Turkish soaps earn huge ratings

'Nour,' 'Lost Years' grip Arab audiences

LONDON — The final episodes of leading pan-Arab satcaster MBC’s popular Turkish sudsers “Nour” and “The Lost Years” attracted a record 85 million viewers and 67 million viewers, respectively, according to figures released by MBC execs.

“Nour,” in particular, has been a cultural phenomenon in the Arab world ever since its debut on March 29. The Turkish melodrama, which MBC execs dubbed into Arabic using a colloquial Syrian dialect rather than formal, classical Arabic, follows the travails of a beautiful, young woman who marries into a wealthy family.

Arab auds became increasingly gripped by the various twists and turns in the suitably labyrinthine plots, as media commentators in the region and beyond wrestled to explain the show’s unprecedented popularity across the Arab world.

“The show’s finale (on Aug. 30) broke all records,” says MBC’s Mazen Hayek. “It was a socio-cultural phenomenon like we haven’t seen before. It’s one of the only times journalists have been able to print good news about the Middle East.”

MBC has plans to broadcast further Turkish melodramas, again dubbed into Arabic, once the Muslim holy month of Ramadan is over.