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Singular encounters : mediating the tourist destination in British television holiday programmes

By David Dunn


There are close links between the tourist gaze and the gaze of the television camera, and British television holiday programmes have conventionally privileged the scopic in their representations of the tourist destination. At the same time their engagement with tourism as a popular cultural activity was informed by a public service broadcasting ideology which privileged information and education over entertainment. In a world of deregulated broadcasting, and with a proliferation of available channels, the genre is developing new narrative forms in order to reflect the diversity of popular culture. It is also informed by television’s current privileging of lifestyle, of personalization and first person narratives of both celebrities and of ‘ordinary’ people. This article uses three case studies which have been chosen to represent both the mainstream conventions of the holiday programme per se, plus the influences of lifestyle programming’s emphasis on recreation, re-creation and makeover and the conventions of docusoap narratives, to argue that the genre is increasingly foregrounding the stories, however constructed, of performers-astourists/tourists-as-performers over representations of the tourist destination

Topics: G1
Publisher: Sage
Year: 2006
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