Cape Town – SABC2's Afrikaans language weekday soap 7de Laan has dumped its iconic Soweto String Quartet theme song for a new opening theme which was introduced on Monday evening.
The iconic violin-infused Louis van Rensburg composition has been dropped by Danie Odendaal Productions which makes the soap for the public broadcaster's SABC2 TV channel, as well as the soap's well-known opening sequence of nostalgic sepia toned Melville shopfronts changing into modern day retail environments.
The new 7de Laan opening theme also has a new streamlined title type font for the 15-year old soap.
The new theme song and other cosmetic adaptations for the soap set in the fictional Johannesburg suburb of Hillside, are part of changes ordered by the SABC in the middle of last year, in part to try and address and hoping it will reverse, the soap's still big but flat ratings.
7de Laan also introduced new sets gradually over the course of this year.
The 7de Laan theme song and opener managed to stay unchanged since the soap was first commissioned by the SABC.
A decade ago in 2004, the production briefly flirted with the idea of dumping the theme song and changing the opening look but after an uproar decided to keep it unchanged.
It's not clear how viewers and 7de Laan fans will react over the change. Interestingly almost half (45,3%) of the SABC2 soap's viewership across all race groups are older than 50 years of age – viewers who don't like dramatic changes and tampering and who are fine with their formulaic programming, especially episodic television, staying the way it is.
The new 7de Laan theme song was composed by Joe Niemand and Nomansland with the opening sequence produced by Hay!Fever.
According to Caroline Phalakatshela, SABC2 publicist, the new opening sequence was shot in parts of Melville, like the original, but also Parkview.
The soap which has recently been added to MultiChoice's DStv Catch Up service along with other SABC soaps like Skeem Saam and Generations - The Legacy, from today can also be watched on YouTube.
7de Laan's new opening theme places a strong emphasis on suburbia's coffee culture – and print. Besides a physical newspaper, the fictional Hillside Times, there's also books featuring in the Pasella-esque sequences blending elements usually found in the opening titles of lifestyle magazine shows.
Check out the new opening sequence here from 1:15.
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