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As your esteemed television critic (well, I think so anyway!) who has always had a tricky relationship with British soap operas, or as some of my colleagues rather coyly call them - “family dramas.”

I have taken to wondering why they are not so popular as they once were. Might it be I wonder, that in the writers and producers drive to make them ‘relevant’ they have become a complete turn-off for many viewers.

Indeed, to watch EastEnders, Coronation Street or Emmerdale nowadays, you’ll need quite a strong stomach to endure the apparent sex and violence that has become a major ingredient in them nowadays.

Before you label me a complete ‘wuss’ and remind me that they are all screened well before the 9pm watershed that broadcasters are supposed to adhere too - and ask, what on earth is my problem?

All I can say is that it is not the violence per-se - but the implication of the same. Before you think me to be a latter day Mrs Mary Whitehouse, I have no problem with sex or indeed violence in the right context, but - with ‘soap’ audiences plunging could it be that this sort of modern drama doesn’t match the expectation of a soap audience just a decade ago?

It’s not that I want to go back to the days of Hilda Ogden, Annie Walker and Bet Lynch, but at least they made me laugh occasionally and they mostly didn’t run around with gangsters and all manner of wrong‘uns and go to jail on a regular basis.

I mean what would Ena Sharples have said! Go on, answer me that. I think what we are witnessing in modern soaps is a misunderstanding of what is expected of these day-to-day lives of ordinary people.

That’s it, their strength in the past was there ordinariness, there ‘everyday’ - the subtleties and banalities of everyday life. I wonder if those in charge of these programmes actually get the fact that viewers don’t want constant drama and over-excitement in their blessed soap operas, what they want is perhaps a reflection of their own lives enlivened by clever scripts and sympathetic characters that are true to life.

Whilst I’m on the subject of television and what we want to watch at any given time, it has to be said that there is no completely successful formula to be had that embraces all viewers.

Just recently I watched an excellent drama series called ‘Marraige’ - well, I thought so anyway. However, just as the critics were completely divided upon its worth, so it seems were the public.

Some claimed it was too slow and boring, others thought it completely ‘real’ in that there was a lack of witty repartee and long pregnant silences - hey, just like in a proper ‘marriage’ perhaps? I wonder in some small way that dramas such as this are undervalued because of their reflection of reality, rather than just dramatic effect.

One thing is for sure, very rarely do television dramas reflect the banality of most people’s lives, for to do that with wit and wisdom is no mean feet.