There are so many programmes masquerading as soap operas these days that you’d be forgiven for thinking that ‘continuing dramas’ had taken over the schedules.
The truth is that we’re always fascinated by the lives of other people and enjoy that little voyeuristic moment where we can look in from the comfort of our own sofas.
In my opinion, a soap has to be close enough to real life for us to identify with it, but far enough away that we still feel like we’re escaping for a while.
Whether you want to admit it or not, Downton Abbey is a soap, Call the Midwife is a soap and Waterloo Road is a soap.
Real people, real situations and an ending that makes us want to tune in next week.
The BBC have raised the bar though with a new soap that airs on Monday evenings and, I’m not ashamed to say, I’m totally and utterly addicted.
Penguins – Spy In The Huddle is television at its absolute best.
On paper it’s just a bunch of cameras following a bunch of penguins around, but the expert narration from David Tennant and remarkably clever use of music turn it into a drama no different to EastEnders or Corrie.
In episode one we were treated to the cliffhanger of a group of a humboldt penguins trapped between a pack of sea lions and a flock of vampire bats, while in the second episode it was touch and go whether a new generation of emperor penguins would survive the harsh winter.
I’ve always loved penguins and I’m surprised there are still new ways to explore their excellence on TV, but Spy In The Huddle is amazing and reminds me we do quality programmes better in this country than anywhere else in the world.
If you haven’t seen the show yet I recommend you put on episode three next week, or I’m sure it’ll be out on DVD at some point – if you fancy p-p-p-picking one up...