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BBC Exec on why British Soaps are succeeding while US Soaps are dropping like flies!



There is a fascinating interview out today with John Yorke, BBC’s Controller of Continuing Drama and the man behind shows like EastEnders! Yorke was featured on BBC America’s website with a piece on his thoughts on the troubling US daytime dramas which are being now being continually canceled.  BBC1’s EastEnders, and ITV’1’s Coronation Street and Emmerdale do very well in the ratings in the UK, although the dayparts in which they are air is of help.  Most shows are aired in the early evening, as opposed to US soaps, which are specifically aired in the daytime hours.

In addition, and key here is Yorke’s shows are funded through Britain’s license fee, which is an annual payment that UK households must make for owning any television-receiving equipment, giving his programs an advantage over ad-supported U.S. content. Yorke  admits thought that there is still tremendous pressure to deliver a quality product while keeping costs low in Britain. Here are a a few excerpts from the interview!

Yorke on why US soaps are lagging behind the times on hot topics of the day while British soaps embrace them:  “I strongly believe that diversity is a gift to drama and we champion it endlessly. Every new ethnic, religious, or sexual group allows you the possibility of telling old stories in a new way, and viewers do seem to actually love characters irrespective of their backgrounds. The biggest story on British TV last year was a muslim wedding on EastEnders, in which the groom was unmasked as gay. I’m very proud of that, but it also demonstrates that we shouldn’t be scared of going into new worlds and telling stories in those worlds confidently!”

Yorke on how creativity may be stifled or quality of the product of the British Soaps when publicly funded by the license fees: “Well once upon a time it probably allowed us a certain leeway to re-shoot if things got wrong or buy our way out of trouble. But I’ve been in the industry for 20 years, in the commercial world too — and I’ve never seen a more disciplined system of cost control than we have here. There’s no waste: it’s all on screen, and we recognize that part of our job is to be the cheapest. That doesn’t mean the worst.”

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British soaps probably have a beginning, middle and end to their story lines and early evening placement on television..

US soaps have never ending story lines and horrendous timeslots. Most families here and in the UK have to have 2 incomes coming in. The British adjusts their soaps for optimal level of viewership. US executives don’t care about optimal viewership. All US executives care about is the almighty dollar.


My thought exactly! Soaps in US just like i’m watching theater! I think it makes things look fake not realistic at all. Needed

Oh sorry, something wrong with my lap top

I think the difference is poor management at the top of daytime TV in the U.S.. Brian Frons being a prime example of someone who knows nothing about entertainment, and apparently business management. The audience is there, it’s just that some people only know how to cut, and copy other channels’ shows they think will make them more money.

I’ve said goodbye to ABC prime time thanks to him, and when the soaps are gone, ABC will be taken off my remote.

Europeans in general do not have the same hangups Americans do. Race, religion and sexuality are celebrated and not discriminated against as they are here. Imagine its 2011 and the gay storyline on OLTL was a huge deal, give me a break. Besides, it seems that in England there is actual promotion of these shows ans they care about their viewers and tailor their stories to the demographics. Lets face facts, if the writing and production values are there, the US soaps wouldnt be losing viewers. I was a long time viewer of Guiding Light from the early 80’s until its demise. The last few years were a travesty. Storylines made no sense, they paid no attention to character history and the storylines were all plot driven. The writers and producers slowly killed the show.

All My Children

EXCLUSIVE: Jacob Young, Joan Collins and Nadia Bjorlin to Prague to Film ‘Murder Between Friends’

On Thursday night during the Michael Fairman Channel’s livestream interview centering around Jason Cook’s (ex-Shawn, DAYS and ex-Matt, GH) latest movie Four For Fun which stars Brytni Sarpy (Elena, Y&R) and Jacob Young (ex-JR, AMC, ex-Rick, B&B and ex-Lucky, GH), revealed another upcoming film project with some very familiar faces.

Jacob Young shared an exclusive that he is set to direct, produce and star in a Agatha Christie-like murder mystery feature film aptly tiled Murder Between Friends.

Speaking on the upcoming project, Jacob said, “I’m flying at the end of the March to Prague to direct, produce and star in a film with Joan Collins (ex-Dynasty). Nadia Bjorlin (ex-Chloe, Days of our Lives) is in it, and Toby Alexander Smith from Eastenders (ex-Gray Atkins). Plus, a couple of my Broadway friends and a very well known Czech actress (Hana Vagnerova).”

Photo: BBC

According to Jacob, the production start date is April 1st. He added on the premise of the film, “It’s very Agatha Christie sort of ‘Knives Out’ without having a hundred million dollars to shoot it, but still will be a lovely film nonetheless.” Young said the plan is to finish all principal photography by April 17th.

Photo: JPI

IMDb has more on the film. It shared that former All My Children star Trent Garrett (ex-Asher Pike) is listed as co-directing the feature. Mark Rozzano is listed as writer of Murder Between Friends.

So, what do you think about this upcoming feature from Jacob that will feature Joan Collins, Nadia Bjorlin et al? Share your thoughts in the comment section. 

Then below, check out the full livestream conversation with Jason Cook, Brytni Sarpy and Jacob Young on ‘Four For Fun’ and their notable soap roles.

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All My Children

Maurice Benard Reveals All My Children’s Lee Meriweather and Daughter’s Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

At the beginning of the latest episode of General Hospital star, Maurice Benard’s (Sonny Corinthos) State of Mind series, he delivered some heartbreaking news with a purpose.

Kyle Oldham, the daughter of former All My Children star, Lee Meriwether (ex-Ruth Martin), who previously made a guest appearance on Benard’s show, returned for a new interview which will be coming soon.

During their conversation, Oldham shared that her beloved mother has Alzheimer’s. Sadly, according to Benard, Kyle also revealed she has been diagnosed with the disease as well.

Photo: JPI

Maurice expressed, “We talked about her mother and having Alzheimer’s and it was an amazing interview. And then Kyle said, ‘I gotta tell you something. I have Alzheimer’s.’”

Apparently, Kyle has agreed to come on State of Mind, periodically as the effects of Alzheimer’s take a hold of her to help educate others. “We decided that she was gonna come in … she was gonna call me and tell me as she progresses,” Benard shared. “She was going to come in again so the audience could see with their eyes what Alzheimer’s does to someone.”

Benard’s guest for this current episode of State of Mind was Vernee Watson (Stella, GH), who along with Maurice, was part of the Alzheimer’s storyline on the ABC daytime drama series that saw Mike Corbin (Max Gail) eventually pass away.

Photo: JPI

As for Lee Meriwether, not only is she known for her role on AMC, but also for her roles as Catwoman in Batman: The Movie, and The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, and for the television series, Barnaby Jones, the New Andy Griffith Show and The Munsters to name only a few.

In soap operas, Meriwether was cast in The Young Marrieds years prior to her time on All My Children where she replaced Mary Fickett in the matriarchal role in the Martin family. She played the role from 1996-99, 2002-03, and 2007-11.

Meriwether’s daughter, Kyle Oldham, has been an actress and spokesperson herself through the years. She appeared on The Price is Right for over 14 years until she couldn’t anymore after going through multiple surgeries in her adult life.

You can check out the full episode of State of Mind with Maurice an Vernee below.

Share your thoughts on the sad news of both Lee Meriwether and her daughter Kyle Oldham, battling the effects of Alzheimer’s disease in the comment section below.

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All My Children

Soap Favorites Jason Cook, Brytni Sarpy and Jacob Young Visit the Michael Fairman Channel

On Wednesday night, February 28, Four for Fun, the movie written and directed by former Days of our Lives and General Hospital star, Jason Cook (ex-Shawn-Douglas; ex-Matt, respectively), which stars Brytni Sarpy (Elena, Y&R) and Jacob Young (ex-JR, AMC, Lucky, GH, and Rick, B&B), will have its premiere as part of The Golden State Film Festival.

If you’re in the Southern California area, tickets for the festival and to see Four for Fun showing at 7:30pm PT can be found here.

In the premise of the film, a dinner party between two couples experiencing eleven different endings, all of which points to the same conclusion – the best possible life comes from the one lived the most in the present. Sarpy and Young play one of the couples and actors Donovan Patton and Annika Foster, play the other.

Photo: FourforFun

After its premiere at the festival, on the next night, Jason, Brytni and Jacob will visit You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel for a livestream conversation about the making of the film, working with each other, and a discussion on their numerous soap opera roles and much more.

It all begins on Thursday night, February 29th beginning at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT. Make sure to join us in the live chat, so you can ask your questions and share your comments with this talented trio.

Photo: FourforFun

Check out the trailer for Four for Fun below, followed by how to watch the livestream interview.

Then, drop any questions you would like us to pose to Jason, Brytni and Jacob in the comment section, and we just might ask it live on Thursday night.


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Peter Reckell returns for a second visit with Michael Fairman following the wrap-up of his recent run as Bo Brady on Days of our Lives.Leave A Comment

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