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Title: Top Boy: Cultural Verisimilitude and the Allure of Black Criminality on UK Public Service Broadcasting Drama
Authors: Malik, S
Nwonka, CJ
Keywords: black;crime drama;multiculturalism;post-multiculturalism;public service broadcasting;Channel 4;urban;youth
Issue Date: 1-Oct-2017
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
Citation: Malik, S. and Nwonka, C.J. (2017) 'Top Boy : Cultural Verisimilitude and the Allure of Black Criminality for UK Public Service Broadcasting Drama', Journal of British Cinema and Television, 14(4), pp. 423 - 444. doi: 10.3366/jbctv.2017.0387.
Abstract: In the early 2000s, a new form of multicultural television drama began to emerge in the UK, exploring contemporary gang life within Britain’s black communities. A notable example of this ‘black urban crime’ genre is Top Boy, screened by the UK’s leading multicultural public service broadcaster, Channel 4, between 2011 and 2013. This article produces an analysis, drawing on sociological and media studies perspectives, and through historicization and contextualisation, that seeks to understand the fascination of the black urban crime genre for programme-makers, broadcasters and audiences in the contemporary British mediascape. It locates Top Boy at the intersection of complex media relations and modes of production that are themselves intertwined with political, legislative and cultural agendas tied to post-multiculturalist and neoliberalist tendencies within public service broadcasting frameworks. The article suggests that black urban crime narratives do not advance understandings of the organizational structure of urban gangs or drug related crime that are so central to these texts; nor do they offer a progressive contribution to contemporary debates or representation of black criminality.
ISSN: 1743-4521
Appears in Collections:Dept of Social and Political Sciences Research Papers

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