The television policies of the UK administrations of Margaret Thatcher and John Major 1979-1997

Goodwin, P. 1999. The television policies of the UK administrations of Margaret Thatcher and John Major 1979-1997. PhD thesis University of Westminster School of Media, Arts and Design

TitleThe television policies of the UK administrations of Margaret Thatcher and John Major 1979-1997
TypePhD thesis
AuthorsGoodwin, P.
Abstract

This thesis provides an extended analysis and review of the television policies of the

UK Conservative administrations of Margaret Thatcher and John Major from 1979 to

1997 and examines the causes, coherence and consequences of those policies.

In particular, it identifies the potential forces for change in UK television policy from

the late seventies: notably, international changes in the economic, social and cultural,

and technological environment of the industry; and the political changes in the UK

introduced by the new Conservative administrations, generally known as

`Thatcherism'.

The thesis analyses the specific strengths of the UK television system established by

the 1970s, and reviews the criticisms made of that system in the years before 1979. It

then assesses the major developments in television policy instituted by the

Thatcher and Major administrations: the establishment of Channel 4; their policies on

the new technologies of satellite and broadband cable; the impact of the Committee

chaired by Alan Peacock on the Financing of the BBC; the reform of ITV; their

policies for the renewal of the BBC charter in the 1990s; and their policies on

digitalisation and multimedia.

Particular attention is paid to the changes that these policies produced in the UK

television industry, and the lack of overall coherence of the policies. The thesis

argues that the changes were significant but that they were only partial, and that,

while pursuing a general goal of marketisation, the policies were incoherent in many

of their specifics. This incoherence stemmed partly from resistance by established institutions within the industry, and partly from internal contradictions within the

Tories' overall free-market project.

The thesis concludes with an examination of the light that Tory television policy

during this period sheds on the wider political debate on `Thatcherism' and the

international context of UK television policy during the same period.

Year1999
FileGoodwin.pdf
Publication dates
Completed1999

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