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Last Updated: Monday, 13 September, 2004, 10:18 GMT 11:18 UK
US soap specials anger viewers

By Phil Mercer
BBC correspondent in Sydney

An Australian television network is preparing to cram hundreds of episodes of two iconic American soap operas into one hour specials to bring viewers up to date with programmes being screened in the US.

The decision to condense storylines from the past four years of Days of Our Lives and the Young and the Restless has infuriated fans in Australia.

Days of Our Lives stars rehearse in 1997
Fans want to see all the episodes
Many feel they will miss out on important turning points in the lives of their much-loved characters.

This will be a whirlwind journey through four years of mystery and romance from these long-running TV institutions where returning from the dead, possession by the devil and long baleful stares into the distance have entertained viewers for years.

'Fast forward'

Eight hundred and sixty-four episodes of Days of Our Lives will be brought together in one hour, according to an Australian newspaper.

If that is not enough, the following day almost 1,000 editions of the Young and the Restless will also somehow be squeezed into 60 minutes.

The aim is to bring viewers in Australia up-to-date with programmes being broadcast in the United States.

Cynics may well say these two American soap operas move forward so painfully slowly that not much will be missed when they are shown in this condensed form.

Australian TV executives have admitted the shows had become rather stale in recent times and the idea to fast forward so many episodes was the best way to capitalise on a new wave of popularity in the US.

Many die-hard fans here are not impressed and have insisted they feel disgusted and hard done by.

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