Histories and New Directions: Soap Opera & Serial Narrative Research

Monday 10 July 2017, 9.30AM to 6.30pm

Organised in association with the Northern Television Research Group, the Department of Theatre, Film and Television is delighted to welcome Dr Helen Wheatley (University of Warwick) as keynote speaker and Christine Geraghty (University of Glasgow) as roundtable chair of the `Histories and New Directions` symposium on soap opera and serial narrative research.

When the last radio serial exited the media landscape in 1960, daytime serials, widely known as soap operas, were already established as part of popular television programming. Despite the prediction that television soap operas would fail, over the years, television serials proved to be among the most successful and profitable programmes in the US, the UK, and Australia as well as in non-English speaking countries.

Television as a popular media form is now competing with other media, such as web, social network sites, video games, comics and manga and mobile communication forms. These cultural changes are influencing different television genres, including soap operas and other serial narratives. There is a strong relationship between the nature of storylines and how they are told and the success of serial narratives or soap operas or how they are received by the audience. Understanding the reasons behind the genre’s popularity or decline in some cases is important to determine its future directions.

This symposium will explore and trace the many intriguing intersections and overlappings of the past, present, and future of serial narratives and soap operas.

Papers to be presented:

  • Kristina Graour, University of Cape Town, ‘Structuring a Symphony: Analysing the Role of Characters and Communities in Serialised Television Narratives’
  • James A. Zborowski, University of Hull, ‘What Distinguishes British Soap Opera from Other Forms of British Television Drama? Notes Towards a Social Poetics of Television’
  • Tom Cantrell, University of York, ‘Acting in Soap Opera: Narrative Flux and Character Development’
  • Sofia Rios, University of Warwick, ‘Making the Heart Grow Fonder: the Transformation of TV Azteca’s Telenovelas’
  • Mita Lad, Edge Hill University, ‘An Introduction to Prime Time Hindi Serials on Transnational Indian Television’
  • Fiona McAllister, Senior Script Editor at ITV, `Emmerdale`
  • Faye Woods, University of Reading, ‘Death, Memory and Deep Narrative in EastEnders’
  • Katie Crosson, University of Warwick, ‘Contemporary Soap Opera Pleasures: Imagining the Future of Coronation Street’
  • Ahmet Atay, University of Bournemouth and Wooster College, ‘Present and Future Direction of the Soap Operas in the UK and US’

The symposium will conclude with a roundtable conversation on the case of Fair City with Dr Brigie de Courcy, Executive Producer of Fair City (former Senior Story Producer of EastEnders) and Dr Kevin McGee, Lead Writer for Fair City and Dr Kristyn Gorton, Reader in Film and Television, University of York.

Histories and New Directions Symposium Programme (PDF  , 279kb)

Admission: FREE, please register online until 5th July 2017.

Location: Holbeck Cinema (TFTV/116), The Department of Theatre, Film and Television, University of York Campus East, Baird Lane, Heslington East, York, YO10 5GB