Laurie Taylor column

October 12, 2007

"Southampton University is offering its academics media training so that their work is known and appreciated and they are seen to contribute to life, not just academic research." The Times Higher , October 4.

Right, Professor Lapping. Imagine that I'm Dermot Murnaghan and this is BBC One's Breakfast show. Are you ready? Here we go. "The time is 8.36 and in a moment, the weather forecast for your region. But first... We all love soap operas, but could it be that some of us don't merely watch Coronation Street and EastEnders but try to make our own lives resemble them? This is the provocative suggestion made by Professor Gordon Lapping of Poppleton University in a new research article. Gordon, you're suggesting that we turn our own lives into soap operas. How?"

Well, it's not as simple as that...

Cut. Sorry, Lapping. Got to stop you there. If you're going to be on television, it has to be as simple as that. And action!

You're suggesting that we turn our own lives into soap operas. How?

Well, there are three main points...

Cut. Never tell the viewers how many points you're going to make. It could fill them with dread. Action!

You're suggesting that we turn our own lives into soap operas. How?

Well, in my opinion...

Cut. We know it's your opinion. That's why you're in the studio rather than anyone else. Action!

You're suggesting that we turn our own lives into soap operas. How?

When some people have a difficult time in their lives they don't go to counsellors or therapists but ask themselves how characters in soap operas might have behaved in similar situations.

And cut . Very good. A big improvement. Now, just one small matter of presentation...

You mean?

That's right. On the next take, could you possibly throw caution to the winds and come out from behind the sofa? And action!

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