July 10: Soap roles keep actors working and off benefits

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From: Mr E Grainger, Botany Way, Nunthorpe, York.

I AM sure that The Yorkshire Post’s readers will have nodded in agreement with Sir Bernard Ingham’s assessment of TV soap operas as offering viewers a view of “society’s decay” and that in particular that Emmerdale and Coronation Street are both “dens of inequity mostly infected by an immoral, conspirational bunch of low-life not averse to violence”. He adds rather eloquently that “they are no advert for the Northern Powerhouse, more the Northern madhouse (The Yorkshire Post, July 1).

That may be so, but these considerations are what the viewers want, or they would switch off in their thousands.

The fact is that the soaps provide a valuable source of acting work to actors and actresses who would otherwise be at a loss to know where 
the next acting job was coming from.

Fifteen years ago, the acting profession was exclusively the domain of the more fortunate and well-off.

When my own son Neil, after appearing almost daily in Crossroads for 18 months, did get acting work with Sir Alan Alan Ayckbourn at our very own Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough, he was taunted by the others about having been in a TV soap opera. Not real acting, they said.

Now all TV soaps are considered to be an essential layer in the profession to provide much-needed employment.

Indeed, in those 15 years a number of well-known actors and actresses have filled our screens and have been grateful for the work they provide.

From: M Preston, Austwick, Lancaster

YOU can be sure of a common sense view from Sir Bernard Ingham and he has hit the nail on the head with this remark: “Real poverty these days lies in the quality of the family unit. Children have the best chance if life in their family home is loving and stable and inbuses them with the work ethic.”

I would emphasise in the last line, some of you would have no chance of them appearing at any work on a regular basis.

Get tough on planning

From: Bob Watson, Baildon.

NATIONAL Park chiefs have warned that anyone who, for example, builds an extension in their area without planning permission will have to pay the costs of dealing with the breach. (The Yorkshire Post, July 7). Quite right too.

However, this raises a much wider question that really needs to be properly addressed. It is quite obvious from reading the Press that there are numerous requests being made on a daily basis for retrospective planning permissions.

Surely all such retrospective applications should be subject to a punitive charge on the basis that building work has been undertaken without the proper approval firstly having been sought?

This charge is vital to concentrate minds somewhat better on what is required, and to put a stop to these unwelcome breaches of planning laws. At the moment, we are far too soft on virtually all examples of this sort of planning breach.

From: Mr H Hyatt, Leeds.

RE the controversy over Heathrow Airport’s expansion (The Yorkshire Post, July 2). Many countries bordering the sea have built their airfields over the sea. This country could do the same by building over the River Thames.

Hot air over weather alert

From: John Springer, Ivy Bank Close, Sheffield.

I FIND it really difficult to deal with completely fictitious statements about our authorities’ reaction to extreme weather as compared with countries in which such extremes are normal.

The headline contributor in your recent Feedback column – smithstv – claims that France takes no notice of extreme heat forecasts but “just gets on with it”.

After the widely-reported deaths of several thousand elderly and other at-risk people in unusually hot weather some years ago, the French have regularly issued very strong warnings about forecast hot weather conditions.

Thank you Nanny for telling me I may be in danger and offering some advice.

From: M Whitaker, Harswell.

I WAS horrified to read recent reports of a planned school trip to Barbados, and even more by the obscene cost.

In 1942, our geography teacher (a Yorkshire woman) took a class to Kirkby Malham, where we stayed at a youth hostel and were instructed in map reading, geology, bed-making and domestic chores.

We were taught how to use our initiative and work as a team. We walked miles and got blisters on our feet!

By the age of 14 we could organise our own YHA trips to North Wales, but best of all was a stay under canvas in Oxfordshire to help with the harvest.

Land Army girls showed us the ropes and we wished we had dungarees. We saw our first ferrets and I learned how to drive a tractor.

We ate in a marquee and after dinner sang songs as I played the organ that had one pedal broken.

I returned home with one leg over-developed.

We were happy even though horses ate our chocolates and we had to bathe in saucers.