Join for the fourth installment of our decade by decade track through the history of a TV legend.

The 1980s saw an even greater fluctuation of writers than the chaotic decade that preceded it. 17 writers went in and out of story duties, with the Dobson’s keeping a third of the decade and Douglas Marland being moved back to the show from Guiding Light for the second half of the decade. The series managed to hover within the top six shows for those ten years, though unlike most other soaps, which saw exponential growth or steep decline, their audience numbers remained by and large the same as they had been with an incremental slipping down.

The darkness that had crept in during the 1970s exploded in the 1980s as James Stenbeck and Barbara Ryan moved to the center with plots in the fashion world, blackmail, torrid affairs and drug dealing. There was also plenty of blackmailing in town (thanks mostly to John Dixon) and the occasional con man drifted through as well.