Document Type

Journal Article


A viewing of the grim but popular BBC police procedural, Wallander (BBC1, 2008-), prompts a reflection on Richard Dyer's original formulation of entertainment as utopia in 1977. It is noted that the concept of entertainment has received relatively little attention within the fields of media and cultural studies since that time and that the history of the television crime drama provides an interesting case study with which to re-examine popular television as a particular form entertainment. The example of the early British police procedural, Fabian of the Yard (BBC 1954-1956) is discussed in order to reveal the complexity of the genre and its various pleasures which have ranged from documenting real crime, the pursuit of knowledge and truth to cultural tourism. Finally it is argued that pleasure in the 'form' of the TV crime drama and a familiarity with its series characters may well be a key factor in its assessing its success as a form of entertainment.