Desert Island Discs and British emotional life

Hendy, David (2017) Desert Island Discs and British emotional life. In: Brown, Julie, Cook, Nicholas and Cottrell, Stephen (eds.) Defining the discographic self : "Desert Island Discs" in context. Proceedings of the British Academy (211). Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 155-172. ISBN 9780197266175

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Abstract

This chapter explores how the long-running BBC radio programme Desert Island Discs has responded over time to an increasing public appetite for openness and honesty. One of the programme’s presenters once said it was ‘properly impressed by power, wealth and ambition, but… knows that the world is made up of more than that’. This spoke to a longer-term revolution in modern life, as outlined by historians of the emotions: an increasing informality of manners, especially in broadcast talk. How did the BBC navigate these trends in a series that had long been a by-word for decorum? And what did Radio 4 listeners think of its new willingness in the 1980s and 1990s to probe guests more deeply? Drawing on unpublished BBC records and Mass Observation archives, this chapter focuses on how various desires for openness over private lives and feelings - and the anxieties this prompted - were negotiated behind-the-scenes at crucial moments in its history.

Item Type: Book Section
Keywords: BBC, radio, broadcasting, media history, emotions, Britishness, Englishness, Twentieth Century, music, BBC Radio 4
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Film and Music > Media and Film
Subjects: A General Works > AS Academies and learned societies (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF0173 Psychoanalysis
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF0511 Affection. Feeling. Emotion > BF0531 Emotion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF0698 Personality
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D839 Post-war History, 1945 on
D History General and Old World > DA History of Great Britain
H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and communications > HE7601 Telecommunication industry. Telegraph > HE8689 Radio and television broadcasting
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology > HM0831 Social change
M Music. Literature on music. Musical instruction and study > M Music
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Depositing User: David Hendy
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2018 09:03
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2018 09:03
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/72798

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