Popular television: part 3

Despite the success of the new reality TV shows, it is still soap operas that regularly attract the biggest audiences each week. The term 'soap opera' (always shortened these days to just 'soap' was created in the USA to describe early daytime radio and TV drama serials - then aimed at housewives - whose storylines were sentimental or sensational, and which were usually sponsored by the manufacturers of washing powder. Soaps in Britain have come and gone over the years as British society has changed. Brookside, centered on a housing estate in Liverpool, began in the 1980s and mirrored the social issues of the time Thatcherism and unemployment. It was very popular in that decade, but in the new millennium it gradually declined in popularity and its storylines became more outrageous. It was finally taken off the air in 2003. Other soaps have proved more enduring. The battle for the top of the weekly.TV ratings is always between Britain's two favorites - East Enders and Coronation Street. Both of these soaps are set in urban working-class areas; EastEnders in the fictional Albert Square in the East End of London, and Coronation Street in SUV the equally fictional town of Weatherfield - a suburb of Manchester. Both programs feature strong characters and well-written scripts that often deal convincingly with personal dilemmas and topical issues. The programs - each shown four times a week - usually have audience figures of 12-13 million, and are supposedly watched even by the Queen, EastEnders has been running since 1985, but Coronation Street is the soap champion Show continuously since 1960, it is the longest-running TV series in the world.

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