Fans have hit back after a Radio 4 presenter has claimed soaps are becoming "impossible to either write or act".
Mark Lawson claims the likes of EastEnders, Coronation Street and Emmerdale are facing a "potentially fatal crisis" as storyliners are writing numerous catastrophe-filled plots in a bid to "keep diminishing audiences interested".
He told Radio Times magazine: "They risk becoming impossible to either write or act.
"Desperate to keep diminishing audiences interested, the storyliners pile catastrophe after crisis on the best-known characters.
"Because one of the historic strengths of the genre has been its strong central female characters... the logic that dictates the biggest events should happen to the major characters is that these women make the wives of Henry VIII seem relatively lucky."
Mark also insists there is an "especially concerning" frequency of female characters in soaps who have been sexually assaulted.
He added: "The frequency of sex crimes - many of the female characters in EastEnders have been raped at least once - is especially concerning."
But fans have hit back at Mark's claims.
Writing on a Digital Spy forum, one said: "Soaps were always 'leave your brain at the door' type television which were adapted to suit preferences of whatever period or era they were in.
"It is easy to say soaps were better in the 80s and 90s now as people are generally blindsided by nostalgia."
Another agreed: "Having watched a 90s episode [of EastEnders] recently, it wasn't better than EastEnders is now in my view, I just think that viewers expect more."
"The quality of drama and the production values on TV are generally much higher now which means that soaps compare less favourably," added a third.
A fourth said: "I feel they are just lost in how they wish to be recieved by the public."
Mark's comments come as Coronation Street are to explore an historical sex abuse plot involving Peter Ash's character Paul Foreman, who will come to realise he was groomed by his and Gemma Winter's (Dolly-Rose Campbell) step-father Kel (Joseph Alessi).
But Peter is hoping the hard-hitting storyline will raise awareness and insists it is an "important" story to tell.
He said: "People carry this through their lives and not even realise, they blame themselves until they realise that is was abuse and then that unleashes a whole new raft of emotions.
"When you are younger you do feel like you are older and in control and you knew what you were doing but that's not always the case.
"As horrific as the subject matter is, I want this storyline to raise awareness. It is important because it happens and so many people are affected by this.
"Coronation Street tackles issue-based storylines really well and as truthfully as possible.
"It's important for people to see it play out on television as people may see things and situations that they recognise and seek help."
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