Sun, sea, sex, sand and conservatism in the Australian television soap opera
Dee, Mike (1996) Sun, sea, sex, sand and conservatism in the Australian television soap opera. Young People Now, March, pp. 1-5.
A recent issue of Young People Now (November 1995) mentioned the new (UK) television soap opera Hollyoaks by Phil Redmond, which raises the issue of the role of ‘soap operas’ (hereafter referred to as soaps) in the daily lives of young people. The term ‘soap’ originates with the sponsorship of radio and television programmes by companies such as Proctor and Gamble who in America in 1932 used a daytime radio domestic comedy, The Puddle Family to advertise Oxydol, a washing powder. The first British television soap was The Grove Family (BBC 1954-7) was followed by Emergency Ward Ten (ATV 1957-67), Coronation Street (Granada Television 1960-present) and Eastenders (BBC 1985-present).
Australian soaps are especially popular in Britain and of potential interest to those who work with young people, because they have a high proportion of youthful looking actors and actresses and frequently depict scenes involving young people and apparent ‘real’ teenage dilemmas. On one level it may be commendable that actors who are young(ish) somewhere between the ages of 14 and 25 play roles that are ostensibly about young people and their alleged problems. However, the casting of young, largely unknown, actors reflects more the political economy of soaps in their relative cheapness and dispensability, rather than any genuine attempt to create an oppositional text for, about and by young people (Paterson 1986).
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