Queer British television: policy and practice, 1997-2007

Edwards, Natalie (2010) Queer British television: policy and practice, 1997-2007. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Representations of gay, lesbian, queer and other non-heterosexualities on British terrestrial television have increased exponentially since the mid 1990s. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer characters now routinely populate mainstream series, while programmes like Queer as Folk (1999-2000), Tipping the Velvet (2002), Torchwood (2006-) and Bad Girls (1999-2006) have foregrounded specifically gay and lesbian themes. This increase correlates to a number of gay-friendly changes in UK social policy pertaining to sexual behaviour and identity, changes precipitated by the election of Tony Blair’s Labour government in 1997. Focusing primarily on the decade following Blair’s installation as Prime Minister, this project examines a variety of gay, lesbian and queer-themed British television programmes in the context of their political, cultural and industrial determinants, with the goal of bridging the gap between the cultural product and the institutional factors which precipitated its creation. Ultimately, it aims to establish how and why this increase in LGBT and queer programming occurred when it did by relating it to the broader, government-sanctioned integration of gays, lesbians and queers into the imagined cultural mainstream of the UK.

Unlike previous studies of lesbian, gay and queer film and television, which have tended to draw conclusions about cultural trends purely through textual analysis, this project uses government and broadcasting industry policy documents as well as detailed examination of specific television programmes to substantiate links between the cultural product and the wider world. The main body of the thesis comprises five chapters, including three industrial case studies examining the four main terrestrial broadcasters- Channel 4, Channel 5, ITV and the BBC- and their gay, lesbian and queer output between 1997 and 2007. Again by analysing policy documents and the distinct public service obligations of each broadcaster, these case studies link the brand identities and imagined audiences of each with the range and volume of LGBT and queer programming they produced within the ten year period studied. In doing so, they also consider the effect of digitisation and the multi-channel environment on the specific types of queer and LGBT programming provided by each broadcaster, and the impact of niche-market broadcasting on the presentation of sexual difference within the contemporary UK context.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Pearson, R
Gallagher, M
Keywords: Queer, television, British, New Labour, Tony Blair, gay, lesbian, policy, industry
Subjects: P Language and literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of American and Canadian Studies
Item ID: 11113
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2010 13:55
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2016 15:34
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/11113

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