I am not an expert on soap operas.
Herself likes to watch Coronation Street on occasions so I have seen a bit of what goes on in that one, and presume that all soaps are much the same.
Now a soap opera by my understanding is a sort of continuous story involving the various characters and families in a given area. To write a story line on that basis there has to be considerable interaction between the characters, and the usual place where this happens is the pub. If my memory serves me correctly, Coronation Street has The Rover's Return, Emmerdale has The Woolpack and East Enders has The Queen Vic? Correct me if I'm wrong not that it matters anyway. The point is that the pub represents the central point in a community where the locals meet. Or it used to be until the Nanny State stepped in and killed off half the pubs.
Now what goes on in a pub? Would I be right in saying the drinking of alcohol? If the story line has to bear any resemblance of normality, the bar staff are going to have to serve up pints and shorts. Would it not destroy any credibility if the customers only asked for pints of water?
That is precisely what they are demanding.
"the prevalence of booze and soft drink consumption in the Queen Vic and the Rovers Return, as well as a host of other dramas, is “shocking” and “unacceptable”, an expert has said"
Shocking? Unacceptable? Unacceptable to who?
Yes, another "charity" has sprung up across the water in the UK – the National Hydration Council [*stuffs fist in mouth and tries hard not to laugh*] – and it employs a "media psychologist" presumably to psychoanalyse media. And this psychologist reckons there is far too much booze on sale and it's "sending the wrong message" to all those dumb fucks who think a soap opera is real life. In the narrow little world inhabited by the National Hydration Council, anyone who watches a soap immediately goes out and reenacts all the scenes as soon as an episode is over.
Over the years, soaps have become more and more aggressive and controversial in an attempt to grab viewers. Murder is apparently commonplace, along with teenage pregnancies, abortions, fires [loads of fires], burglaries, suicides, plane crashes, train crashes, car crashes and general fun and mayhem, yet the one thing they are worried about is the amount of drink shown? I can only assume that it's quite OK then to commit arson and murder but not to drink a pint?
So there you have it. The three levels of reality.
The real world.
The fictional world.
And that strange world of the Puritan which exists in its own dimension and the only thing that matters is the hobby-horse of the day.