Immigration, Race, and Local Media in the Midlands: 1960-­‐1985

Yemm, Rachel (2018) Immigration, Race, and Local Media in the Midlands: 1960-­‐1985. PhD thesis, University of Lincoln.

Rachel Yemm Thesis- Immigration Race and Local Media in the Midlands 1960-1985.pdf
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Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Item Status:Live Archive


The passing of the Television Act in 1954 introduced commercial television to British screens for the first time; ITV was formed as a network of regional channels that broadcast content aimed specially at the regions they served. The arrival of regional television also coincided with mass immigration from Britain’s former colonies, a significant proportion of which settled in the Midlands. Scholars of both twentieth-century British history and media history have tended to underplay regional variation. There is a growing but small field of historians who have examined race and media in the same frame but even they have generally not acknowledged the important role of local and regional media in shaping the public response to post-war immigration. This study addresses this absence by examining depictions of immigrants on ATV, ITV’s regional Midlands channel, from 1960 to 1985, focusing primarily on ATV’s news programme through a series of case studies, as well as the production of Here and Now, an ethnic minority arts and culture magazine programme broadcast by ATV (later Central Television) throughout the 1980s. It also examines the previously underexplored role of the local press in the formation of public responses to immigration, highlighting significant links between different forms of local and regional media in post-war Britain by arguing that ATV was, at times, influenced by local press reporting of immigration.
ATV and the local press played a crucial role in forming local responses to immigration within the region, one that differed at times to that of the national press, television news and current affairs programming. Unlike the national television news, which reported immigration from a national perspective, ATV broadcast local content which focused specifically on local issues, for example the impact of immigration on local services, employment and housing. This content also crucially provided images of immigrants within the audience’s towns, neighbourhoods and streets. Despite the large immigrant community in the Midlands during the period, ATV failed to properly represent black and Asian people. In doing so, ATV played an important role in defining the boundaries of exclusion and inclusion within Midlands communities. A comparison of regional and national television news and current affairs programming also indicates that ATV understood neutrality differently than the BBC and ITV, often resulting in far more negative representations of race and immigration. By examining the role of local and regional media in public responses to post-war immigration, this study adds depth to our existing understanding of the uneven development of race relations in post-war Britain.

Keywords:Smethwick, Local Media, Midlands, Immigration, Race, 1960-1985
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V214 English History
Divisions:College of Arts > School of History & Heritage > School of History & Heritage (History)
ID Code:34577
Deposited On:18 Dec 2018 16:55

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