As you’ve likely noticed, we’ve been keeping tabs on the Republican National Convention in the U.S., where things have been a little bit strange to say the least. Donald Trump was officially nominated for president, Melania Trump plagiarised Michelle Obama, and most recently, former candidate Ted Cruz got up on stage and essentially revolted against Trump’s candidacy (or at least refused to offer his support for the business mogul). It’s been a pretty bizarre week in politics!
But if you’ve been following closely, you may have noticed that another strange aspect of the convention has been the array of celebrities Mr. Trump has chosen to represent him. In particular, the convention has been mocked for roping in B-list actors (sorry, Scott Baio) and soap stars. Indeed, both Kimberlin Brown (now an avocado farmer, formerly of The Young And The Restless) and Antonio Sabato Jr. (of General Hospital) earned prominent speaking slots. To some who support Trump or love American soaps, these may have been compelling moments; but for the most part, the speeches seem to have been mocked, and the speakers either criticised or thought of as exceedingly random.
But let’s not allow these odd speaking choices to smear the name of the soap star! Sure, there’s a B-list association with most soap actors given that few of them ever transition successfully to film or other genres of television. But all over the world, and certainly in the UK, soap operas remain incredibly popular. So, in the aftermath of the relative humiliation of a few American soap stars, we wanted to highlight some of the standouts of the genre in the UK.
Elizabeth Estensen has become one of the most recognisable soap stars in Britain thanks to her lengthy presence as Diane Sugden on Emmerdale. Incidentally, this show might exhibit the ongoing popularity of British soaps more than any other given that it’s not only still on the air but has even inspired a few online gaming options—something more typical of ordinary television of film. Indeed, Emmerdale has its own bingo game online, as well as a few other casino options that appeal to all kinds of different audiences that have enjoyed the show. For her part, Estensen has been one of the anchors of this show, having joined in 1999 and remained a major character to this day.
Nick Pickard has been on Hollyoaks even longer than Estensen has been on Emmerdale, and has thus become a fixture of English television. A few years ago it briefly looked as if Pickard’s run could come to an end given that his character, Tony Hutchinson, was battling cancer. But that was resolved favourably, and when Digital Spy posted an interview with Pickard in the aftermath, the actor gave every indication that he would be a part of the show for many more years to come. Hollyoaks has had up-and-down ratings of late, but it appears that Pickard will be around as long as the show is.
Charlie Brooks is an example of a soap star who has made a transition to another genre, and it does happen occasionally. Even up-and-coming Hollywood stars like Liam Hemsworth and Margot Robbie got their starts in soaps, so it’s not unheard of; it’s just that usually a true soap star takes years to cement a place on a popular show, and then typically sticks around! But Charlie Brooks made a name for herself for years playing Janine Butcher on BBC’s EastEnders. According to Mirror (which also pointed to stars like Hemsworth and Robbie who have moved past soaps), she’s working on an American television show now.
Finally, there’s William Roache, the epitome of a genuine soap star. The man appeared as Ken Barlow in the very first episode of Coronation Street (one of the world’s longest running and most popular soaps) all the way back in 1960. And he’s still playing that part today. That’s a 56-plus year run! If that doesn’t demonstrate the commitment and passion of some of the actors in this genre, nothing can.
So, it’s worth remembering. In the age of the Antonio Sabato Jr.’s of the world bellowing angrily at circus-like political conventions, there are plenty of soap stars who deserve our respect.