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Tuesday 22 April 2014

Does prejudice towards soap actors still exist?

There are comments over on Digital Spy from former Coronation Street actress Sarah Lancashire on what she describes as a "ludicrous prejudice" towards soap actors.

Lancashire, who played the wonderful Raquel in Corrie for six years in the 1990s, has of course gone on to appear in a long line of successful television dramas since her departure. While the actress does not rule out a return to Corrie in the future, she does state that she sees soap operas as a good training ground before moving on to other things.

So do you agree with Sarah Lancashire that soap actors are not treated with the respect they deserve?

Does this prejudice still exist even though recent times have seen the likes of Katherine Kelly go on to great things? Also, would you like to see Sarah back in Weatherfield one day?

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Anonymous said...

I think that prejudice towards an actor playing a part for a substantial amount of time on a soap might predispose them to being 'type cast', especially in a country where there are only so many productions, and quite a bit of competition for actors wishing to appear in them.
When I think of former Corrie stars, I think they either end up in Panto, or doing something completely different from acting, or trying their luck overseas, or waiting for something to come up. It seems that only a small percentage of former soap actors obtain acting work, or work that they are happy to go on to.
Many people that comment on sites when they hear a soap star has left are quite cynical about their chances of obtaining acting jobs other than Panto, if that's what it meant by prejudice.

Rosie said...

Raquel has to be one of my all time favourites, so sweet and naive, her French lesson with Ken was hilarious and her special star with Curly was so touching, I was very sorry to see her go. But I've really enjoyed seeing her in other roles since and you can't blame actors for wanting to do something different. Maybe in the past soap actors weren't taken too seriously, but I think now we accept them as just actors. Famous faces have been brought in from time to time and that has given corrie a bit more clout.

Anonymous said...

Recurring soap actors tend to play themselves and not characters. While Sarah is one of few to demonstrate range post-Corrie, it is hard to imagine Katie Ford as Lady MacBeth or Michelle Collins as Blanche Du Bois. If soaps are such good training ground than why hasn't Bill Roache wowed us as Hamlet?

Humpty Dumpty said...

At one time, stage actors felt superior to tv actors so I can believe some tv directors can be sniffy about soap actors. It's a class thing; anything that's populist will be looked down on by some folk. Corrie, and I suppose other soaps, do seem to recruit on the basis of looks rather than talent, so it might be easy for tv directors to think an attractive, dippy character like Raquel would automatically be played by an equally dippy actor.

Anonymous said...

Suranne Jones has done well post-soap.

Anonymous said...

Of course soap actors are seen as inferior, soaps themselves are viewed as inferior to other forms of entertainment. Until soaps reach the same consistent purpose and quality of other television shows, movies and even radio, their actors will face continued prejudice.

Greg said...

I think it largely depends on the quality of the actor.

You only have to look at the success of Anne Reid. Valerie Who? ;)

Anonymous said...

Interesting comments that Sarah considers Corrie a “training ground” and sees “ludicrous prejudice" towards soap actors.

And what about those who were/are famous and well-respected -- you might even say "celebrity" -- actors for many, many years before appearing on Corrie? Andrew Sachs, Roy Hudd, Honor Blackman, Peter Kaye, Status Quo, Jimi Mistry, Ian McKellen, Norman Wisdom, Stephanie Cole, Les Dennis.

Even legendary actor Laurence Olivier wanted to be in Corrie! A classical actor!

AmandaB said...

Years ago (dont know if it hhappens now) those offered roles in a soap were 'warned' against the downside of taking the job because of the danger of type casting. At drama school I remember tutors stressing how working on a soap could be detrimental to your career.
Years later working in casting and as a theatrical agent I certainly witnessed evidence of industry prejudice against soap actors.
However from the perspective of a current soap actor it seems that it's a definite advantage as far as getting other work is concerned - remember when ex-soapers always ended up on The Bill and now on Casualty/Holby. Plus there's the 'I was in a soap, so I can now be a pop singer' syndrome which now has been replaced with 'I'll be a magazine celeb/ on a reality show' syndrome.

Frosty the Snowman said...

Not sure what Sarah is whinging about, she has done very nicely thank you on the back of Corrie and "Racquel".

Years ago luvvies wouldnt be seen dead in soaps but now are falling over themselves for a part.

Alliance of Legitimate Theatre Actors said...

Soap operas Are good training ground, FOR SOAPS. The style of acting is totally different. Plots are revealed in quick sound bites over months, so the actors have nothing to do but give ambiguous, concerned looks. When the plot is sensational( fire, explosion, serial killer) the acting is secondary. I am certain most of this blog readers could be fitted with a poor wig and given a role on Corrie. They would as well if not better.


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