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Soap Dramas and Their Lack of Real World Issues

Updated on May 17, 2015

What do I mean?

Well, you see today, Christmas day, all of these soaps playing happy families with the exception of Coronation Street where a drug addict mother has just been dumped.

With the exception of Khali Best, the former Eastenders star who played Dexter Hartman, there are no characters representing the real youth of city society, instead it depicts the fake happy families on the square.

The rising interest and awareness of homelessness in the United Kingdom, perhaps sparked by my radio interview aired on BBC Radio on Monday morning, there is still an abundance in storylines which depicts homelessness and drug addiction, alcoholism and other real world issues like racism, homophobia and ablism.

Don't get me wrong, I understand the soap dramas are just TV entertainment but this media category has a massive ability to raise awareness, they know this themselves when they put the "If anything during this show has affected you, please call..." notice, and as can be seen here, they do offer support for a wide range of real-world issues from family issues to birth to coping with grief and to death.

How much more do you want to see real world issues depicted in soaps, rather than fairytales they repeat again and again?

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With the rising number of homeless households within the UK, it is fair to say that we may well soon be seeing homelessness in the soaps more often, rather than the predictable "Oh no, I've lost my home, I will stay at someone else's house who I barely interact with in this drama."

But what we do need more of is more awareness being raised for rough sleepers and drug addicts. Maybe a storyline of homelessness followed up by a real-time downward spiral of social angst, depression and eventual drug abuse and then even a storyline depicting the road to recovery rather than sending the character off to rehab to come back 6 months later absolutely fine. This DOESN'T happen.


One key real world issue which was depicted in Eastenders was the coming out of Danny Dier's onscreen son who's mother struggles to come to terms with the fact her son is gay.

Danny Dyer, making the most onscreen appearances this year compared to any other character's screen appearances in a year in history, also being one of the most famous characters in the soap and a successful film star has helped raise awareness ten fold compared to had it been a lesser known character.

Unfortunately, for a homelessness storyline to be really effective, it will have to happen to someone nobody cares enough about to step in and prevent it from happening or it should happen to a character with so much pride they refuse any help.

Let me know in the comments your opinions. Should the soaps finally film a real-world homelessness story rather than a predictable storyline where in the end, they lived happily ever after?


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