New article: political television fiction in the UK, 1965-2009.

7 05 2012

My colleague Dominic Wring and I had immense fun writing this article about the fictional representation of politics in British TV drama. Evidently we had to watch a lot of television, but it paid off: we found that across time and genre, the main characters in these stories are mostly plain men of uncertain age – around 40 or over – somewhat grumpy, somewhat clumsy and hardly ever in full control of their situation. The dominant themes in comedies, soapish drama and thrillers link closely to these types of main characters: in most thrillers they are overwhelmed by sinister outside forces or inside political machinations. The narrative of the political machinery that exerts its inescapable corruption over all individual politicians runs strongly through these three genres across the whole time period. A further similarity across time and genre is that most series are firmly linked to real-life politics. It is this particular aspect that produces their potential relevance for affecting people’s political understandings, judgements and engagement.

Van Zoonen, L. and D. Wring (2012). Trends in political television fiction in the UK: Themes, characters and narratives, 1965–2009Media, Culture and Society, 34(3), p. 263-279.

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