INTERVIEW: Guiding Light/Otalia International Following Speak Out

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that our favorite fan forum Big Purple Dreams reached another milestone over the weekend. As of yesterday, Big Purple Dreams reached 4000 members! That’s 4000 members in five months for a television show that has been canceled. Hey Lifetime, you might wanna keep an eye on this one, 4000 members in five months…just think what they could do in a year! The members of this fan forum are going exponentially rivaling any other fan forum in daytime or primetime for that matter so congratulations to BPD, Guiding Light and Otalia!

While the U.S. population make up a majority of those very fans, there is an impressive international following as well that most definitely needs to be acknowledge and praised. Guiding Light is being followed in at least 28 countries other than the United States from countries such as Australia, Bosnia, and Finland to Israel, Peru, and Wales. Keep in mind, these countries don’t receive a live feed the way U.S. audiences do. They aren’t even able to watch online from the CBS.com website the way U.S. viewers do either. To say the international following is dedicated is an understatement. Really, how many shows would you go out of your way to find that don’t show up in On Demand or cable reruns or download from iTunes? The international Guiding Light fans have none of that and yet they show up each and everyday to watch the show. They have also started their own international campaign to save Guiding Light with phone calls, emails, postcards and letter writing to join their U.S. family in the fight to save a show they love. I was lucky enough to sit down with several members of Team International over Skype (gotta love technology) to discus how they actually watch the show, differences in culture and how the international audience has a strong voice.

The leaders of Team International are:

My name is Siobhan (pronounced Shivan) and I’m from Wales. I’m 22 years of age.

I’m Bonnie; I’m 27 and live in Hull, England with my partner Claire.

I’m Jane (aka tottie007) and I’m from Edinburgh, Scotland. I was born the same year as Crystal C – I’m 44.

I’m Rita Roberts, 40 years old, and I like approximately 35 kms from Galway, which is on the west coast of Ireland.

EclipseMagazine: How do you watch the show? (i.e. YouTube, CBS.com, etc.)

Siobhan (Wales): Usually I watch the show on a live feed from the San Francisco area. That airs at 10pm my time. Sometimes it will crash and I then have to try and catch it on various websites, which is all kinds of difficult and involves a few technological miracles! If that fails, I have to watch just the Otalia clips on the YouTube BPD channel. I don’t like to do that because I enjoy watching the whole show…I hope that Guiding Light is eventually more accessible to the international fans!

Bonnie (England): It varies. If it’s an episode we’re really excited about, such as one featuring the Otalia storyline, we’ll watch through a streaming online player at 10pm our time, as that’s the earliest we can get it. If we can stand to wait, then we’ll watch through a website, though usually the following day as episodes are posted in the early hours of the morning for us. The website is much more reliable than the streaming player and there are fewer ads, plus our internet bandwidth is monitored during the streaming player airing, so it’s better for us to watch the following day if we can stand to wait. We always re-watch the Olivia and Natalia clips on YouTube afterwards on the otaliafan channel!

Jane (Scotland): I watch on YouTube. CBS does not allow non-US viewing but that’s the only way I can watch entire episode.

Rita (Ireland): I watch the show in two ways, one via the Otaliafan channel on YouTube, but I also have the opportunity to watch it live via webcam on Yahoo!. Basically, I have a friend in the States that records Guiding Light, and then when she comes home from work, she sets up the webcam on her laptop, points the webcam towards the TV screen, and we both get to watch and comment on it together. I have to admit that this ingenious idea was my friend’s and not mine, but as I don’t have anyone else near me who watches it, doing it this way gives me a sense of being part of a team.

EM: How did you find out about the show, have you always watched Guiding Light or was it the Otalia storyline that brought you to the show? Do you watch other storylines on Guiding Light?

Siobhan (Wales): Before January I had never heard of Guiding Light! Blasphemous, I know! But we just don’t get U.S. soaps over in the U.K. I was drawn into Otalia after seeing a couple of articles on afterellen.com. The humor in the story really appealed to me, as it’s too frequently missing from TV soaps and dramas. Crystal Chappell should do stand up!

After a month or so of watching JUST Otalia clips I decided to make the effort to watch the rest of the show. I’m so glad I did. There are some fantastic stories and characters, a great deal of humor. Special shout-out to my favorite Springfield crazy- Edmund! I love him!

Bonnie (England): I hadn’t even heard of Guiding Light until early this year, which was when my partner and one of our friends started talking about the Otalia storyline. So I had a sketchy idea of what it was about, but daytime soap operas have a bit of a reputation in this country for being kind of cheesy, so I resisted watching for a long time. I am more of a documentaries and news kinda girl, so it takes a lot for me to really get invested in a fictional storyline. It wasn’t until my partner showed me a screencap from one of the episodes where Emma runs away, probably because she knew it would tug on my maternal heartstrings; that I decided it might be something I could watch. They looked like a really sweet little family unit and that really appealed to me. I just happened to be unwell the following weekend and Claire sat me down with a blanket, made me lots of cups of tea, and I agreed to sit through eight months’ worth of Otalia clips dating back to last autumn. I was hooked after about thirty minutes, though I didn’t actually know anything about the relationship, and it was a surprise to me when the “My Two Mommies” clips came up. I didn’t know things would start to turn romantic. Now we’re working our way through the rest of their history from the Gus days and are almost caught up on all things Otalia.

25 thoughts on “INTERVIEW: Guiding Light/Otalia International Following Speak Out”

  1. This is really wonderful fans love Otalia & GL all over the world, everyone together to save the light! When you believe anything is possible!

  2. Outstanding! So nice to see the international faction getting exposure and showing how deep the fanbase is for Guiding Light as well as how strong the passion is to save the show.

  3. Thanks Tiffany for letting our voices be heard. Thoroughly enjoyed the chat 🙂 Rita (a.k.a. Renville68)

  4. So cool to hear from the international fans! It's a shame CBS doesn't make it easier for them to watch the show on their website. Hopefully, whatever network picks up GL will make more of an effort 🙂

  5. Thank you so much Tiffany! This is a great article (though I may be biased ;-)) – it's good to get the word out that there is lots of international interest in Guiding Light and Otalia. Wonderful! I really enjoyed chatting with you and the girls. 🙂

  6. Great interview! As a member of Team Scandinavia myself, I love the fact that the voices of us international viewers are being heard too.

  7. Thanks Tiffany, this was such a great idea for an article! I have to say as an American fan of GL, part of the most fascinating aspect of the fandom have been the international viewers (and my heart goes out to them with how hard they have to work to see the show!).

    I mean what better barometer toward measuring how extraordinary a program is, when you have it being so appreciated across the globe and how it measures to various local offerings. I feel the same about GL when comparing it to other U.S. soaps and dramas; it feels like its working on a different plane right now, and one can only hope that this global phenom will finally get people to think differently of why this show MUST be saved.

  8. I am one of the international views and can only say one word Otalia!!! The reason I started to watch GL. Love the story, love the acting! Just love being part of that incredible love story. It is a magical experience.

  9. Great article! I love reading about BPD's international contingent. There are so many, spread so far and wide, and they deserve so much love and attention for the efforts they have to make to see the episodes. That's devotion! At least we reward them with the Activia lady.

  10. That was a great interview on both sides! It's great to see Team International get some recognition! We are making a difference, and we must continue to do so! Ten minutes to send an email or write a postcard could do wonders! Team International wants to Keep The Light Shining!

  11. Great article! The international Otalia fans bring so much to the Otalia community. It is good to see them recognized for their devotion. The Big Purple Dreams fansite wouldn't be the same without them!

  12. How wonderful is this! Again such brilliance. The international fans help make it happen in a very big way. Thank you so much for showing how far and how deep this fanbase truly goes

  13. A MASSIVE thank-you to Tiffany for giving us the opportunity to get our voices heard like this. It was great to chat to other international fans and to see the technical viewing troubles that we have in common! I really hope whoever picks up GL will be kind to us and allow us to watch at 3pm with everyone else.
    Thanks again…..the international will keep working hard to help Save Guiding Light.

  14. I just want to say a Big HELLO to our international peeps. Nice to see all of you here. About time someone recognized just how wide spread Otalia is. {CBS, you watchin?} Lifetime, you would be getting a show with a worldwide fanbase. Hooray for you and all of us Otaliafans. Keep watching, keep writing, let's not lose track of our goal. Our goal is, Keep the Light Shining!!!! Have an awesome night!!! Otalia = Big Purple Passion!

  15. Imagine this, I'm from Nicaragua, a little country in the middle of Central America and I'm also watching this show. It's the most beautiful love story I've ever seen on my tv and I had always hated soaps, but GL and Otalia are so good I am hooked…the international fan base is growing every day. i can't believe no one is picking up this show and seeing the enormous potential market it has…*i'm looking at u, lifetime* IT CANNOT go off the air…please!!!!!!

  16. Another great article! BPD is truly a community for all! Thanks again for highlighting BPD and Guiding Light!

  17. A big thanks for the great interview, from a Belgian Team International member! BPD is really a very special place, the positivity, love, respect and purpleness rub off on everyone who visits it. It's the people who are in it that make our living room what it is, but I believe it's also the living room that makes the people, even if it's just for a small part. I have been very excited to see the international fan base grow every single day..I have been glued to my screen ever since I started watching GL 4 months ago (though it seems more like a year to me..) and to be able to share laughter, love, angst and fangirlyness with so many people…It's amazing to feel so connected.

  18. Fantastic article and it was good to hear from some of our international viewers. I love their comments about American tv.

  19. Great article! I'm part of Team International (Finland) and I do wish that the show would be more accessible to international viewers, but where there is will, there is a way and this is a true testiment to that. I'd actually be willing to pay a monthly fee to get access to it wherever the show might end up at, to see the show the same time everyone else does, commercials and all. Do you hear me, P&G/Lifetime/etc.?! I AM WILLING TO PAY to see Guiding Light online!!!!!!! Make it happen, please 🙂

    Thank you Tiffany for this article, really!

    And what comes to advertisement… some products are internationally available, like Activia so not all go to waste. We might not have Jamie Lee Curtis as our Activia Lady, but we do have the product in our stores so … there you go. Message received 🙂

  20. Great Article!! Its good to show that Guiding Light has a worldwide fanbase! I would also be willing to pay to be able to watch it online, and I'm sure that nowadays it would be possible to have the advertising be specific for the country of witch the viewer is from?? Something to maybe think about P&G/Lifetime/etc.??? S-thur, proud member of Team The Netherlands!

  21. We at BPD love our international fans!! It really brings to light how far-reaching the Otalia storyline is, and how much of a positive impact is being made. It is so much fun interacting with such a diverse group! If you haven't checked out Bonnie and Scooby with their 'Brit Girls Do' Otalia run-down, it is a MUST! Thanks, Tiffany, for another fun interview! Keep the Light shining!

  22. International fan here (Scotland) I fell in Love with GL,due to Otalia clips from YT, I have watched as many clips as possible past romances, deaths, fights all the drama you could ask for in a great soap. I hope they Keep the Light Shining it is so worth it

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