After a break of a few week’s our weekly poll returns and this week we are asking you which soap from the past you would like to see revived. As ever we’ve got an article to accompany the poll with a bit of information about each of the soaps within our poll – just to help you decide.
Crossroads: 1964 – 1988/2001 – 2003
Crossroads is the only soap in this week’s poll that has actually been revived once already; in 2001. The infamous Motel, later Hotel, soap set in the small Midlands village of King’s Oak – near Birmingham, originally ran for over 20 years and nearly 5000 episodes. For 17 years the central character, and main attraction for fans, was Meg Richardson played by Noele Gordon. While other characters such as Amy Turtle [Ann George], David Hunter [Ronnie Allen] and Diane Lawton [Susan Hanson] were popular with fans it was Noele Gordon’s Meg that really struck a cord with audiences. In 1981 Noele was shocking sacked from the soap and millions protested up and down the country to little affect.
In the soap’s heyday of the 1970s 18 million fans watched each and every episode lapping up the daily antics at the Motel. By 1988 the soap had dropped somewhat to 12 million viewers but was still popular and was in the process of re-branding itself Crossroads: King’s Oak. Central, then the producers of the soap, decided to drop the soap however and it ended in 1988. In 2001 though it was revived with production now in Nottingham and a lavish set with Jane Rossington, Tony Adams and Kathy Staff reprising their roles but the press wanted Paul Henry back as Benny – the producers weren’t so keen. Expecting instant ratings and not getting them ITV decided in 2002 to revamp the soap and it returned in 2003 as “Dallas at tea-time”. The “glam” version of Crossroads was axed after just eight weeks on-air because of declining ratings.
Eldorado: 1992 – 1993
Almost as infamous as Crossroads for its fluffed lines, wooden actors, wobbly sets and dodgy plots but as within the Motel soap Eldorado’s reputation is unfair. The soap was created by Tony Holland and Julia Smith for the BBC who had given the corporation EastEnders in 1985. The BBC were keen to cash in on the success of EastEnders and launch another soap this time though set in Spain and follow the lives of ex-pats out there. As an idea it doesn’t actually sound bad after all viewers would lap up the sun, sea and sexy characters, wouldn’t they?
While the idea was sound enough it’s execution wasn’t. The BBC rushed the soap into production after bringing forward its premier – scripts weren’t finished, sets weren’t ready and the actors had no time to rehearse and so a legend was born. Fluffed lines stayed in, sets were built around the actors, sound was terrible and the plots were fillers. Unsurprisingly very quickly the press savaged Eldorado and ratings dropped from 7 million to under 3 million. Then the BBC revamped the series bringing in a new producer who brought the script writers over from England, axed half the cast and raised standards. Eldorado had turned itself around in just a few months and ratings had returned to 7 million – climbing to 10 million – but new BBC One controller Alan Yentob axed the series. It was a decision he later regretted but Eldorado was an easy target and after a year the soap ended – with 12 million viewers.
Brookside : 1982 – 2003
Ah Brookside Close – the Liverpool cul-dec-sac where in its final years anything could happen. Literally anything could happen. Riots, sieges, plagues, murders, fires, cults, helicopter crashes, incest, bisexual gangsters – they all happened at some point on Brookside. When it first launched on Channel Four in 1982 its gritty nature was something new to audiences and ratings reached highs of 8 million as the soap really explored what life was like in Thatcher Britain.
But as the soap entered the 1990s it took on a more sensationalist approach in a constant bid to top itself, be more outrageous and get higher ratings. It started with the famous “body under the patio” storyline in the mid 1990s before progressing down a spiralling road of simply unbelievable plots as ratings dipped Channel Four became worried. They ordered a revamp to take the soap back into reality but instead producers dropped a helicopter on the Close and Channel Four pulled the plug.
Night And Day: 2001 – 2003
Launched in 2001 as companion to the revival of Crossroads in the departure of Home & Away from ITV; the thrice weekly soap was the first to be produced by LWT. It was set in Thornton Street, Greenwich, and within its first episodes 16 year old Jane Harper [Georgina Walker] disappeared prompting a Twin Peaks style mystery as audiences were left wondering what had happened to Jane, what made her disappear and if she was still alive. Night & Day was just as grounded in reality as Twin Peaks/Sunset Beach too with a series of bonkers plots and characters that confused tea-time audiences.
The sheer originality of Night and Day, its different style and approach was lost on tea-time audiences in Britain and ratings weren’t high. ITV decided to shunt the soap to a constantly shifting late-night slot where it died a death and was mostly forgotten about. It’s a shame because although it was completely bonkers it was also utterly addictive and had a very strong cast. In 2003 it ended with little fanfare as the mystery of Jane’s disappearance was revealed with deadly consequences.
Family Affairs: 1997 – 2005
When new terrestrial channel Five launched in 1997 they were hoping to bring back Crossroads but Central said no so instead the channel created its own soap; Family Affairs. Originally it was set in the Midland’s town of Charnman and revolved around the Hart family but one of its many revamps over its short run saw the Harts killed off and the town relocated as a Borough of London! Over Family Affair’s run it underwent at least five revamps all designed to boost ratings and new characters were constantly introduced.
Perhaps the most successful of the revamps was in 2003 when a series of new characters were introduced such as the Costello family – ratings rose and the soap was given several awards as the British Soap Awards. It came as a surprise to nearly everyone when Five announced in 2005 it was not renewing Family Affairs – the soap was undergoing yet another revamp the affects of which weren’t known.
If the soap of your choice isn’t on our list then please feel free to suggest it below! Perhaps you enjoyed the 1990’s Central soap Family Pride and would like to see that back? Or Granada’s Albion Market, Revelations, Out of the Blue, Castles, London Bridge, Canary Wharf or Honey Lane. Feel to get in touch with us and we may take a look at some others in the future.