Judge not – the story of soaps and telenovelas

Dear faithful readers,

my parents are on holiday. And my mum called me today and proceeded to inform me that my dad (of all people) has started watching soaps. After we had a good giggle at his expense (as one does) I had to see for myself what in the world is he watching. If it isn’t obvious I haven’t watched any soaps in a while. It seems he got hooked on Binbir Gece which seems to be a modern version of Scheherazade.

But just a few weeks ago a friend and I had a giggle at all the soaps that we used to watch when we were younger (OT but isn’t it astonishing how all twists and turns of the plot seem totally normal while you are into and make no sense at all in hindsight?!) So I’ll try and not be judg-y about it. Operative word being I’ll try :)

Be as it may – here are some of the soaps I have watched over the years. Feel free to chip in the comments with all of your favorites.

Rosa Salvaje

Rosa Salvaje was the first telenovela I ever watched. I just started learning Spanish and we used to ditch the class the watch the show. Which was sort of counterproductive but I remember we justified it at the time as preparation for our class trip to Spain. I do have to admit it made the communication with a group of Spaniards that were staying in our hotel a bit easier :) Rosa is poor with a kind heart and bit of a tomboy who falls in a love with Ricardo, a wealthy bachelor who also has a twin brother (of course he has a twin brother, they all do). Rosa Salvaje served as a template for many telenovelas to come. Which I’m not so sure is a good thing.

Santa Barbara

Oh Santa Barbara – now that shit had to be taped because heaven forbid if you missed an episode. There were Eden and Cruz (although I couldn’t quite understand Cruz appeal with his teary eyes and quivery lip) but I had a horrible crush on Mason (played by Lane Davies). Now he was hot. And grumpy.


I only watched bits and pieces of Esmeralda and even then mostly by proxy since my friend was into it so much. Children swapped at birth, Esmeralda is blind and of course years later they meet and fall in love much to the chagrin of their immediate family. You get the gist.

Escrava Isaura

Starring Lucelia Santos as Isaura, a white skinned black slave during the Brazilian empire Escrava Isaura was based on the 19th century book written by Bernardo GuimarĂ£es. Series was hugely popular and it aired in 80 countries worldwide (first soap to air in Russia and one of the first foreign programs to be allowed to be shown in China). I didn’t watch the whole bit but I did love the music for the opening credits.


Did you know Enrique Iglesias did the music for the opening credits? I’m sure you wouldn’t be able to live another day without that bit of trivia. Marisol is of course poor, she sells paper flowers to make ends meet and has a horrible scar she got from falling on a broken mirror as a child. She falls in love with a wealthy man Jose Andres who might or might not be related to her. Since I couldn’t watch Marisol during the week because of school I had to catch the re-runs on the weekend. And my grandad bless him manage to spoil the last 2 episodes for me. Tsk!


I don’t think there is one person growing up in the 80s who did not watch Dynasty. Please the Alexis – Krystle catfights alone were enough to make me tune in. I wrote about it once before – I remember watching the reunion episode and for the life of me I couldn’t understand why I watched Dynasty to begin with. But it was good at the time.

Home and Away

Home and Away premiered in 1987. And it is still going strong. I didn’t watch it for long but it was quite absorbing at the time. Another bit of trivia – Heath Ledger, Naomi Watts, Melissa George, Isla Fisher and Guy Pearce had roles on Home and Away. So did one stewardess from Oceanic 815 you might recognize.

The Bill

I only watched bits and bobs of The Bill when we got Sky. However it is one of the longest running police procedural/soap in the UK (it started airing in 1984). Recently ITV announced The Bill will stop airing in September this year.

Coronation Street

Coronation Street had to be included. It started airing in 1960 (!!!) and it still going strong. And when As The World Turns ends this year it will be the longest running soap in history. I can’t even begin to tell you about all the twists and turns of the plot but suffice to say it does get interesting. It is set in the fictional suburb of Weatherfield in Manchester .


Another British institution (Eastenders has been airing since 1985). It follows the daily lives of residents of Albert Square in Walford in East End, London. It has won a number of awards and it is considered as one of the most watched shows in the UK. On a sidenote – it is also popular with footballers for some reason.

So there you have it dear readers. So please share your favorite soaps in case you are watching any. Or what soaps were you into in the past. Or telenovelas. Don’t be shy, we are not judgy here at Couchslobs :)

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