Presentation on theme: "Religion in the soaps. Where did it start? (1) The longest running soap opera is the BBC’s The Archers. It was first broadcast on 1 January 1951 and has."— Presentation transcript:
Religion in the soaps
Where did it start? (1) The longest running soap opera is the BBC’s The Archers. It was first broadcast on 1 January 1951 and has been broadcast 5 days a week ever since. There have so far been 17,600 episodes and an estimated 6 million listeners.
Religion in the soaps Where did it start? (2) St Stephen’s Church plays in key role in village life and family occasions and religious beliefs are frequently covered. Recent issues have included: rural drug addiction, interracial relationships, badger culling, family break-ups and civil partnerships.
Religion in the soaps Coronation Street (1) Coronation Street (‘Corrie’) was first broadcast on ITV on 9 December 1960. To date there have been over 8,500 thousand episodes. The show is about a working-class community in the fictional northern town of Weatherfield. On 17 September 2010 it became the world’s longest-running television soap opera still in production.
Religion in the soaps Coronation Street (2) Coronation Street has been widely criticised for underrepresenting members of different faith communities and for trivialising religion. The programme makers are seen by critics to be ‘playing safe’ because they are afraid of offending religious believers.
Religion in the soaps Coronation Street (3) Religious weddings and funerals are portrayed, but the show tends to concentrate on moral dilemmas rather than religious ones. Recent storylines have included murder, abuse, unwanted pregnancies and transsexuality. Religion is generally kept in the background and the religious views of the characters are implied rather than explicit.
Religion in the soaps Coronation Street (4) There was a significant backlash against a religious wedding episode in 2009, where ITV received a large number of complaints because, while filming the traditional wedding of Tyrone and Molly, the makers hid the Christian cross in the church behind some flowers.
Religion in the soaps Coronation Street (5) The vicar of the church used for filming, the Rev James Milnes, claimed they had hidden the cross because of ‘political correctness’ so that people would not be offended. He said it took away ‘… the very thing that makes it a church’ (Daily Telegraph, 14 January 2009).
Religion in the soaps Eastenders (1) EastEnders has been prepared to engage in religious storylines. In 2001 Dot Cotton gave morphine tablets to her dying friend Ethel Skinner in a case of assisted suicide. After Ethel died, Dot became guilt-ridden and prayed: ‘I only did it because I loved her…. I am scared. I have committed a crime, but have I committed a sin, an unforgivable sin?’ She reported the matter to the police, but no action was taken.
Religion in the soaps Eastenders (2) One of the most notorious storylines occurred when Christian preacher Lucas Johnson attacked his wife and murdered a love rival. So many complaints were received from viewers that the BBC responded by saying the matter wasn’t religious:
Religion in the soaps Eastenders (3) ‘Lucas is certainly not intended to be representative of Christians. He is a very damaged and dangerous individual who has created a twisted version of the Christian ‘faith’ in his mind to hide behind and to convince himself that his actions are acceptable.’
Religion in the soaps Eastenders (4) There have been further concerns raised over the character of Dot Cotton. The editor of the Sikh Messenger, Dr Indarijit Singh, accused the BBC of an anti-religious bias: ‘Dot Cotton is an example. She quotes endlessly from the Bible and it ridicules religion to some extent.’
Religion in the soaps Neighbours (1) Neighbours was first broadcast in Australia on 18 March 1985 and is syndicated across the world. To date there have been over 7,000 episodes. It is based on the residents of Ramsay Street and the Lassiter’s hotel complex in Erinsborough, which is a fictional suburb of Melbourne, Victoria. Religion has been largely limited to weddings etc.
Religion in the soaps Neighbours (2) However, over its 31 seasons it has covered a large variety of social and moral issues including: abortion, adultery, alcoholism, gambling, imprisonment, incest, marital breakdown, pregnancy, prostitution, sexuality, stalking, surrogacy and teenage pregnancy.
Religion in the soaps Hollyoaks (1) Hollyoaks was first broadcast on Channel 4 on 23 October 1995. It features a youthful group of characters mostly between 16 and 35 and takes place in a fictional suburb of Chester. To date there have been more than 4,060 episodes.
Religion in the soaps Hollyoaks (2) With a largely young audience, Hollyoaks has been seen as an ideal vehicle for dealing with serious issues, many of which are affected by religious teachings. However, this has inevitably led to critical backlash.
Religion in the soaps Hollyoaks (3) These issues have included: abortion, alcoholism, bisexuality, cancer, child abuse, drug addiction, HIV, homelessness, homophobia, homosexuality, incest, interracial relationships, pupil/teacher relationships, racism, rape, religion, self-harm, STDS, suicide and teenage pregnancy.
Religion in the soaps Conclusion All of these soaps do tackle moral and ethical issues in their storylines and many charities have praised soaps for helping viewers to gain a greater awareness of real-life problems.