The History of Genre Soaps 1st started on Radio programmes in the 1930's in the USA. They came to England in the 1950's.
The idea of soaps came from sellers of detergent powder that were advertising it on the radio. They had the idea that if listeners developed a trusting relationship with those responsible for the radio entertainment then they'd be more likely to heed the suggestions of the producers about what detergent to buy.
The soaps were aimed at housewives because they would be the main audience, as they'd be at home doing the housework.
In the soaps there were lots of storylines running at the same time, consisting of stories about domestic life at home.
Short bursts of stories were used which reflected the busy life of the housewives. This also fitted in with their busy domestic schedule as they would not catch all of one episode, but it was easy to keep up as there were lots of different stories.
You wouldn't miss much of one single story as there were lots running at the same time which were woven into one another.
Soaps transferred onto televisions when they became popular in the 60's/70's and few soaps were left running on radio programmes. The Archers is one radio soap that was not transferred onto TV and is still running today after about 50 years.
Modern day soaps now still contain the basic element of when they first began but they have changed to take in and reflect modern society.
Men are now much more interested in soaps so they're tailored more so that they are interesting for them. Plus more women are going out to work these days and so there's less of a woman based audience.