TV Soaps Should Show More Hangovers, Says Alcohol Charity

08/12/2010 11:57 | Updated 22 May 2015

Whether or not you're a fan of TV soap operas, you've got to admit the characters that inhabit them spend an awful lot of time in the pub. And now alcohol awareness charity Drinkaware has criticised soaps for not portraying the realistic negative effects of drinking - in other words, they don't show people having hellish hangovers often enough.

ITV/Rex Features

The charity examined six weeks' worth of episodes of Coronation Street, EastEnders, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks. During that time, they spotted 383 scenes that involved characters drinking alcohol. But only 12 scenes featured anyone suffering from a hangover.

There were also 162 instances of characters drinking more than the recommended daily unit guidelines for alcohol in one episode, but less than 1% of screen time depicted either hangovers, crime or anti-social behaviour.

So while soap operas are pretty good at portraying how and why the nation drinks (that is, in a social situation or to relieve stress), the only times the harmful effects of excessive drinking are portrayed are when there's a storyline specifically associated with alcoholism.

The problem with all that, says the charity, is that young people who watch the soaps may not associate alcohol with negative consequences, including short-and long-term health problems.

But can you guess which soap featured the most boozing? Forget the Queen Vic or Rovers Return, the Woolpack in Emmerdale was the most highly frequented soap pub during the charity's six-week study, with the show averaging eight drinks consumed per episode.

Do you think soaps should be more socially responsible?

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