Wednesday 6 August 2014

Producers Comments on various Soap Operas


Dominic Treadwell-Collins is the producer of the popular soap, EastEnders, being involved since 2005. He started as a story editor with the soap, prior to his career producing for the ITV show, Midsomer Murders, becoming the producer of EastEnders in 2007. His first characters he produced were sisters, Ronnie and Roxy Mitchell, that have been involved in major narrative on the soap, such as the baby swap incident involving Ronnie swapping her cot-death baby with Kat's, as well as Roxy a few years later, after Kat and Alfie's break up, becoming Alfie's new girlfriend. His most popular storyline with the audience of EastEnders was the story of Syed Masood, who struggled to come to terms with his sexuality following his faith, paired in a relationship with character, Christian Clarke. This is followed by the live episode of 2010 that he produced, titled, 'Who Killed Archie? whodunnit', that racked up ratings of 19.9 million cumulative viewers.
Treadwell-Collins was the producer of Eastenders from 2007 to 2010, later coming back 2013, intoruding new characters and axe-ing those bought in by the previous producer. He believed that the hcharacters involved were not able to fit in to the narratives he wanted to reintroduce, such as Kirsty Branning, Max Branning's secret wife, and Carl White.

"We watch a lot of telly, and we want to surprise the audience. We want to shock them. We want gasps. We want to tell stories in different ways. We want more secrets throughout the year. I love it when you watch an American show and you go wow and are thrown by the storytelling" Treadwell-Collins, D: Dominic Treadwell-Collins reveals Upcoming Plots 

Dominic has mentioned that his idea on attracting audiences is to give them a new twist on storylines, saying that “many shows sometimes fall back on the conventional narrative plots”. Soap Operas before 1975 were filmed with a live audience; however EastEnders decided that, as it wasn’t a stereotypical convention of a Soap Opera nowadays to produce a live episode, that by fulfilling this in 2010 he could attract a wider audience, boosting their figure of ratings from the average 8 million viewers to just under 20 million. Although this isn’t the first Soap Opera to do a live episode, it helped the show boost ratings as everyone was interested in the concept.

Treadwell-Collins has mentioned his utilisation of planning ahead, mentioning that he has “planned the tent-pegs between now and February 2015, our 30th anniversary”. Planning up to the 30th anniversary means that Treadwell-Collins is fully prepared for any storylines, and if any want to be changed they can. Giving this guideline means that they are aware of what is going to occur, especially for such a big event as their 30th anniversary, which he has already revealed is going to be “unmissable”, rumoured to be revealing the conclusion of the biggest storyline from EastEnders this year, Lucy Beale’s murder.

He also focuses on how certain soaps often focus their storylines around one specific character or group of characters for a storyline, only showing small narratives from the rest. However, he believes that what makes EastEnders so popular is that it focuses large storylines with a vast majority of characters at once, for example the murder of Lucy Beale, Stacy Slater’s return, Carol’s cancer story, all happened around the same time. This means that the audience are engaged throughout the programme, rather than just every now and again when the larger storylines are being shown; “It’s not going to be The Carter Show. It’s not going to be the Stacey Slater show. It’s going to be EastEnders. This show works best when there’s a bomb going off at the Vic and a Bomb going off at the Beales' and a bomb going off at the Brannings.”



Philip Capice was an American television producer, most notable as the executive producer the first nine seasons of soap opera Dallas. He is the longest runner in the executive producer role for Dallas and created some of the most memorable moments of Dallas. Capice began his broadcasting career at New York advertising agency Benton & Bowles in 1954 and then was director of special programs at CBS from 1969-74, where he developed its Charlie Brown and Dr. Seuss animated features, among other programming He is a multi-award winning producer winning:

· Emmy Award in 1977
· Peabody Award, 1977 and 1978
· Humanitas Prize in 1978
· People's Choice Awards in 1980 and 1982

It was a controversy that everybody thought that men were having better story lines than men and therefore did not show much of the women. Capice taking this criticism with a pinch of salt, he put forward numerous storylines and new cast and scenes that would create a better atmosphere for the women of Dallas. Other producers like Larry Hagman and Leonard Katzman did not agree as such with how the show was carrying on, despite the audience’s agreement of Capice’s decision. Philip was unfortunately executed from the role of executive producer of Dallas.

“Being a producer allows you to input your imagination freely into a TV Soap or film. However, to ensure you fit your imagination to the audience’s preference, now that’s another skill, very few people have. An audience is your success dangling in front of you… now if you don’t sing and dance and rub it the right way, you might as well say goodbye before you even start. What you must do is take a step back and analyse everything the public they see and adopt their favoured TV listings and connotations of the programmes and include that as subtly as you can. Now that, is how you please your audience” - Philip Capice

From this quote, we can see that Capice describes his audience as “your success” as if they are a money-making specimen (which technically for him we are) but it seems he wished to only tackle our needs for money and success, not pleasure. However he did listen to and analyse the audience’s preference from other TV Soap criticism and general public speaking, which is how he corrected the Dallas story lines by putting women more in the light than the men. He was quite devious when stealing other people’s corrections for his own improvements, almost like a magpie watching all the comments and controversy about the other programmes. Overall he took his role as executive producer seriously by gaining all enhancements from the audience.


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