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.
elephant appealThe first 23 lots in our charity auction have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
newsFormer soldier taped 33 of the animals to the floor and then stamped on them one by one
Michelle Nijhuis' daughter insists (s)he is, and she learnt a valuable lesson on gender in books
Geoffrey Macnab reviews American Hustle, also starring Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper
news Opponents claim it would stop performers such as Beyonce and Madonna appearing on TV
It takes a platoon of chefs, litres of brandy and rum, and almost 100kg of dried fruit
newsThat most ancient of crimes is on the rise, threatening farmers' livelihoods, community trust – and human health
Arts & Ents blogs
Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
Justin Bieber isn't retiring from music after all: Pop star says he was 'messing around'
American Hustle, review: 'Jennifer Lawrence is brilliant as the neurotic housewife'
Justin Bieber's mishaps and controversies
Is Bilbo Baggins a girl?
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’ says UK evangelist
Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
Anachronistic and iniquitous, grammar schools are a blot on the British education system
- 1 America's 'virgin births'? One in 200 mothers 'became pregnant without having sex'
- 2 North Koreans are gasping for the truth: Let's give it to them
- 3 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 4 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- 5 Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
- < Previous
- Next >