In recent years reality TV formats have proliferated on television. One of the most significant and controversial strands within this has been the growth of 'real crime TV'. Encapsulating everything from crime appeal shows to reconstruction programmes and actuality footage shows, real crime TV now plays a major role in our television schedules, filling countless hours of air-time every week. Crime Watching examines the spectacular growth of real crime TV, arguing that the birth of the BBC's Crimewatch UK in 1984 was a key transitional moment in the emergence, expansion and subsequent popularity of these programmes both in the UK and internationally. Deborah Jermyn looks closely at the social and political context of the period in which Crimewatch UK first appeared and examines the aesthetics, address and appeal of a range of other shows appearing in its wake, including Police Camera Action!, America's Most Wanted and World's Wildest Police Videos. She investigates the conditions that have advanced the ubiquity of real crime programming on contemporary television and the anxieties that surround it. Examining critiques that real crime TV has increased fear of crime while legitimising a surveillance culture, and that it serves to stifle debate about criminality and policing, Crime Watching also reflects on the pleasures of these programmes and the enduring nature of our culture's seemingly endless fascination with real crime stories.
Investigating Real Crime TV