Vampire Hunters: the Scheduling and Reception of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel in the UK

1.5 Buffy and Angel

‘Vampire Hunters: the Scheduling and Reception of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel in the UK’

Annette Hill and Ian Calcutt

In a viewers’ feedback programme on TV, a senior executive responded to public criticism of UK television’s scheduling and censorship of imported cult TV. Key examples included Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin off series Angel. The executive stated: ‘The problem is, with some of the series we acquire from the States, in the States they go out at eight o’clock or nine o’clock. We don’t have that option here because we want to be showing history documentaries or some other more serious programming at eight or nine o’clock’ [1]. TV channels in the UK do not perceive programmes like Buffy and Angel, which have garnered critical and ratings success in the USA, appropriate for a similarly prominent timeslot. Although peak time programmes can include entertainment shows, these are generally UK productions, such as lifestyle or drama.

This article analyses the circumstances within which British viewers are able to see Buffy and Angel, and the implications of those circumstances for their experiences as audience members and fans. The article is in two sections. The first section outlines the British TV system in general, and the different missions and purposes of relevant TV channels. It also addresses the specifics of scheduling Buffy and Angel, including the role of censorship and editing of episodes. We highlight how the scheduling has been erratic, which both interrupts complex story arcs and frustrates fans expecting to see their favourite show at a regular time. Furthermore, scenes and even entire episodes have been cut by UK broadcasters to conform to taste and decency guidelines. The way certain channels understand their role as broadcasters, in particular for a young or ‘family’ audience, has implications for how Buffy and Angel are presented. The second section explores the consequences of the scheduling and censorship of these programmes in relation to the viewing experience… [Full Article Here]

 

From: Intensities 1 (Spring/Summer 2001), eds. Matt Hills and Sara Gwenllian Jones

 

 

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