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Understanding TV Comedy

jeremy | Tuesday April 27, 2010

Categories: GCSE, OCR GCSE, Other Topics, Moving Images, Television, Situation Comedy, Television Comedy, Understanding Media, Understanding Key Topics

Finally in Year One you should start the class thinking about the topic for the B question in the exam. The current topic is TV comedy.

Individuals need to make their own study of this topic depending on their own consumption of the many varieties of TV comedy, so that they have a thorough knowledge of at least two different texts and preferably three. Gervais in Extras might be a way of looking at postmodern comedy



Before looking at texts, OCR feel it is important to understand the institutional context of TV comedy especially the difference between Public Service Broadcasting – The BBC – and commercial broadcasting.

1. Discuss the purpose and ethos of the BBC – inform, educate and entertain.
2. Discuss multi channel commercial broadcasting. 
3. Discuss television funding – licence fee and advertising and future funding models – e.g.product placement on commercial channels has been agreed by Ofcom.
4. Discuss scheduling with examples. What is the 9.00pm watershed?
5. Audiences – how do channels target audiences – what sort of programmes have large audiences – April 2010 Dr Who audience was over 8 million.
6. Could a TV comedy achieve an audience of over 8 million?
7. Historical perspective with Only Fools and Horses - why this comedy had big audiences.
8. Difference between mainstream and niche audiences – see Audience under Key Concepts on this site.
9. Maybe introduce Blumler and Katz’s ‘Uses and Gratification Theory’ or a simple version. They suggested audiences consume media texts for information, for entertainment, for social interaction around the water cooler, for ‘escape’, and as a way of the audience identifying with aspects of the programme or its characters. 


Choose a mainstream TV comedy such as the sitcom My Family and a niche comedy that might include stand up comedians for example: Comedy Rocks with Jason Manford (ITV April 2010).


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