Thursday, 17 September 2015

OfCom say TV failing to represent modern UK society

Ofcom chief tells UK broadcasters to reflect 'society as it is today'

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Playlist of past/practice clips

You can use these to set yourself practice exercises - feel free to hand in any subsequent essays for marking and feedback:

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Thursday, 11 July 2013

If you're allergic to black people...

This post isn't so much about media representations as the ongoing consequences of negative representations of race. Many today will argue that we no longer live in a racist society; Britain has moved on. There may be some truth in that, but clearly the UK hasn't become an utterly idyllic society, as the following example sharply demonstrates - one taken from a West Yorkshire town...

'If you are allergic to black people, don't come in' – at first I balked …

Cafe owner Martha-Renee Kolleh's defiant response to insidious racism is preferable to constantly doubting your own experience
Martha-Renee Kolleh cafe owner
Martha-Renee Kolleh, who owns a cafe in the town of Ossett, Yorkshire, has put up a sign telling customers she is black because she is fed up with people walking out when they see the colour of her skin. Photograph: Gabriel Szabo/Guzelian
Increasingly in today's Britain, the word racism conjures up two very differing images for white and black people (I use black here in the political sense). When I explain to white friends that certain things that I have had said or done to me are racist, it is more often that not met with incredulity. How can that be racist?

Thursday, 9 May 2013

House of Saddam

This makes for an interesting clip to tackle - its British produced (actually a BBC/HBO co-production) and with a largely British cast, but set in Iraq, so taking the questions of ethnicity to some degree beyond British expectations and stereotypes. Nonetheless, its those British stereotypes and conventions we're using as a framework for reference.
What are the binaries present here? What stereo/countertypes are at play? Is there a clear sense of some character/s as "the other"? Is there any sense of a journey; of character development - moving further towards or away from narrow stereotypical roles/expectations?
The embed below features Arabic subtitles not present on the BBC transmission.
The clip we're addressing runs from 2:58:13 to 3:03:11.

Note details such as the use of angles and shot variation to strongly signify (anchor) the moving, fluid power relations at play.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

1974-2012: ONE US TV show led by black actress

Useful stat, and insight into the barriers that ethnicity still poses for black actresses: there were zero US TV dramas fronted by a black actress after 1974, until now (Oct 2012). Just a 38-year gap!!!
That would be a helpful stat to quote if ethnicity came up in your exam (wider context).
Article below URL.

American television's real Scandal

Why have audiences had to wait 38 years for a black female lead character?
Kerry Washington, star of Scandal. Photograph: Craig Sjodin/ABC
When Scandal, the new drama about political corruption in the US capital starring Kerry Washington was first previewed in America, the show's creator Shonda Rhimes remarked, somewhat caustically: "I think we were at a place where a non-white actor can be the lead in a television series a long time ago – I just think that people have failed to cast the actors they should have been casting."
Surprisingly, Washington is the first black female lead on network television in 38 years. Not since 1974 when Tessa Graves starred as a policewoman in the blaxploitation show Get Christie Love! has a primetime US network show featured a black woman as the main character.
Since then the roles for black actresses have typically been limited to supportive friend or snappy sidekick. Most recently, former Doctor Who star Freema Agyeman landed a supporting role in the upcoming Sex and the City prequel, The Carrie Diaries, fellow Brit Gugu Mbatha-Raw played one half of a husband/wife spy team in the swiftly cancelled Undercovers and former reality star Nene Leakes had turns in Glee and sitcom The New Normal.
Even Miranda Bailey, arguably the strongest character on the show that made Shonda Rhimes's name – Grey's Anatomy – is frequently relegated to the sidelines in favour of another smooch between Meredith and McDreamy.