Exploring Television’s Relationship with the Working Class

Exploring Television’s Relationship with the Working Class

British playwright and screenwriter, James Graham, known for his work on shows like Sherwood, Dear England, Brexit: The Uncivil War, and Quiz, is set to deliver the 49th MacTaggart lecture at the Edinburgh TV Festival. In his upcoming speech, Graham plans to delve into the issue of why television has a problem with representing the working classes. This topic is particularly important in today’s media landscape, where diversity and inclusion are at the forefront of discussions.

Over his 20-year career, Graham’s work has often touched upon themes of social class and regional identity. His recent projects, such as a theater adaptation of Alan Bleasdale’s Boys from the Blackstuff and the political thriller series The Way, have further explored these topics. Graham’s intention is to challenge the industry to push for greater representation of the working class and regions that are often overlooked in mainstream media.

In a recent BBC interview, Graham highlighted the importance of television in shaping cultural and political narratives. He emphasized how TV moments have the power to bring a nation together through shared experiences, whether it be through highlighting social injustices or celebrating sporting achievements. Graham’s recognition of television’s influence underscores the need for more diverse voices and narratives in the industry.

Graham’s invitation to deliver the MacTaggart lecture comes at a pivotal moment, following a landmark election. He sees this opportunity as a chance to reflect on the future direction of the creative industries and the role that drama, storytelling, and culture can play in shaping politics and society. By centering the discussion on left-behind communities, Graham aims to spark dialogue on how to better represent and uplift marginalized voices in the media.

Edinburgh Creative Director Rowan Woods and Advisory Chair Harjeet Chhokar have commended Graham as a fearless chronicler of British history and power dynamics. They praise his commitment to shining a light on social injustices and advocating for a more inclusive representation in television. Graham’s reputation as a hardworking and dedicated writer positions him as a leading voice in the industry, championing for greater diversity and authenticity in storytelling.

As James Graham prepares to take the stage at the Edinburgh TV Festival, his message on the importance of representation and diversity in television serves as a call to action for the industry. By addressing the issue of underrepresentation of the working class and marginalized communities, Graham challenges his peers to rethink their storytelling approaches and embrace a more inclusive and socially conscious narrative. In a time of political and cultural divide, Graham’s insights are more relevant than ever, reminding us of the transformative power of television in shaping the world around us.


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