Before Sachsgate: reassessing the value of Jonathan Ross to BBC strategic direction

Charlesworth, Diane (2012) Before Sachsgate: reassessing the value of Jonathan Ross to BBC strategic direction. In: Screen Studies Conference, 29th June - 1st July 2012, University of Glasgow, Scotland. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

The call made to actor Andrew Sachs’ answering machine, broadcast as part of a BBC2 radio programme, was only part of the controversy that followed Jonathon Ross in his work with the Corporation. This and the much quoted £18-million-over-3-year salary that had been agreed to golden-handcuff the television personality from 2007-2010, became the focal point of discussions as to what constitutes ‘performance’ and ‘value for money’ in a system of public service broadcasting. As Bennett states “ . . .televisual skill is crucial to the longevity of television fame . . .it is those who master the techniques necessary to create an intimate, spontaneous , immediate performance style, that may be considered television personalities” [2010: 36] This paper investigates Ross’ televisual persona and his enactment and embodiment of what Benwell [2004] calls ‘evasive masculinity’ as part of this, looking in particular at a number of his performances in the show Friday Night with Jonathan Ross. The use of Ross as talent, arguably, reflected the changing priorities of the BBC in developing content, audiences and the branding of BBC1, as well as in diversifying the Corporation’s portfolio and mode of address in order to survive in a multi-channel environment.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information:The call made to actor Andrew Sachs’ answering machine, broadcast as part of a BBC2 radio programme, was only part of the controversy that followed Jonathon Ross in his work with the Corporation. This and the much quoted £18-million-over-3-year salary that had been agreed to golden-handcuff the television personality from 2007-2010, became the focal point of discussions as to what constitutes ‘performance’ and ‘value for money’ in a system of public service broadcasting. As Bennett states “ . . .televisual skill is crucial to the longevity of television fame . . .it is those who master the techniques necessary to create an intimate, spontaneous , immediate performance style, that may be considered television personalities” [2010: 36] This paper investigates Ross’ televisual persona and his enactment and embodiment of what Benwell [2004] calls ‘evasive masculinity’ as part of this, looking in particular at a number of his performances in the show Friday Night with Jonathan Ross. The use of Ross as talent, arguably, reflected the changing priorities of the BBC in developing content, audiences and the branding of BBC1, as well as in diversifying the Corporation’s portfolio and mode of address in order to survive in a multi-channel environment.
Keywords:Ross, television personality, branding, public service broadcasting, masculinity as performance
Subjects:P Mass Communications and Documentation > P301 Television studies
P Mass Communications and Documentation > P311 Television Production
L Social studies > L320 Gender studies
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Media
ID Code:5914
Deposited By: Diane Charlesworth
Deposited On:22 Jun 2012 20:34
Last Modified:22 Jun 2012 20:34

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