Britain Loves EntertainmentReturning soap opera characters
Britain loves soap operas. Many of us have been watching soaps for years and years. We’ve grown up with the characters, shared their lowest lows and sometimes even seen them happy too. Yet on hearing “Dirty” Den Watts (pictured above) say “Hello Princess”, when by all accounts he had been dead for the past 14 years, we all get a bit giddy. So, why does Britain love returning soap characters so much?
They remind us of our youth
Much of our loyalties to certain soaps begin in our youth, with hours spent catching up with the omnibus on weekends because of a crush on Brookside’s Beth Jordache. So, when old characters from years back pop up again it is a great flashback to a simpler innocent time of searching for Walford East tube station on the London Underground map.
We could never accept the actor as anyone else
Often a beloved soap character would tire of the daily grind of soap land and go off to try their hand at “real” acting. Yet they are always so embedded in your mind that you can’t quite accept them in a dodgy costume drama. As soon as they emerge on screen you think, “Oh, there goes Grant Mitchell.” So when they return to the soap all seems right with world.
Their return brings us together
No matter how much the generation divide can frustrate chitchat between you and your grandparents; you can guarantee an articulate conversation about a soap character with your Nan.
“Did you see that Leanne Battersby turn up as a belly dancer, Nan?”
Suddenly she’s lucid and animated after years of being made to sit in a chair in the corner at Christmas.
We get intrigued when a new actor comes in
In many circumstances completely different actors play returning characters in soaps. Surely this would cause a problem? Not for us. We are so keen to see these characters return that we are happy to pretend that Lucy in Neighbours or Sam in Eastenders have just had a bit of work done while they’ve been away.
They bring the best storylines with them
The return of an old soap character tends to lead to a new thrilling storyline. Often a soap that has been dawdling along amid half-hearted narratives suddenly blasts into life with a gangland story involving shoot-outs, explosions and low-level swearwords. Returning soap characters are the best. They remind us of our youth, get us chatting to our grandparents and make our soaps great again. Now, if only they could bring Wellard the dog back from the dead…
Who’s your favourite returning soap star?
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By Tom Greaney