Seen in Passing: Tragic Soaps?

The incipit of a radio column in the Scotsman:

Is Dot Branning a one-woman Greek chorus? Might Sophocles, not averse to a goblet of wine or two, have drawn inspiration at the bar of the Queen Vic? In OedipusEnders, comedian and self-confessed closet classicist Natalie Haynes discovers that ancient Greek tragedy and TV soap operas have more in common than might meet the eye. She meets soap scriptwriters and academics to consider this unlikely sounding thesis. Both genres, she argues, tend to focus on families under pressure, both make it their business to confront audiences with social taboos – and both, she adds, seek to attract large audiences. Talking to the likes of John Yorke – current head of BBC Drama and a former executive producer of EastEnders – and other writers and producers involved in Brookside and The Bill, she is assured that the spirits of Sophocles and Aeschylus hover around soap script conferences more frequently than you might imagine.

Not everyone agrees, however, and Barrie Rutter, artistic director of Northern Broadsides Theatre Company, currently touring with Euripides’s Medea, reckons that any perceived link between the two genres is rather spurious …

via Radio listener – The Scotsman.

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