Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Manna from heaven

Sometimes I just can't believe my news-luck. Just when I was getting depressed and, yes, even jaded by the prospect of writing about another advertorial, or another Family First/Sensible Sentencing puff-piece, the Herald drops an article of pure delight on my news-lap. Today's front page has a story - yeah, that one there, below the big fish - entitled, "Days look numbered for long-running soaps".

As you may suspect, I have no interest in soaps - but I'm not beyond recognising that other people do care. In much the same way as people evidently care what colour their supermarket is, I can imagine the distraught faces of despairing friends and family as they learn that Shortland Street is being canned. In a rare show of generosity, I would even be willing to allow such a story to share the front page with actual news. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your viewpoint) this isn't the case today.

Like sands through the hourglass, time is running out for two of New Zealand's longest-running soaps.

But plans by Television New Zealand to pull the plug on afternoon dramas Days of Our Lives and Young and the Restless are not going down well with fans.

I see. I guess that's not quite what I expected from a front page story. But do tell me more about this upcoming fan revolt:

Dannevirke retail manager Lorraine Scott-Wilson [...] is trying to drum up support on community forums on Trade Me, and has been seeking advice from fans who campaigned to keep Coronation Street when it was threatened.

She has also contacted Sky Television to see if it would be interested in picking up the shows.

It isn't.

How unreasonable of them.
Other fans have also started Facebook campaigns to save the serials.
I did a brief search on Facebook to verify this. I found one group with 104 members, and one with 40; another, possibly a militant extremist faction, had three. Of course, I suspect that the target demographics for Days of our Lives and Facebook are separated by, oh, 40-odd years, so TVNZ chiefs ought to be wary of reading too much into my research.

After appealing in vain to a TVNZ spokesperson, the reporter returns to Mrs Scott-Wilson's valiant but doomed rear-guard action. What should people, hungry for news and reading the front page of New Zealand's premier newspaper, know about the shows?

"Some of the characters irritate me ... but they pick up on topical subjects - at the moment it's drink driving."

They also added a touch of glamour to lunchtimes and offered a little eye candy to boot, she said.

"You sit there and think 'I'd love that dress.' There's some real dishes there too. Bobby Marsino - from Young and the Restless - is very attractive.

"Bobby's a bit tangled up with the Mafia. He's trying to go straight, though, with his new wife, who's pregnant. Who wants to miss that?"

I can't tell if the journalist has tongue firmly in cheek here, but it probably doesn't matter either way: if she's taking the piss, that probably doesn't belong on the front page either. Meanwhile, stories about perk-busting, cost-cutting ACT MP Roger Douglas publishing a book on the public purse and the Government allegedly planning to use the army as scabs if disputes with the prison officers' union aren't resolved get buried in the middle of the section.

Maybe I should start a Facebook group.


  1. Actually the demographics of facebook are rapidly shifting upwards. Over 40s are joining faster than those under 40.

    Not that this means anything. Anyone can start a facebook group, just like anyone can start Family First, hold an annual meeting and see 100 people turn up, as happened recently.

    What mandate does that afford?

  2. Yikes!! The militant extremist faction now has 5 members, at this exponential growth rate they will be able to force a referendum on the issue in a few days! :(

  3. It appears I may have overplayed the exponential growth of the extremist still sites at 5 and thus they unlikely to be able to force a referendum anytime soon.

    This "Tight 5" may resort to extremist measures but their need to maintain operational secrecy is likely to now inhibit the uptake of any new members, without those people having first committed an "entry level" crime to convince the die hards of their devotion to the cause.

    The middle of the road apathetic group have lost their admins are now rudderless are likley to splinter further.