Soap Watch

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - NEWS - Jaci Stephen is away CLAU­DIA CONNELL’S ul­ti­mate in­sight into the week’s soaps

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.

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