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Cult British TV comedyFrom Reeves and Mortimer to Psychoville$
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Leon Hunt

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780719083778

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719083778.001.0001

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From alternative to cult: mapping post-alternative comedy

From alternative to cult: mapping post-alternative comedy

(p.xiv) (p.1) 1 From alternative to cult: mapping post-alternative comedy
Cult British TV comedy

Leon Hunt

Manchester University Press

This introductory chapter maps out the terrain of post-alternative comedy. It examines its relationship to alternative comedy (defined as both a specific moment in comedy history and a broader tradition of oppositional or cult comedy). It sets out some of the institutions that have helped to mark out a non-mainstream television comedy; the public service ethos of niche broadcasting, channels like BBC 2 and 3, radio comedy, Oxbridge Footlights, the Edinburgh Festival and Perrier Award. It argues that both the ‘alternative’ and the ‘post-alternative’ can be mapped onto notions of cult and quality TV, defined by circulation and reception (and the possession of cultural or subcultural capital), but also requiring some kind of notional ‘mainstream’ to define itself again. The chapter also provides a cultural-historical and institutional framework for the post-alternative era.

Keywords:   Post-alternative comedy, Alternative comedy, Cult television, Quality television, Cultural and Subcultural capital

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