“Luxury Items”: Discourses of Cultural Value in Creating Channel 4 Comedy

Horton, Erica (2015) “Luxury Items”: Discourses of Cultural Value in Creating Channel 4 Comedy. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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This thesis examines the discourses around creativity and cultural value that underpin the language used to construct television comedy at Channel 4 within three sites: broadcasting policy documents, interviews with Channel 4 heads of department and commissioners, and creative practitioners that have produced comedies for Channel 4 broadcast.
In doing so this thesis uses a post-structural discourse analysis perspective with which to approach how comedy is understood as a genre within television industry policy, how departmental categorisation creates meaning around social purpose through discourses of cultural value and how this is both recreated and manifest among the understanding of what it means to create television comedy under the public service remit with which Channel 4 is charged.
Through this multi-platform analysis, this study brings new light to comedy’s position within British broadcasting’s traditions of public service, it highlights the distinction of cultural value enacted by positioning some forms of comedy under the Comedy Department and others elsewhere under Entertainment.
I argue that this process of inclusion and exclusion is framed through the justification of value in a way that reconstructs binary cultural hierarchies dependent on the notion of art and creativity as oppositional to the commercial and the popular. As such this thesis concludes that such cultural hierarchies are problematic for access and diversity in the creative labour force of British television comedy at Channel 4, particularly within the context of Channel 4’s specific remit to host a diverse range of talent both on and off screen and in doing so to encourage diversity, as a reflection of a pluralised British audience and society, across all British terrestrial channels.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Art, Media and American Studies
Depositing User: Nicola Veasy
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2016 11:50
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2016 11:50
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/58414

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