Sunday, 18 July 2010

Warning - Don't go and live in a "soap" street

After the "Bias in Eastenders" talk yesterday, I have been reading a study by the British Medical Journal (like you do ! ) who's objective was "To measure mortality among characters in British soap operas on television. "

(with thanks to the Ugley Vicar blogspot for discussing the subject and the BMJ http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/315/7123/1649 )

I am finding the subject of people's responses to soap operas quite fascinating and thought you might be interested in the Key Messages from the analysis.

"Characters in soap operas lead very dangerous lives
Their lives are more dangerous even than those of Formula One racing drivers or bomb disposal experts
People suffering from many forms of cancer and other serious diseases have better five year survival rates than do these characters
Could the exaggerated portrayal of these violent and dangerous lives be contributing to our distorted national perceptions about violent crime and death? "

It seems that the best way to get viewers to watch soaps is for them to show issues that are as violent, depressing and upsetting as possible. Is this what we now class as "entertainment" or are our perceptions becoming distorted as the question suggests? With the Raoul Moat situation following his death and the Facebook pages, it seems that society is becoming more "disturbed" than ever.
Is it ?