release, the LSC will call upon Shakespeare to be re-written to have Lear engaged in 'life long learning', send Othello and Desdemona to Relate and put Hamet on assertiveness training.
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Anonymous Anonymous said... 1:25 pm

And send Caliban for free radiation poisoning testing.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 2:19 pm

All too likely...  

Blogger The Hitch said... 2:23 pm

Maybe somebody could write a soap opera where all the characters are home workers who spend all day interacting with other characters over the net?
Blog feuds , email death threats and occasionaly pausing for a pot noodle and a quick look at an "adult interest" website.
Does this have wings?  

Blogger Croydonian said... 2:30 pm

I spent 30 seconds the other day mapping out a script for a paranoia / conspiracy / cover up thriller with a blogger hero and decided it would be a touch on the dull side and lacking in action. Mind you, it couldn't be much worse than 'The Net', which was dire.

Your plan sounds very post modern, and I guess the Neighbours theme song could be adopted and adapted.

I'm off out shortly, but I'll work on a pilot episode plot outline / pitch....  

Anonymous Anonymous said... 2:31 pm

Actually, Peter Hitchens, I think it does!  

Blogger The Hitch said... 2:41 pm

well we have the basics here
earnest decent "c" (ken barlow)

violent foul mouthed oaf peter hitchens

And verity as Emily Bishop , the voice of reason

Iain Dale could be the online Norris , slightly camp and likes a bit of gossip.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 2:46 pm

Can't say I'm up to speed on soap operas (see passim), but I think this might well have legs for a collaborative project.

Now if only I could stop myself from trying to mentally translate the Neighbours song into French.  

Blogger The Hitch said... 3:04 pm

the french and good neighbourliness ???
probably a bit low brow for you c but have you read
"a piano in the Pyreness" by tony hawks?  

Anonymous Anonymous said... 3:06 pm

Brilliant, original and definitely has legs. I have VOIP and can make phone calls to Britain free, so can be available for script conferences.  

Anonymous Anonymous said... 3:08 pm

What's our working title?  

Anonymous Anonymous said... 3:09 pm

I `m not a home worker and I have an up and demanding family . I think this relegates me to a bit part.
Maybe Minty in Eastenders . Not to bad , I happen to know the actor and you would not believe the amount he gets paid for saying "alright mate" every couple of weeks .

Just bought a fourth home in Italy


Blogger The Hitch said... 3:12 pm

newmania you could do "walk on blog parts" the virtual equivalent of sitting in the bar of the queen vic/woolpack or rovers return  

Blogger The Hitch said... 3:13 pm

a title?
"Deadenders" as thats where we are heading socialy (+:  

Anonymous Anonymous said... 3:31 pm

Peter Hitchens, funny, although probably acceptable to the BBC as we are broadly politically conservative. Equally saleable to the BBC would be Anyone But Dave.

We should probably exchange emal addresses as at some point we are going to want to protect this project by going private. You never know who's lurking.  

Anonymous Anonymous said... 4:19 pm

Perhaps Dickens should be rewritten too.
Anyway, there's always Ian and his chip bar to offer inspiration, and what's wrong with running a market stall or video shop, both very entrepreneurial.  

Blogger The Hitch said... 4:19 pm

Verity you can have the south American rights , lots of smouldering looks at the computer screen by extravagantly moustached men in satin shirts and demure but firey women in loose clothing.
Pancho Heeetchens will of course be the villain.
I see him as a hard drinking free lance web designer who lives with his mother in guadalajara with nothing to live for other than the next bottle of tequilla and his bitter memories.  

Anonymous Anonymous said... 7:05 pm

Gosh, that doesn't sound up my calle at all, Peter Hitchens.

For one thing, I don't live in S America. And I wouldn't have the faintest idea what Mexicans blog about! Not the foggiest! (To be fair to them, though, I haven't seen a Pancho Villa moustache or a satin shirt since I came here.)  

Anonymous Anonymous said... 10:32 pm

Peter Hitchens, as it's your idea, would it be series, with an entire episode in each, or a soap opera with ongoing dramas and tragedies?  

Blogger The Hitch said... 11:21 pm

verity I take the view that if its
south of Texas its south America.
I think the story line would have to be an ongoing roller coaster of passion ,tragedy ,suspicious deaths (with satin shirts and moustaches)disloyalty and a few token ethnic characters , in your neck of the woods that would be a Norwegian or Swede , maybe a non threatening black person.  

Anonymous Anonymous said... 7:56 pm


I `ave eeden theees for to long . I am yooor father . I abandoned you yeeers ago because in our village we keeel the hairy baby.

I`m so sorry abou the circus leeetle monkey boy  

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