WE ARE not big soap watchers in this house.

I like to dip in and out when there are big storylines as I hate to think I’m missing a TV moment. (See previous column on The Crown and Netflix impulse buy for added proof of this.)

The boys are not interested in the slightest.

“That theme tune music makes me want to run out of the room,” mutters the 12-year-old, echoing his father’s childhood sentiments, funnily enough, on the same programme (Coronation Street).

Recently, our dinner time conversation turned to the big American soaps of our youth, like Dallas and Dynasty. We tried to explain to the boys just how gripped the whole nation was with the likes of ‘who-shot-JR?’ – how it was all everyone was talking about, how we – along with 350 million others around the world who tuned in for the big reveal - couldn’t wait for the next week’s episode in the days before on-demand TV and full-on internet (“and electricity?,” suggests the 17-year-old, innocently.)

The power of soap storylines to hook the viewing public is nothing new, and of course, most of it is daft and unbelievable (Bobby Ewing in the shower, anyone?) and meant purely to entertain. In recent years, some soap storylines have come in for criticism for being too dark, putting their well-loved characters through ridiculously awful situations in a bid to boost flagging ratings.

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Sometimes, however, soaps, and TV in general, can be a force for good, raising awareness of an issue that affects viewers. BBC drama River City’s ongoing story about lawyer Poppy Patterson, who has become the victim of stalking, is a case in point.

Over the last few months, the writers have tackled a difficult subject with subtlety and care, something appreciated by anti-stalking charity founder Ann Moulds.

“Stalking is a psychological crime - it is the slow brutalisation of a victim’s world, which leaves them feeling helpless and frightened,” said Moulds, in my interview with her for the Herald’s sister newspaper Glasgow Times. “Many victims spend an inordinate amount of time trying to convince others that what is happening to them is real and they are scared.”

Rather than going for Dallas-style sensationalism, River City and actor Lindsey Campbell chose to unfold the story slowly over many months, reflecting the disturbing nature of most stalking crimes. That’s not to say it has not been shocking – watching normally assured Poppy as her mental health, work life and relationships start to crumble, has brought home the insidious nature of a crime often dismissed by those around the victim as paranoia.

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Moulds believes the storyline may even encourage more people to report stalking crimes, which would be fantastic.

At the very least, it has carefully and thoughtfully shone a spotlight on a dangerous crime that is still largely misunderstood.

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