Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: News and comic affairs : the audience reception of British television political comedy, 1962-2012
Author: Crowder, Matthew
ISNI:       0000 0004 8498 7702
Awarding Body: Royal Holloway, University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 2016
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
This thesis researches the reception of British television political comedy from 1962 to 2012, exploring the continuities and contrasts in viewers' definitions, interpretations and evaluations of the genre. Television comedy scholarship has privileged the text but this first in-depth study of British political comedy conceptualises television genre as a cultural category, and adopts the method of qualitative historical reception research to explore the different ways that viewers have written about the genre. Political comedy's reception is dominated by discourses of power, and the genre's comedic references to news and current affairs are consistently invoked in accounts of its effects upon everyday life. The research highlights viewers' emotive responses in four case studies that place pleasure and displeasure, cultural distinctions, and social affiliations in their historical contexts, arguing that judgments about political comedy's value, meaning and social effects are related to hierarchies of aesthetics and taste, and their relationship to public issues defined as socially significant. The chapter on 'That Was The Week That Was' discusses beliefs that irreverent comedy could affect British institutions. Work on 'Yes, Minister', 'The New Statesman' and 'The Thick of It' highlights the relationships between different definitions of realism, quality, and British political culture. Attitudes to 'Spitting Image' demonstrate how evaluations of satirical value depend upon comedy conforming to highbrow cultural hierarchies. 'Brass Eye' is explored via the moral panics around the trivialization of issues defined as 'serious'. Qualitative historical reception research into television political comedy gives insight into how people categorised and attributed meaning to comedy, politics, public life and the media. It shows how people thought political comedy intervened in British culture, and gives glimpses into the sometimes passionate debates about the definition of television texts, television genres, the medium of television, British political culture, British media culture, and British society itself.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: comedy ; political comedy ; reception studies ; audience research ; comedy audience research ; historical audience research ; comedy history ; that was the week that was ; yes minister ; the thick of it ; the new statesman ; brass eye ; spitting image ; audience reception