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Frames and Fictions on Television

The Politics of Identity within Drama

TV drama both reflects and contributes to the production of cultural identity. At a time of deep cultural uncertainty, how has this been represented within the programmes that contribute to our own sense of identity?

This volume addresses the question, in relation to issues of social class, ethnicity, race, gender, sexuality and national/diaspora identity. Particular attention is paid to the changing profile of British television drama over the last 35 years:

• the increasing fragmentation of the home audience,
• the transnationalisation of media culture,
• the increasingly hybrid nature of programme formats, and
• the popularity of US series within a British viewing context.

Programme examples are drawn from a range of dramatic formats: comedy, crime/hospital dramas, literary adaptations, political dramas, TV films, ’sit coms’ and soap operas including: • ER • The Buddha of Suburbia • The X-Files • Father Ted • Driving School • Diana: Her True Story • EastEnders • The Cops • Friends

This is the first book to give a comprehensive coverage of all the major debates within the field of TV drama while considering current programming in terms of the move away from the public service model of broadcasting as a whole.

160 pages | © 2000

Media Studies

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Issues of Cultural Identities

Bruce Carson and Margaret Llewellyn-Jones

Fact, Fiction and the Ideology of Identity

2. Docudrama as Melodrama: Representing Princess Diana and Margaret Thatcher

Jonathan Bignell

3. Docusoap: Actuality and the Serial Format

Gail Coles

4. What’s All This Then?: The Ideology of Identity in The Cops

Madeleine K. MacMurraugh-Kavanagh

Representation and Reading: The Slipperiness of Gender Identity

5. Medicated Soap: The Woman Doctor in Television Medical Drama

Deborah Philips

6. Performing (Wo)manoeuvres: The Progress Gendering in TV Drama

Robin Nelson

7. Patriarchal Politics: Our Friends in the North and the Crisis of Masculinity

Jeremy Ridgman

8. Ga(y)zing at Soap: Representation and Reading-Queering Soap Opera

Stephen Farrier

Framing and Re-Framing the ‘Other’

9. The Black Explorer: Female Identity in Black Feminist Drama on British Television in 1992

Claire Tylee

10. Cultural Hybridity, Masculinity and Nostalgia in the TV Adaption of  The Buddha of Suburbia
Bruce Carson

11. The Grotesque and the Ideal: Representations of Ireland and the Irish in Popular Comedy Programmes on British TV

Margaret Llewellyn-Jones

12. Diagnosing the Alien: Producing Identities, American ‘Quality’ Drama and British Television Culture in the 1990’s

Janet McCabe


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