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'Don't let him take Britain back to the 1980s': Ashes to Ashes as postfeminist recession television

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-212
Number of pages12
JournalContinuum-Journal of media & cultural studies
Issue number2
Published4 Mar 2014

King's Authors


This article interrogates postfeminism and recessionary discourse in the time-travel police series Ashes to Ashes (BBC, 2008-2010). Viewing the series as an early example of 'recession television', it explores how the resident gender discourse of postfeminism established in the pre-recession first series, and attendant cultural priorities, shifted over time in tandem with the onset of recession, following the 2008 global financial crisis, and in line with tendencies of emergent recessionary media culture. In early episodes it over-determines the characterization of female detective protagonist Alex Drake as a postfeminist subject, drawing her to well-worn cultural scripts of femininity. Later this gives way to the discursive centralization of her boss, Gene Hunt, already an iconic figurehead of recidivist masculinity from the earlier Life on Mars (BBC, 2006-2007), one of several gendered responses to the drastically changed economic environment in which the series was produced and received.

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