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A Case of Identity: Sherlock, Elementary and Their National Broadcasting Systems

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Abstract

In March 2014, the BBC announced the closure of its youth oriented digital channel BBC3. Director General Tony Hall provided an explanation for this radical and unprecedented decision in the popular tabloid newspaper, The Daily Mirror.

Keywords

  • Broadcasting System
  • Television Drama
  • Public Service Broadcaster
  • Cent Share
  • Commercial Broadcasting

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‘I hear of Sherlock everywhere.’

Arthur Conan Doyle, ‘The Greek Interpreter’

‘“Excellent!” I cried. “Elementary,” said he.’

Arthur Conan Doyle, ‘The Adventure of the Crooked Man’

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Notes

  1. Tony Hall, ‘BBC’s Director General Tony Hall Explains Why Moving BBC Three Online Will “Help Deliver Great Shows Like Sherlock”’, 6 March 2014, http://www.mirror.co.uk/tv/tv-news/bbc-tony-hall-bbc-three-3215099#ixzz2yrJvHjFq.

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  2. This disparity is also reflected in academic research. As far as I know, this is the first scholarly essay on Elementary but Sherlock has already attracted considerable academic attention. Two edited collections on Holmes include essays on Sherlock: Sherlock Holmes for the 21st Century: Essays on New Adaptations, ed. Lynnette Porter (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2012)

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  3. and Sherlock Holmes and Conan Doyle: Multi-Media Afterlives, eds. Sabine Vanacker and Catherine Wynne (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012).

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  4. One edited collection focuses entirely on Sherlock: Sherlock and Transmedia Fandom: Essays on the BBC Series, eds. Kristina Busse and Louisa Stein (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2012). Matt Hills is preparing Sherlock: Detecting Quality TV for I.B. Tauris and there is probably other material forthcoming.

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  5. Elke Weissmann, Transnational Television Drama: Special Relations and Mutual Influence between the US and the UK (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), 186.

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  6. BBC, ‘Mission and Values’, 21 December 2011, http://www.bbc.co.uk/aboutthebbc/insidethebbc/whoweare/mission_and_values/.

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  7. Elizabeth Evans and Paul McDonald, ‘Online Distribution of Film and Television in the UK: Behavior, Taste, and Value’, in Connected Viewing: Selling, Streaming, & Sharing Media in the Digital Age, eds. Jennifer Holt and Kevin Sanson (New York: Routledge, 2014), 162.

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  8. Ofcom, ‘PSB Report 2013 — Information pack’, August 2013, 55, http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/broadcast/reviews-investigations/psb-review/psb2013/viewing.pdf.

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  9. Sylvia Harvey, ‘Ofcom’s First Year and Neoliberalism’s Blind Spot’, Screen 47, no. 1 (2006), 97. Harvey quotes the Communications Act 2003, clause 264, (6), (b), (e), (f) and (h).

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  10. BBC News, ‘Television Licence Fee to Be Frozen for Next Six Years’, 20 October 2010, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-11572171.

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  11. Catherine Johnson, Branding Television (London: Routledge, 2012), 85.

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  12. BBC News, ‘BBC Told to Improve Peak-Time Drama and Current Affairs’, 11 December 2013, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-25332106.

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  13. Tony Hall, Speech to the Voice of the Listener & Viewer Conference, 27 November 2013, http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/speeches/2013/tony-hall-vlv.html.

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  14. John Ellis, ‘Scheduling: The Last Creative Act in Television?’, Media, Culture & Society 22 (2000), 33.

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  15. Michael Curtin and Jane Shattuc, The American Television Industry (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), 65.

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  16. Jason Mittell, Genre and Television: From Cop Shows to Cartoons in American Culture (London: Routledge, 2004), xii.

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  17. Steven Zeitchik, ‘Fall TV Preview: The Sherlock Holmes of “Elementary” Is on the Trail of a New Idea’, 8 September 2012, http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/tv/showtracker/la-et-st-fall-tv-preview-elementary-20120909,0,5190834.story.

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  18. Jason Mittell, Television and American Culture (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 28.

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  19. Allison Nichols, ‘New fall TV drama: CBS’s “Elementary”’, 4 September 2012, AXS Entertainment, http://www.examiner.com/article/new-fall-tv-drama-cbs-s-elementary.

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© 2015 Roberta Pearson

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Pearson, R. (2015). A Case of Identity: Sherlock, Elementary and Their National Broadcasting Systems. In: Pearson, R., Smith, A.N. (eds) Storytelling in the Media Convergence Age. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137388155_8

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