Friday 18 September 1998
This is not necessarily a flaw of the format, even though its jerky jumpcuts make an assumption about the attention-span of its audience which is precisely the opposite of that made by soaps. I belong to that sector of the population who know too much about football, and I still found it possible to retrieve the odd nugget from The Truth about Footballers. But the cat is already out of the bag with soaps and their stars: the front page is routinely held for them, whenever one turns out to be an alcoholic, or an ex-con who did time for murder. (Yes, the above culprits appeared here, and no, none of them talked about their tribulations.)
The symbiosis between soaps and tabloids was illustrated by a video diary of that fleshy beauty from Emmerdale who has just started presenting You've Been Framed (and has thus put me in the unusual bind of finding myself pining for Jeremy Beadle). Her day at the office includes a paper stop on her chauffeur-driven way to the set, where she checks the red-tops for stories about herself. We needn't dwell on the monstrous vanity that daily habit implies, but merely note that the insatiable thirst for soaps has granted newspapers an ever-renewable means of shoring up circulation.
A pallid tour of the soaps' celebrity fans and its besieged sets was never going to do much more than reheat innocuous tittle-tattle. For the benefit of visiting Uranians, the documentary's shop-soiled findings may as well be recorded here. Unlike their characters, actors are not always cockneys/ Lancastrians/farmers. Some fans fill the void of their vacuous existence by obsessively recording and databasing soap plotlines. And the sets are usually made of reinforced plywood. Not unlike programmes like this.
I note with some trepidation that the format's next outing is The Truth about Sex.
The Shop (BBC1), a satisfyingly frank ramble around Selfridges, has now found its stars and is sticking with them: the camp salesman in Shirts and Ties, the vaudevillian furniture-buyer from Italy, the two larger- than-life female store detectives. Not long from now, every big institution will vet job applicants for tele-friendliness, pending the day the docusoap camera crew arrives. This week a presentation fascist turned up in the Ralph Lauren concession to tell staff how to fold jeans correctly. An employee rolled his eyeballs and confided that "big egos have to be sated: it's fashion, darling". He may one day be able to tell The Truth about Docusoaps how not long afterwards he was back on the job market himself.
After giving gay film R-rating despite no sex or violencefilm
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Mother fed her daughter tapeworms to make her skinny for beauty pageant
- 2 Crystal Palace next manager latest: Palace consider Ally McCoist - EXCLUSIVE
- 3 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 4 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 5 Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'
Jeremy Clarkson 'sees no problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
Lucy, film review: Scarlett Johansson will blow your mind in Luc Besson's complex thriller
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw
Miley Cyrus concert banned on morality grounds in the Dominican Republic
Coolio has sold his soul to Pornhub
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians