eTV’s new soapie, Ashes To Ashes aired its first episode at 8pm on Tuesday, steering some attention away from SABC’s flagship soapie: Generations The Legacy. Now viewers are asking who will win in a battle of the soaps. BONGIWE TUTU reports.
Many Generations fans were shaken and discouraged by the departure of 16 of their favourite actors from the much-loved SABC soapie in August last year, due to salary disagreements with executive producer Mfundi Vundla.
But the salary spat and subsequent dismissals served up an opportunity for eTV to nab experienced and recognised actors for its own homegrown soapie.
Late last year Monde Twala, the director of eTV ’s channels division, told Sunday World: “South African viewers deserve the best television – eTV is brewing a brand new and spectacular 8pm line-up in the new year,” and the channel was rumoured to be targeting the 16 dismissed actors.
When the soapie launched on Tuesday viewers discovered that the telenovela stars four ex-Generations alums – Nambitha Mpumlwana, Maggie Benedict, Mandla Gaduka and Zenande Mfenyana.
Twala called it the regeneration of the 8pm slot. And a “re-generation” it is. Here are four cues that Ashes To Ashes has taken from Generations The Legacy:
1. The 8pm time slot
Many South Africans make it a ritual to eat supper at 8pm so that they can watch their favourite soapie at the same time. The question on many people’s minds now is which soapie they will turn to.
Actors can draw loyal viewers. Those who missed their favourite Generations actors can now catch them on the new Ashes To Ashes.
While both soapies explore the complexities and the formalities of the business world, their approach is different. Generations focuses on life around advertising and marketing businesses in competition with the Moroka family legacy, while Ashes explores the big business of funeral services in this country and follows the growth of Namane Funerals, a family business dealing in cars, catering and caskets.
Both soapies feature powerful matriarchs who, together with partners seemingly made from their left ribs, seek to protect their families. In Ashes the daring Mandlakazi Namane (Nambitha Mpumlwana) is partnered with Selogilwe ‘Selo’ Namane (Patrick Shai), while in Generataions the independent Karabo Moroka (Connie Ferguson) is partnered with Tau Mogale (Rapulana Seiphemo).
At its height Generations The Legacy drew 7.5-million viewers but that figure began declining immediately after the pilot. Twala is likely hoping that Ashes will take one more thing from Generations – its viewers.