Hollyoaks’ main title sequence includes the listing of all characters involved within the soap. It shows each character through small snippets rather than a listing of names that are usually shown in the credits, presenting the characters and their story lines before the soap opera episode begins. This connects the regular viewers with the programme as it gives them a sense of familiarity, which is a stereotypical convention of a soap. This familiarity means that they are most likely to watch and engage with the narrative and characters before the episode even begins, with the title sequence also paired with an overview of what has been going on in the last few episodes to keep everyone up to date. Also, they update their title sequence regularly, with characters entering and leaving the show regularly to update their programme. As of this, often they will include the new characters in their opening scene before they are even introduced in to the show. This causes the regular viewers to wonder who the characters are, enticing them to watch more carefully for the introduction of the characters.
On the other hand, for those that do not usually watch the soap opera, it informs them on the cast before they have even watched an episode, showing each character in a series of events that portray their character; for example, Patrick Blake is portrayed wearing a suit looking in a mirror showing his high authority in comparison to other characters. This means that they feel as though they know a little about the programme instead of “blind watching” which occurs when the audience are not informed on anything to do with the programme. Pairing this with the plot overview at the beginning, it means that audience members are highly educated on what is happening in Hollyoaks, whether they have religiously watched it, missed a few episodes or never watched it before.
The opening sequence of Coronation Street sees the iconic street which it is set being filmed from different angles, presenting the well known set pieces, such as the Rovers Return and Norris' corner shop. Regular viewers are able to identify with the opening credits due to the familiar setting which is being portrayed, rather than the characters being shown, like in Hollyoaks. This means that, as the set never changes and has been based on the same road for the past 54 years, the opening sequence doesn't have to be updated as regularly as the Hollyoaks opening as they focus on the characters which are changing frequently to attract new audiences. The familiarity that viewers, even those that may not watch the soap, have with the setting lets them acknowledge what they are watching straight away before the soap logo has even appeared.
For those that do not watch the soap, as it has been on for a long time, the music that has never changed, only been tweaked, as well as the iconic scenery shown in the opening, they are able to identify this with the soap; the non-diegetic sound of the opening is one of the most recognisable sound motif for a soap opera, alongside EastEnders. This familiarity that people have when it comes to the long-running soap means that anyone can identify with it, and as those that don't even watch the soap have also heard it, they are aware of what is on at that time without them having to check.
Days of our Lives;
The opening sequence to Days of our Lives is different to both Coronation Street and Hollyoaks that both help the audience connect with the story plot, settings and characters involved, not showing any content of the Soap Opera in the opening. This connotes mystery which may influence some audience members to be more intrigued and watch the soap. The "animated" opening title seems to contrast with the function of soap operas, which are based around realism and current affairs; however the animation presented in the opening sequence suggests to viewers that the content of the programme is fiction.
The title is present from the beginning, presenting what the show is, only labelling without presenting content. This makes it difficult for those that are not aware of the content (those that have not watched the programme before) to connect with the show and start watching it from that point on. Therefore, it is clear that Days of our Lives is easily connected with their viewers who may not need prompting on the characters, settings and plot, like prospective viewers might need.
Home and Away;
Home and Away opens with a stereotypical look at what many associate with Australia, for example the beaches and surfing. The most recent openings have not presented the characters like they used to, however, like Coronation Street, they advertise the setting of the soap. Unlike Days of our Lives, Home and Away have always advertised their setting as well as frequently their characters, which helps them to link to their frequent viewers as well as advertise the soap to prospective audience members. The opening sequence for Home and Away is very similar to the opening of Hollyoaks, however with Hollyoaks presenting characters as well as plots, Home and Away focuses on setting as well as their characters. By involving these within the opening it makes it easier for viewers to identify with the soap; current viewers are able to relate to the opening as they are knowledgable of who the characters are as well as where the setting is; however this also advertises the programme to prospective viewers. By advertising the content of the programme through the opening credits it makes it easier for the audience to be more connected to the story plot and be less of a passive viewer and interact with the programme more.
Home and Away Opening Titles: http://www.backtothebay.net/credits/opening.shtml