This book developed out of a course I have been teaching since 1996 at the University of the West of England, called Gender and Sexuality in Film and Television. I would like to thank all the students with whom I have discussed the programmes and issues included here. Their insights and diversity of responses have enriched my own thinking enormously. I have shared the teaching of this course with several people over the years and to them I would like to extend my thanks for their enthusiasm and intellectual engagement. They have helped to shape my thinking in numerous ways and we have had a lot of fun working together. Paul Ryan’s work on gay representation in television drama helped me to get started on Chapter 7. Sherryl Wilson’s (2003) work on talk shows helped to stimulate the interest in confessional television that emerges in Chapter 4. Helen Kennedy’s work on girl gamers has kept me updated on the gendering of new media technologies and their transgressive pleasures. Suzy Gordon’s work on psychoanalytic theory and feminist film studies has helped to maintain my own interest in the relevance of these approaches to television, and she also read and commented on early drafts of almost all of the chapters. Nils Lindahl-Ellio, with whom I have taught a course on Environmentalism and the Media, has been an important influence on my approach to wildlife films in Chapter 5. Finally, I would like to thank Stuart Allan for recognizing the potential for a book on this topic, and for his continuing encouragement and advice in the development of the project.

The School of Cultural Sudies at UWE has provided ongoing financial support for the book’s completion, especially in awarding the research leave in 2000 to 2001 that enabled much of the research and writing to be done, and then again at the end of 2003 for bringing the project to fruition. The School also financed Sherryl Wilson’s work on collating the database of documentaries that I draw on in Chapter 6. I would like to thank her for doing this time-consuming research in such a meticulous and


good-natured manner, and Phillip Hargreaves for providing technical training and computer support for the software used.

The School’s Gender and Culture Research Group has been a valuable source of advice in helping to polish the final version. Richard Hornsey, Helen Kennedy and Gillian Swanson, in particular, contributed detailed comments at this stage. Jon Dovey also gave detailed advice and I would like to thank him for having been a colleague with whom, over the years, I could discuss television of various kinds with such enthusiasm and insight.

Thanks also go to the organizers of the conferences where I have given papers on my research, and to the Faculty of Humanities, Languages and Social Science for financing my attendance: Visible Evidence X1, UWE, Watershed Media Centre, 2003; Media in Transition 3: Television, MIT Boston, USA, 2003; Global Village or Global Image, BFI/ITC/BSC, Institute of Education, London University, 2001; Television: Past, Present and Futures, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, 2000.

A very warm thanks to those who first taught me how to study television, namely Manuel Alvarado, David Buckingham, Philip Drummond and Robert Ferguson at the Institute of Education, London University, where I completed an MA in 1984. But the seeds of this book were sown even earlier at a summer school organized in 1982 by the BFI Education Department entitled ‘Who Does Television Think We Are?’ A special thanks to David Lusted in whose seminar group I learnt how to take television light entertainment seriously without sacrificing the fun.

Material included in Chapter 8 was published as ‘Sex and the City and consumer culture: remediating postfeminist drama’, in Feminist Media Studies, 3(1). I would like to thank the journal for permission to publish a revised version here.