A soap opera, soap, or soapie, is a serial drama on television or radio that examines the lives of many characters, usually focusing on emotional relationships to the point of melodrama. The term soap opera originated from such dramas being typically sponsored by soap manufacturers in the past, the first serial considered to be a soap opera was Painted Dreams, which debuted on October 20,1930 on Chicago radio station WGN. The first nationally broadcast radio soap opera was Clara, Lu, and Em, a crucial element that defines the soap opera is the open-ended serial nature of the narrative, with stories spanning several episodes. One of the features that makes a television program a soap opera. While Spanish language telenovelas are sometimes called soap operas, telenovelas have conflicts that get resolved, but with soap operas each episode ends with a promise that the storyline is to be continued in another episode. You spend more time even with the characters, the apparent villains grow less apparently villainous. Soap opera storylines run concurrently, intersect and lead into further developments, each episode may feature some of the shows current storylines, but not always all of them. Soap operas rarely bring all the current storylines to a conclusion at the same time, when one storyline ends, there are several other story threads at differing stages of development. Soap opera episodes typically end on some sort of cliffhanger, evening soap operas and those that air at a rate of one episode per week are more likely to feature the entire cast in each episode, and to represent all current storylines in each episode. Evening soap operas and serials that run for only part of the year tend to bring things to a dramatic end-of-season cliffhanger, the article explained that at that time, many prime time series lost money, while daytime serials earned profits several times more than their production costs. Fitting in with these characteristics, most soap operas follow the lives of a group of characters who live or work in a particular place, the storylines follow the day-to-day activities and personal relationships of these characters. These elements may be found across the gamut of soap operas, Due to the prominence of English-language television, most soap-operas are completely English. In many soap operas, in particular daytime serials in the US, Soap operas from the United Kingdom and Australia tend to focus on more everyday characters and situations, and are frequently set in working class environments. Many of the soaps produced in two countries explore social realist storylines such as family discord, marriage breakdown or financial problems. This diverges from US soap operas where such comedy is rare, UK soap operas frequently make a claim to presenting reality or purport to have a realistic style. Romance, secret relationships, extramarital affairs, and genuine hate have been the basis for many soap opera storylines, in US daytime serials, the most popular soap opera characters, and the most popular storylines, often involved a romance of the sort presented in paperback romance novels. Crimes such as kidnapping, rape, and even murder may go unpunished if the perpetrator is to be retained in the ongoing story, Australian and UK soap operas also feature a significant proportion of romance storylines. In Russia, most popular serials explore the romantic quality of criminal and/or oligarch life, in soap opera storylines, previously unknown children, siblings and twins of established characters often emerge to upset and reinvigorate the set of relationships examined by the series
Leah Thys, actress in the Belgian soap Thuis. At the back Peter Rouffaer is visible.
A scene from EastEnders on Christmas Day 1986, watched by 30.15 million viewers. The story, in which Den Watts served his wife Angie with divorce papers, was the highest-rated soap episode in British history, and the highest-rated program in the UK during the 1980s.