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Joking apart: an analysis of the impact of television satire has had upon the British political landscape 1962-1990

Harris, Spencer (2015)
M.Res. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

The purpose of this dissertation is to explore the effects that television satire has had upon the British political landscape. It argues that political satire in Britain has provided a compelling and robust form of political commentary, and in fact, offers a key reading into British politics which academics often ignore. To do so, this dissertation uses key television satires – That Was The Week That Was, Yes Minister/Yes Prime Minister and Spitting Image – from across the period which form the crux of three case studies. In addition to this, there are several secondary themes that are explored which include: the death of deference, political bias, and the changes in taboo in relation to the rise of alternative comedy. Furthermore, Freud’s relief theory will be deployed to support the arguments about the power of laughter and comedy. It is concluded that television satire has shaped the political landscape in a distinct way. It has changed the way we view politicians and how we hold them to account. Furthermore, television satire has had an enabling effect insofar that it uses humour in a rebellious way against authority which helps vent our frustrations with the political leaders of the day.

Type of Work:M.Res. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Schaffer, Gavin
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:Department of History
Subjects:DA Great Britain
JF Political institutions (General)
JN101 Great Britain
PN1990 Broadcasting
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:5615
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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