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From Reeves and Mortimer to Psychoville
Author: Leon Hunt

The TV debut of Vic Reeves Big Night Out on Channel 4 in 1990 is often seen as marking a turning point for British TV Comedy, ushering in what is often characterised as the ‘post-alternative’ era. The 1990s would produce acclaimed series such as Father Ted, The League of Gentlemen and The Fast Show, while the new century would produce such notable shows as The Mighty Boosh, The Office and Psychoville. However, while these shows enjoy the status of ‘cult classics’, comparatively few of them have received scholarly attention. This book is the first sustained critical analysis of the ‘post-alternative’ era, from 1990 to the present day. It examines post-alternative comedy as a form of both ‘Cult’ and ‘Quality’ TV, programmes that mostly target niche audiences and possess a subcultural aura – in the early 90s, comedy was famously declared ‘the new rock’n’roll’. It places these developments within a variety of cultural and institutional contexts and examines a range of comic forms, from sitcom to sketch shows and ‘mock TV’ formats. It includes case studies of Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer and the sitcom writer Graham LInehan. It examines developments in sketch shows and the emergence of ‘dark’ and ‘cringe’ comedy, and considers the politics of ‘offence’ during a period in which Brass Eye, ‘Sachsgate’ and Frankie Boyle provoked different kinds of media outrage. Cult British TV Comedy will be of interest to both students and fans of modern TV comedy.

A certain tendency?
Author: B. F. Taylor

This book offers an opportunity to reconsider the films of the British New Wave in the light of forty years of heated debate. By eschewing the usual tendency to view films such as A Kind of Loving and The Entertainer collectively and include them in broader debates about class, gender and ideology, it presents a new look at this famous cycle of British films. Refuting the long-standing view that films such as Billy Liar and Look Back in Anger are flawed and therefore indicative of an under-achieving national cinema, the book also challenges the widely held belief in the continued importance of the relationship between the British New Wave and questions of realism. Drawing upon existing sources and returning to unchallenged assumptions about British cinema, this book allows the reader to return to the films and consider them anew. In order to achieve this, the book also offers a practical demonstration of the activity of film interpretation. This is essential, because the usual tendency is to consider such a process unnecessary when it comes to writing about British films. The book demonstrates that close readings of films need not be reserved for films from other cinemas.

Stephen T. Casper

• 3 • Neurology in interwar Britain Introduction There is a story that has unfortunately become more of a legend of neurology than it ever was a reality.1 It is a sad story – one that involves egos, recrimination, and chauvinism. In 1928 a researcher at the Westminster Hospital came to the attention of the Medical Research Council (MRC), then a relatively new body supporting basic clinical research.2 Kathleen Chevassut had studied science at Bedford College for Women and had completed graduate work at the Westminster Hospital Medical School.3 But, like many

in The neurologists
Korean War prisoners of war
Grace Huxford

96 v 4 v Brainwashing in Britain: Korean War prisoners of war Brainwashing is an iconic twentieth-​ century term:  over-​ used and under-​analysed, its evolving usage since 1950 encapsulates many of the century’s anxieties, prejudices and lay understandings of human behaviour. It has been frequently used as a pejorative term to describe the unwitting, external manipulation of individuals and their view on the world. In modern Britain, it has been applied to topics as far-​ranging as political outlooks, religious fundamentalism, history teaching and

in The Korean War in Britain
Editor: Julian Hoppit

In 1660 the four nations of the British Isles were governed by one imperial crown but by three parliaments. The abolition of the Scottish and Irish Parliaments in 1707 and 1800 created a United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland centred upon the Westminster legislature. This book takes state formation. A number of important points emerge, however, the book deals with three. The first and most obvious point is that the unions were limited in scope and were palpably not incorporating . The second point is that, depending upon the issue, parliament required or encouraged not only different arguments but different voices. The final conclusion to emerge from these essays is that utility of 'national identity' as a way of understanding how people in the period conceived of themselves and their relationship to the state is not as clear and certain as might be first thought. National identity was one amongst a number of geo-political communities people might belong to, albeit a very important one. Inasmuch as the Westminster parliament provided a forum in which debates about how to legislate for three kingdoms took place, in its own way it helped to reinforce awareness of that difference. Liverpool petitions allow us to explore the intersection between policy debate and imperial identity during a pivotal era in the evolution of the British Empire. After 1832, virtual representation, though it survived in many different ways, became associated in the colonial context with nabobs and planters, the very demons of 'old Corruption'.

Georgina Sinclair

of the Police Force themselves. 1 The colonial territories and islands of the Caribbean were often described by colonial policemen as ‘backwaters’ which constituted a retrograde step in terms of a career posting. Yet the Caribbean boasted some of the oldest police forces of the Empire which had been a testing ground for reform along British lines

in At the end of the line
Editor: Laura Mulvey
Author: Jamie Sexton

This book addresses the aesthetics of British television programmes, charting some key examples of experiment and formal or stylistic innovation, drawing mostly on arts documentaries and drama productions. It turns to the work of the little known Langham Group. In contrast to the populism of Armchair Theatre, the group emerged from a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) initiative to consider 'the problem of experimental television programmes'. The book discusses very varied examples of experimental television that flourished during the 1960s. It also introduces Channel 4 with an insider's account of a world of utopian hopes and the snares of the schedule. The book then looks at two series that attempted to experiment with the presentation of art to British television viewers: New Tempo and Who Is?. It explores the relationship between the series and Troy Kennedy Martin's 'Nats Go Home' manifesto, a polemic against naturalism in television drama which provided a theoretical rationale for the experimentalism of Diary of a Young Man. The book further examines the product of that experiment, placing it in the context of John McGrath's other work and his own 1979 'manifesto' for progressive television. It argues that Dennis Potter's drama, and particularly The Singing Detective, contributes to experimental television through systematic comment on, and elaboration of, the medium's inherent polysemic nature. Finally, the book focuses on the presentation of pop music on television, specifically the pop promo, rather than the dedicated music television programme.

Author: Ian Carter

Far from a trivial topic, the post-war train spotting craze swept most boys and some girls into a passion for railways, and for many, ignited a lifetime's interest. This book traces this post-war cohort, and those which followed, as they invigorated different sectors in the world of railway enthusiasm. Today Britain's now-huge preserved railway industry finds itself driven by tensions between preserving a loved past which ever fewer people can remember and earning money from tourist visitors. It was Hamilton Ellis and Philip Unwin who were the joint pioneers of the 'Railway Book Mania' which ran from 1947 to the dwindling of popular and mid-depth railway history writing in the 1970s. British railway enthusiasts suffer from an image problem. Standing forlorn on station platforms, train spotters are butts for every stand-up comic's jokes. Like some other collectors, train spotters collect ephemera: locomotive numbers are signs unconnected to any marketable commodity. Train spotting had its own rich culture. As British railways declined from their Edwardian peak, enthusiasts' structure of feeling shifted steadily from celebrating novelty to mourning loss. Always a good hater as well as a skilled engineer, more than seventy years ago Curly Lawrence identified issues which still bounce around modelling sections of the British railway fancy. The book discusses toy trains, model engineering and railway modelling. British railway enthusiasm remains a remarkably varied activity today, articulated through attachment (of whatever kind) to prototype railways' life-world.

Charles V. Reed

Shortly after the Prince of Wales’ 1875–76 visit to India, Lord Lytton, Viceroy of India, wrote to Queen Victoria complaining that, hitherto, British rule had relied too heavily on ‘costly canals and irrigation works which have greatly embarrassed our finances, and are as yet so little appreciated by the Hindoo rustic that they do not pay the expense of making them’. 1

in Royal tourists, colonial subjects and the making of a British world, 1860–1911
Neil McNaughton

Britain and Issues concerning the European womenUnion Britain and the European Union 249 16 ➤ The background to British membership ➤ The main impacts of British membership ➤ The ways in which the party system has been affected by the EU ➤ Future prospects for British involvement THE STORY OF BRITISH MEMBERSHIP Britain stays out When serious discussions began to establish a successor to the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) in 1956, Britain made it clear that it was not intending to join any new organisation. Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, a

in Understanding British and European political issues