At some panel event many years ago (I think it may have been a Museum of Radio and Television function), Victoria Wyndham (Rachel; AW) related how people coming up to her always said, "Oh, you're on my stories."
I gather it's a rather common way in which to refer to soap operas, but having grown up in a non-English speaking household, I'd never heard it until that night, and so it stuck with me.
It also resonated. Because to me, soaps are first and foremost stories.
Yes, I've had my requisite crushes on actors through the years, my couples that I "shipped" rather desperately.
When I came to work in daytime, first at E's Pure Soap talk-show, then ABC, then PGP, I even got to know many actors and to respect them not just for their work on-screen but also as human beings (it was awfully nice when I could enjoy both aspects equally; alas, it rarely works that way.)
But, first and foremost, to me it was about the story. Does this story hold my attention? Does it make me want to tune in tomorrow? Does it make me want to discuss it with other people and hear what they thought and how it would turn out?
Since starting to watch soaps in 1980 (Luke and Laura, what else?), I eventually went on to sample them all. And the reason was always story, story, story.
I have never turned the dial for a particular actor or couple. It had to be a particular actor or couple engaged in a great story. (It's also, I presume, why I initially dreamed up the concepts for Another World Today and Mindy's Twitter. Actors are wonderful, actors are great, I know whenever I've written a script, actors have inevitably brought more to it than I ever could have imagined, but, in the end, the story was still the driving force.)
But, maybe that's just me.
How about the rest of you?
What do you think is the most important and compelling aspect of a soap opera?
And while you're pondering the question, if you're interested in a glimpse into my deep, dark, just starting out in soaps past... check out the below Pure Soap clip. I'm the first... uh... victim.