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

Harris, Spencer (2015). Joking apart: an analysis of the impact of television satire has had upon the British political landscape 1962-1990. University of Birmingham. M.Res.

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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: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.Res.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.Res.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of History and Cultures, Department of History
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting


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