This is the story of television and how it has changed our lives - from the moon landings to the X Factor. But what does your furniture point at?' asks the character Joey in the sitcom Friends on hearing an acquaintance has no TV. It's a good question: since its beginnings during WW2, television has assumed a central role in our houses and our lives, just as satellite dishes and aerials have become features of urban skylines. Television (or 'the idiot's lantern', depending on your feelings about it) has created controversy, brought coronations and World Cups into living rooms, allowed us access to 24hr news and media and provided a thousand conversation starters. As shows come and go in popularity, the history of television shows us how our society has changed. Armchair Nation reveals the fascinating, lyrical and sometimes surprising history of telly, from the first demonstration of television by John Logie Baird (in Selfridges) to the fear and excitement that greeted its arrival in households (some viewers worried it might control their thoughts), the controversies of Mary Whitehouse's 'Clean Up TV' campaign and what JG Ballard thought about Big Brother. Via trips down memory lane with Morecambe and Wise, Richard Dimbleby, David Frost, Blue Peter and Coronation Street, you can flick between fascinating nuggets from the strange side of TV: what happened after a chimpanzee called 'Fred J. Muggs' interrupted American footage of the Queen's wedding, and why aliens might be tuning in to The Benny Hill Show. As Alfred Hitchcock said: 'The invention of television can be compared to the introduction of indoor plumbing. Fundamentally it brought no change in the public's habits. It simply eliminated the necessity of leaving the house.
'At last! The view from the sofa. A history of television that reflects the lives of those who watch it - and that means pretty well all of us. Informative, evocative, funny, moving, sometimes even startling, Joe Moran, Britain's premier historian of the everyday, has pulled it off again.'
'Joe Moran is the most perceptive and original observer of British life that we have'
'Terrific ... both erudite and highly entertaining'
'Joe Moran's affectionate and erudite chronicle of our nation's love affair with TV achieves the impossible - it is scholarly AND accessible.It is a compelling account of a golden age and reminds us in the process that today's age of plenty has diluted the cultural impact of TV'
Publication date: 22/08/2013
Publisher: Profile Books Ltd
|Publication date:||22nd August 2013|
|Publisher:||Profile Books Ltd|
Joe Moran is Professor of English and Cultural History at Liverpool John Moores University. He contributes regularly to the Guardian and other newspapers. His book On Roads was longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize and, together with his previous book, Queuing for Beginners, received unanimous critical acclaim.More About Joe Moran