Watching TV is a very popular pastime in Britain, but what kind of programmes do British people like to watch? Well, the most-watched TV programmes are dramas based in one neighbourhood that try to depict ordinary life. We call these dramas “soap operas” or “soaps”.
Most soap operas these days are shown in the evening. Each show will have several different storylines happening at once that continue over several shows. The same actors will appear in every show too. There are lots of different soaps on in the UK these days, but there are three main popular
Coronation Street has been on since 1960. It is set in a suburb of Manchester and it’s supposed to represent working class life in the north of England. Then there’s Eastenders, which started in 1985, set in the East End of London. And we should not forget Emmerdale, which is set on a farm in Yorkshire, in the north of England.
In the early days of TV, most of these daytime dramas were aimed at entertaining the housewives who would traditionally be at home, probably doing the washing. Companies selling washing powder would advertise their products at times when these dramas were on, and sometimes those companies would even sponsor the drama. Hence the word “soap”. So what about the word “opera”? Well, that’s because these dramas are often an exaggeration of real life. They are supposed to represent ordinary lives but, to make them entertaining, lots of dramatic events, like murders, divorces, affairs, etc., all happen probably much more regularly than they would in a normal neighbourhood.
I. READING COMPREHENSION
1.- Are the following statements TRUE or FALSE? Copy the evidence from the text. No marks are given for only TRUE or FALSE.
a) Every episode of the soap operas has one single narrative running through it.
b) All popular soap operas in the UK represent life in cities.
2.- In your own words and based on the ideas in the text, answer the following questions. Do not copy from the text.
a) What does the text say about the origin of the word “soap” in “soap opera”?
b) What kind of life and people do soap operas usually show?
II. USE OF ENGLISH
3.- Find the words in the text that mean:
- a) describe (paragraph 1): depict
- b) at the same time (paragraph 2): at once
- c) go on (paragraph 2): continue
- d) take place (paragraph 3): happen
4.- Complete the following sentences. Use the appropriate form of the word in brackets when given.
- a) “How often do you watch TV online?” “I do it at least four times every / a week.”
- b) My neighbour, who is a telly addict, is always watching the TV and can’t live without it.
- c) My husband loves watching / to watch (watch) TV, but he goes from channel to channel with the remote control and is unable to decide what / which / which one to watch.
- d) Before leaving / I left (leave), I asked Eric if he had watched (watch) last night's game.
5.- Write about 100 to 150 words on the following topic.
Which are your favourite TV programmes? Describe them and explain why you like them.