S oap viewers will have noticed how much more we’re hearing the ‘If you’ve been affected by the issues raised’ announcements after broadcast. The offering of helpline numbers means they’re tackling important, challenging and controversial topics.
Soaps need to tread a fine line when reflecting modern life. Nobody wants to be preached to and, of course, they can’t lose sight of the fact their primary purpose is to entertain.
The subject of dementia has been handled with a perfect mix of sensitivity, emotion and humour by two soaps recently. In EastEnders there was no sugar-coating as Sylvie Carter was shown to be aggressive and unpleasant with her condition. In Emmerdale the gradual demise of vicar Ashley Thomas was heart-breaking and beautifully played.
This week in Coronation Street the Bethany Platt grooming storyline comes to a head, and no doubt debate will rage about whether it’s a suitable pre-watershed topic. I think it’s been one of the most realistic storylines Corrie’s ever tackled. And if it raises awareness, surely that’s to be applauded.