What makes British television crime drama so perennially popular, both in the UK and internationally? What are the attractions and pleasures of these shows? How are detectives positioned in relation to viewers' national and collective experience of the 'everyday'? This book addresses these questions, examining the trends evident in a range of series - including A Touch of Frost, Lewis, Cracker, Life on Mars and the more recent Luther - in the context of their broader social meaning. Helen Piper develops a compelling argument regarding the cultural relevance of some of the more popular and powerful television detectives, claiming that theirs is a privileged role as the licensed "voices" of dissent. The discontented TV detective, she suggests, may serve to express a broader sense of cultural malaise.
Helen Piper is Teaching Fellow in Screen Studies at the University of Bristol (UK) and has been teaching Screen Studies (specialising in television) for over a decade. Over the past few years she has developed units on television crime for the University of Bristol's undergraduate BA in Drama, and for its MA programmes in Television Studies and Cinema Studies. Helen Piper previously held a number of senior management positions within BBC Television, which have given her particular insight into the logic of commissioning and the dynamics driving mainstream programming.
1. British Television Drama 1990-2010
2. Theoretical overview
3. Critical approach
4. 'Old codgers' and tired voices:
A Touch of Frost (ITV 1992-2010 ), Butterfly Collectors (Granada 1999), Lewis (ITV 2006), Wallander (BBC 2008-2010)
5. The likes of us, the likes of them: the moral ambivalence of Fitz i n Cracker (Granada 1993-2006) & Tennison in Prime Suspect (Granada 1991-2006)
6. Radical nostalgia: Gene Hunt
7. Emergent voices
8. Theoretical reflections: temporal attachments and everyday heroes.