Interfacing the Nation: Remediating Public Service Broadcasting in the Digital Television Age

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This article engages with prominent arguments about the role of public service broad- casting in the digital age and suggests that the BBC’s role as a national universalist provider is one that can be accommodated within an age of identity and media pluralism. Taking the BBC’s 2004 coverage of commemoration events that marked the end of the Second World War as a case study, this article combines industrial and textual analysis to investigate how the BBC utilized event programming and interactive television as a ‘portal’ to drive viewers to online spaces. In so doing, it examines how such programming strategies worked to reassert traditional public service concerns with the national whilst simultaneously exploiting its brand value across new media platforms to cater for a fragmenting audience. The forms of interactive television discussed here are character- ized by a desire to bring viewers together into one space to ‘engage’ and ‘participate’ under the familiar terms of the national, but crucially within the new media spaces opened to them by the BBC as ‘trusted guide’. The conclusion outlines how this case study might help us understand a ‘remediation’ of public service broadcasting’s role in the digital age, suggesting that the BBC’s 2004 commemorative programming was particularly successful in articulating this role.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-299
Number of pages17
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2008


  • BBC
  • history
  • interactive television
  • public service broadcasting
  • national identity

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