Call for Chapters: ‘This Country: UK comedy cultures’

Extended deadline: 20th August 2018.


Dr. Jill Marshall, organiser of the 2017 Value of Comedy symposium at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh and Dr. Mary Irwin, author (with Gabrielle Smith) of “Ah hink it’s time for suttin blue n a BAILEYS!” – Subverting Scottish Male Identities in Gary: Tank Commander”, International Journal of Scottish Theatre and Screen (Special Issue) TV in Scotland: Past, Present and Future (2018) , “The Rag Trade – A History of British TV Comedy – Cultural Concepts and Contexts”  Jurgen Kamm and Birgit Neuman (eds)  Palgrave  (2016 ) and “That’s the Last Time I Play the Tart for You, Jerry!” Critical Studies in Television, Special Issue: “Acting Up: Gender and Television Comedy” 10:2 (2015) …

… invite proposals for chapter contributions to a new collection which will bring together work on UK comedy with emphasis on its regions and cultures.

The UK has a rich, varied history of comedy which consistently chronicles the details of British lives and experiences. Despite its often high international profile in the form of television and cinema, and the extent to which comedy is valued in Britain, UK comedy remains significantly under-explored and under theorised within the academy.

This call for papers invites scholars working broadly in the area of UK comedy to contribute to an edited collection which will explore UK media comedy in more depth.

We are interested in all forms of comedy in the widest range of electronic media: television, radio, podcasts, cinema and other films, game or other interactive formats, streamed or available on internet media platforms, this includes live performance which has been recorded for broadcast or made available to view online.

This Country is intended to be a multi-layered imagining of Britain which acknowledges its past, the complexity of its changing social structures and subcultures and the diversity of its regions and nations – and the current renegotiation of the relationships between them.

We’re particularly interested in work which explores what Raymond Williams conceptualises as “structure of feeling” (1954) encapsulating “the lived experience of the quality of life at a particular time and place” (1977).

Here are a few indicative examples of texts the collection could include work on:

  • Billy Liar (1963) John Schlesinger and Keith Waterhouse’s comic addition to Britain’s social realist cinema.
  • Father Ted (Channel 4 1995-1998) from an island parish somewhere off the coast of Ireland and watched everywhere on mainland UK (we’re not putting a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic).
  • Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), landmark  British cinema set in the same England as the Vicar of Dibley (BBC 1994 – 2007).
  • Genre-reinventing verité sitcoms The Office (BBC 2001 2003) set in Slough and Caroline Aherne’s Royle Family (1998 – 2000) from Manchester.
  • On the Hour (BBC Radio 4 1991-2) Chris Morris and Steve Coogan’s innovative satirical news show.
  • Creature Comforts / the Wallace and Gromit series from Nick Park’s  Aardman Animations
  • Michaela Coel’s  BAFTA-winning Chewing Gum (E4 2015 -)
  • Instagrammer ‘Chabuddy G’  (Asim Chaudhry) from BBC 3 ‘s BAFTA winning mockumentary  People Just do Nothing  about a pirate radio station in Hounslow.
  • Glasgow-based Janey Godley’s YouTube and podcast satires.

And everything from Goodness Gracious Me to Hebburn to Absolutely to Desmond’s to Hitchhiker’s Guide to all the other things that wouldn’t fit on our nice, neat list.

Please send abstracts of 300 – 500 words, by 20th August 2018 to:  and / or

and feel free to run ideas past us.