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Authenticity and performance of class in British factual TV series

Bignell, J. (2016) Authenticity and performance of class in British factual TV series. In: Cloarec, N., Haigron, D. and Letort, D. (eds.) Social Class on British and American Screens: Essays on Cinema and Television. McFarland, Jefferson, USA, pp. 58-73. ISBN 9781476662343

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Abstract/Summary

The chapter characterises British ‘Reality TV’ as a hybrid of factual and fictional television genres, as signaled by the more accurate genre designation ‘structured reality’ television. From the 1990s onwards, in order to develop programmes that are attractive to audiences and inexpensive to produce, programme makers have focused on hybrids of dramatic and documentary modes. This chapter argues that many recent Reality TV programmes privilege soap opera’s emphasis on character, storyline and performance. This affects the ways that class authenticity is understood, undermining factual programmes’ usual claim to legitimacy based on reference to a pre-existing reality, and transforming hierarchies that separate highly-valued from low-valued types of programme.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Refereed:No
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Arts and Communication Design > Film, Theatre & Television
ID Code:55431
Uncontrolled Keywords:Television, Reality TV, Class, Soap Opera, Documentary, Genre
Additional Information:This book is also available as an ebook: ISBN 9781476623122
Publisher:McFarland

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