I absolutely love the soap genre - when it's done well it's as if you're watching the daily going's on of a real street or community and you really invest in the characters as friends - but certainly over the last 10 years the quality of the UK soaps have become absolutely dire.
* Too many episodes with poorly plotted and increasingly recycled storylines being rehashed to death * The rise in sensationalism leading to a complete lack of realism * Characters being rewritten overnight to shoehorn in the latest completely absurd storyline * Producers thinking the audience are dumb and letting continuity, characterisation and other standards slip * Too many characters floating around with no purpose or structure to their lives. This never used to happen
Anyone who was a fan of the soaps in the 90's when the great 'Soap War' started will remember what quality viewing they were. Brookside's ratings rocketed from 0.5 million to 10.5 million due to the amazingness of the Jordache plot. And EastEnders was regularly pulling in 18 million viewers an episode.
Now these shows are a joke. The demise of Brookside was an unheeded warning of what can happen to these shows if they take their eye off the ball.
I blame the 'Hollyoaksization' of British television. Hollyoaks is a training ground for many writers and behind the scenes folk who gravitate to other soaps. And with Hollyoaks being a complete cartoon of a programme - McDonalds for the mind - they take their infantile brains with them, polluting the other shows they work on.
But the worse fault of modern soap is: NOTHING IS OF ANY CONSEQUENCE. NOTHING EVER ACTUALLY CHANGES.
You can be shot one week and running the London Marathon the next. Your partner can die or be murdered but, don't worry, you'll be engaged to someone else in a months time.
There is no psychological impact of any of the storylines on the characters to make the shows worth watching any more. It's a lot of busy which amounts to nothing. I sincerely believe this is why people have switched off.
If nothing changes, the dramatic impact of any event is completely undermined. So why bother watching in the first place?
With something like Game of Thrones, the stakes are high, the consequences and repercussions of the characters actions resonate for series, and thus the drama is HUGE. Breaking Bad was the same and both shows have become seismic hits across the globe.
UK TV producers need to wake up if they want to save their shows. They need to "Break the Wheel" of their insular generic formats and start looking to the truth of real life for their inspiration.
People are still watching TV but they are more choosy with their viewing, now having greater choice. The more intelligent the production and respectful of their viewers, the more the investment from the audience.