The importance of the television personality to public service broadcasting: the case of Jamie Oliver and Channel Four

Charlesworth, Diane (2009) The importance of the television personality to public service broadcasting: the case of Jamie Oliver and Channel Four. In: MECCSA Conference 2009, 14-16 January 2009, National Media Museum, Bradford, England.

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Abstract

In recent years, there has been a growing body of work in the field of Media and Cultural Studies on the concept of celebrityhood, its function and social impact, which has interrogated the development of a raft of magazines specifically contributing to the discourses of fame and ordinariness and a strand of reality television that has ‘becoming famous’ or ‘being famous’ as its conceptual basis and narrative structure. As part of the academic discussion, the notion of the television ‘personality’, a term coined and defined in John Langer’s 1981 article as a phenomenon specific to the medium and key to television’s modes of address, with emphasis on notions of ordinariness, authenticity, intimacy and familiarity, has been re-visited and refined (cf. Bennett, J. (2008)).
This paper looks at the strategic use and development of Jamie Oliver as television-personality-as-expert by Channel Four, in broadcasting a strand of reality/documentary programming that has been dubbed by the newspapers as ‘campaign television’, notably Jamie’s School Dinners, Jamie’s Fowl Dinners, and [at the time of writing] the soon-to-be-aired Jamie’s Ministry of Food. In a political era of individuation and self responsibility, the pervasive ethos and ideology of self–governance and self-actualisation in reality television programming, particularly make-over shows, has been commented upon. These campaign programmes with Oliver continue this trend whilst simultaneously operating discourses of civic responsibility and nationhood. All this, it will be argued adds considerable weight to the claims of a broadcaster to be producing re-invigorated forms of public service broadcasting to compete with the BBC for a proportion of the licence fee.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information:In recent years, there has been a growing body of work in the field of Media and Cultural Studies on the concept of celebrityhood, its function and social impact, which has interrogated the development of a raft of magazines specifically contributing to the discourses of fame and ordinariness and a strand of reality television that has ‘becoming famous’ or ‘being famous’ as its conceptual basis and narrative structure. As part of the academic discussion, the notion of the television ‘personality’, a term coined and defined in John Langer’s 1981 article as a phenomenon specific to the medium and key to television’s modes of address, with emphasis on notions of ordinariness, authenticity, intimacy and familiarity, has been re-visited and refined (cf. Bennett, J. (2008)). This paper looks at the strategic use and development of Jamie Oliver as television-personality-as-expert by Channel Four, in broadcasting a strand of reality/documentary programming that has been dubbed by the newspapers as ‘campaign television’, notably Jamie’s School Dinners, Jamie’s Fowl Dinners, and [at the time of writing] the soon-to-be-aired Jamie’s Ministry of Food. In a political era of individuation and self responsibility, the pervasive ethos and ideology of self–governance and self-actualisation in reality television programming, particularly make-over shows, has been commented upon. These campaign programmes with Oliver continue this trend whilst simultaneously operating discourses of civic responsibility and nationhood. All this, it will be argued adds considerable weight to the claims of a broadcaster to be producing re-invigorated forms of public service broadcasting to compete with the BBC for a proportion of the licence fee.
Keywords:public service broadcasting, television personality, campaign documentary
Subjects:P Mass Communications and Documentation > P301 Television studies
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Media
ID Code:4126
Deposited By: Diane Charlesworth
Deposited On:04 Mar 2011 10:10
Last Modified:18 Jul 2011 16:38

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