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Adjusting the ContrastBritish Television and Constructs of Race$
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Sarita Malik and Darrell M. Newton

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781526100986

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526100986.001.0001

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A little Brit different? BBC America and transnational constructs of Britishness

A little Brit different? BBC America and transnational constructs of Britishness

(p.20) 1 A little Brit different? BBC America and transnational constructs of Britishness
Adjusting the Contrast

Darrell M. Newton

Manchester University Press

This chapter examines how BBCA has represented contemporary Britain in its programming choices since 1998, when it began service in the United States. With a healthy range of programming that featured black and Asian Britons from 2004–11 no longer being offered by the channel, the essay argues that the diminished presence of these characters of colour directly affected cultural diversity on BBCA. In turn, the changes in programming choices has constructed Britishness in a manner that reinforces a mostly white, nearly homogeneous nation-state, one that draws from an American fascination with ‘Anglophenia’. There has been limited research on the subject of BBCA specifically, but works by Christine Becker and Melinda Lewis provide insights on its efforts to represent Britain and to capture a portion of the American television market. The chapter also draws from an original interview with past CEO of BBCA Bill Hilary (2004–6) conducted in May 2016.

Keywords:   BBC America (BBCA), contemporary Britain, cultural diversity, nation-state, American television

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