Negotiating and validating the ‘housewife’ identity: cookery advice in BBC TV Women’s programming (1946-61), the influence of Marguerite Patten, and Cookery Club (1956-1961) as an early audience participation series.

Charlesworth, Diane (2022) Negotiating and validating the ‘housewife’ identity: cookery advice in BBC TV Women’s programming (1946-61), the influence of Marguerite Patten, and Cookery Club (1956-1961) as an early audience participation series. In: Food and Cooking on Early Television: Impact on Post War European Foodways. Routledge. ISBN 9780367347888

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Abstract

This chapter outlines a particular project that was developed in 1956 as a segment of the television series About the Home (BBC 1951-58), part of Women’s afternoon programming at the BBC, becoming subsequently a stand-alone item in the weekly schedule. Cookery Club was an attempt to engage the female audience, by validating viewers’ ideas and knowledge and making them more present on the screen. Presented by the by-then well-known television- personality-as–expert (Bennett, 2010), Marguerite Patten, its purpose was “to stimulate the interest of Housewives throughout th[e] country in good cooking, the planning of economic budgeting of meals and to share and exchange tested recipes of every kind and to deal with general cooking problems.”

Discussion of the programme is placed in the context of the consolidation of television as a medium in British households from the late 1950s into the early 1960s and the competition that the BBC was facing with the establishment of ITV in 1955. The impact of these pressures are analysed in relation to the Section’s and middle management concerns regarding the extent to which the team had identified who the daytime female viewer actually was, and the strategies implemented by its editor, Doreen Stephens, in attempting to keep the Section together and with a clear identity. (This came to an end in 1964 when Women’s amalgamated with Children’s programming to become Family programming but with a clear emphasis on the latter.) The research draws on production, Section and Left Staff papers held at the BBC Written Archives at Caversham.

Keywords:Cookery Club, Marguerite Patten, BBC, post-war women's programming
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V147 Modern History 1950-1999
P Mass Communications and Documentation > P301 Television studies
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V146 Modern History 1920-1949
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V210 British History
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Film & Media > Lincoln School of Film & Media (Media)
ID Code:48126
Deposited On:31 Mar 2022 09:23

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