British Food Television: Culinary Prophets and Profits

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Britain has the most prolific food television content production and export industry in the world. Questions of why Britain and why now can be partly answered through a political-economic analyses of the dynamics of British food television in the domestic (national) and international contexts. The increasing internationalization of the global television marketplace, the push for popular (and ostensibly) profitable television, and other societal and economic forces have brought chefs from behind the British stove to our international television screens. The other theoretical framework for this multi-method approach has been through that of cultural studies, which has been used to analyze the increasing social significance of British celebrity chefs - a new recipe combining charisma, culture, culinary opinion leading, prophets, and profits. The paper examines these functions and topics in order to draw conclusions about the economic and cultural impacts of British food television, and unpacks some of the assertions of theories applied to television flows, the myth of mediated globalization and the tensions of the primacy of the national televison market and the allure of chefs and broadcasters extending their stoves of influence.

Keywords: Food Television, Globalization, Celebrity Chefs, Britain, Television Flow Theories
Stream: Media and Communications
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Thane Ryland

PhD candidate, LSE
London, UK

I came to the LSE from America, where I spent the better part of 20 years working in media capacities for a host of consumer brands. During that time, I had developed a keen passion for cooking and related food issues on a personal and professional level. An initial curiosity or appreciation of food and media’s role in food culture and society has evolved into an intellectual passion as well as a professional ambition. [Food television, unlike other television genres, remains largely under-researched]. My pursuit of a doctoral degree in Media and Communications, then, is both the result and an extension of my passion for food and professional experience in the media industries. My PhD research on the programming strategies of British food television is built upon a political-economic approach, industry data, interviews with producers, directors, executives and the presenters of British food television. Another critical element of this research examines the cultural and social perceptions of this television sub-genre, as well as larger shifts that may propel or maintain its role within the global television industry. Fieldwork has included interviews and analysis of key figures from such popular programs as Masterchef, The Hairy Bikers, Jamie’s School Dinners, Great British Menu and Market Kitchen, among others.

Ref: I08P0155