Wednesday, 27 April 2011


Exam Practice Task: Analyse how the producers construct representations of working class in the first 5/6 minutes including the opening credits. 

The image of the working class in Shameless has been represented by the setting and characters. From the opening I can infer that the main character is Frank and he's also a lone parent as he claims his partner has 'disappeared into thin air'

 In this opening shot we can see that the setting is located in a fairly normal city like setting, with parks, bulidings, offices and houses.
While the scene is being set, the voiceover by Frank is describing his family and his life and where he's at.

 This screengrab shows that they live in a sort of council type of estate as there is a park which in between the house which may signal that the children play on it. This may give the representation on the working class that they may not be able to afford a better or bigger house especially with the number of people in the family and is therefore giving a negative representation of the working class.

 From this scene the representation on the children is portrayed negatively as one of the kids hit their own father and he is floored by this. The clothes that the characters wear make them look slightly 'chavvy' and this can also portray a negative image for the working class.

 From this shot, I believe that the children and the father have a really strong relationship as they are all looking down on him to see if he's okay and when Frank does move slightly the rest of the children run away. This shows that there is an element of fear between the relationships.
 Negative representations on the working class may be extracted from this shot as it's showing the 'community' vandalising a car by burning it and everybody drinking alcohol, throwing cans at the car with police having to intervene. This definitely forms a negative image for the working class as the scene shows behaviour of an aggressive nature.
 The police having to intervene makes it look like the act the 'community' which Frank prides in are committing illegal acts, and this can understandably cause negative representations of the working class as it may be seen as 'trashy' and not very welcoming.
The title appears when the camera is focussing on the whole scene of havoc. The title 'Shameless' is quite important itself as it may refer to Frank's family and community have no shame, and do things which may not be seen as 'classy'. Due to this the show 'Shameless' can't really give the working class a positive representation if this is the sort of stuff that goes on in the community. The camera is looking down, establishing the scene and this emphasises the chaos caused by the community.

The sound in the whole opening is just a rock and roll themed instrumental to emphasise the madness of the plot and characters. The sound also is quite fast paced and makes the opening quite enjoyable to watch too. The mise-en-scene of the opening show people wearing casual clothing, nothing formal or smart; so we wouldn't expect any one to have flashy jobs. The editing is really quick and there are some fading transitions used in some shots while the characters are being described to maybe show how each character has similar attributes all relating to Frank the dad.

Overall the show 'Shameless' has negative representations on the working class due to the title itself, the type of things the community gets up to which needs intervention from the police and the setting of what looks like a council estate which some may refer to as 'rough' or 'intimidating'. Therefore I believe Shameless creates negative representations on the working class.

'Ashes to Ashes' Practical Analysis

Gene Hunt

  • Low angle shots are used when filming Gene Hunt, to show that he is a heroic character, with high status. 
  • The car that he drives represents him, as a superior person.
  • As he steps out of the car, the camera focuses on his snake-skinned boots which were very popular in the 80s. The series is set in the 80s. 
  • He is dressed very smartly in a tie and shirt, and a long black coat. He is also wearing leather gloves. This represents him to be in a role of a detective.
  • When Alex realises who Gene Hunt is, the soundtrack portrays him to be a 'superhero'. 
  • Overdramatized music is played as Alex realises who he is, to emphasis his main role. 
  • When the car is driving to Alex, the soundtrack is a typical 80s rhythm, and quite upbeat.
Ways to modify our first impressions of Gene Hunt.
We could achieve this in many ways using Camerwork, Mise-en-Scene and Soundtrack. Our first impressions of Gene Hunt in the extract were that he was quite sexist towards women. This is evident with the remarks he makes towards Alex Drake. We also saw him as a macho person, by the body language shown. The low angle shows his posture to be confident and upright. One way we could change this representation is by, using different camera angles. Instead of using low angles shots, medium shots and close-up shots to get an insight to his emotions during this scene. Another way would be to use a different soundtrack. The soundtrack could be less upbeat suggesting that he is a more serious person, and would not be as humorous. It would have low tones suggesting the seriousness of the situation. Although when the car is being driven we could take take snippets of the upbeat soundtrack, to still show that he has a high status. The body language could also be modified, by making his reactions less exaggerated, making it look more realistic. Lastly we could decrease the number of cross-cutting shots so that it focuses more on the male protagonist, Gene Hunt, than the situation. This would portray his confidence and upbrupt manner less because it will give us more of an insight on him as a person, in his role.

Shreyaa, Devki, Ashwin and myself all contributed to these answers

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Shameless - Research

Company Pictures

Distribution -
Channel 4 Television Corporation

Despite the all pervading conflicts and crises, the predominant styles of fictional representation of working class life in social realism are also refused. Gone is the tragic pessimism which can only be overcome by individual heroism or the painstaking work of diligent self-improvement. There is no pandering whatsoever to the notion that the family are an imminent threat to themselves or to (polite) society, which can only be averted or contained by the enlightened action of outside forces (the state, employers, experts, etc). Such institutions are recognised as only having the capacity to destroy both the Gallaghers’ fragile practical unity and their sense of who they are, as fully imbricated in each other’s lives rather than separate individuals with isolated needs. So Shameless replaces earnest negativity with exuberance, the yearning for passionate fulfilment, and outrageous comedy bordering on farce.

Do you think Shameless is a good representation of life on a council estate?
'shameless is the most accurate portrayal of the poor section of society I have ever seen'

In April 2005, the programme's first series won the Best Drama Series category at the British Academy Television Awards. It was also nominated for 'Best British Drama' at the 'National Television Awards 2007', but lost out to Doctor WhoShameless won an award at the 'Royal Television Awards Society North West Awards 2007' where it beat Coronation Street to the 'Best Continuing Drama Award'.

Shameless - Average Viewing Figures

Series 1 = 2.57 million
Series 2 = 2.67 million
Series 3 = 3.01 million
Series 4 = 3.38 million

Viewer Review
"Shameless" began a couple of nights ago on SBS TV - supposedly an ethnic channel (are Mancunian's ethnic, then??) - in Australia, with no warning, no fanfare. I was blown fair out of my chair by this show, and possibly appreciated it all the more because I had no expectations, although once I noted Paul Abbott's name under 'writer' I knew I was in for something special. His scripts for 'Clocking Off' and 'Linda Green' were, like 'Shameless', both sharp and original. Dialogue is quick and relevant, characters are drawn immediately, and altogether the script treats the viewer as an intelligent participant in the hilarious, and often poignant, exploits of the Gallagher family. Dad Gallagher, always a bit the worse for wear on drugs or alcohol (or both) is raging around the room talking rubbish, and Fiona, eldest child, explains to her posh boyfriend that her Dad's ecstasy dealer is a schizophrenic, like that explains everything. Perhaps it does...... If you get the chance to see this, then don't miss it.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Home Learning Task 2

You will examine and compare the way the "law" is represented in different dramas. Issues of representation to analyse: authority, gender, race as well as whether the representations are sympathetic, realistic etc... How do the producers position the audience in relation to the detectives / officers?
TASK: Write a comparative essay analysing the representations of the ‘law’ in the 2 extracts from The Wire and A Touch of Frost.

In English and American crime dramas the police are represented in a variety of ways and is often shown in contrasting styles. From both types we are shown what perspective the Law(police/detectives) have on different criminal acts and how they deal with it. The way 'A Touch of Frost' and 'The Wire' are constructed we get a biased opinion towards the police and we feel obliged to be on their side. Both of the shows stereotype certain characters, for instance the crimes committed will be from young black men and the head officer will be a veteran. From the screen grab we can see the lead detective instigating his men as he has all the experience. Also, the stereotype that can be seen from the extract of 'The Wire' is that the guy in question is a young black guy(see below) who seems as if he is involved in some sort of gang activity. As well as these stereotypes there are also counter types that challenge traditional stereotypical associations. In some cases there are archetypes which is the 'ultimate' stereotype.

The Wire is a US crime drama located in Baltimore in the 'ghetto' where the main issues seem to revolve around murder, drugs and gangs. From the extract of The Wire we can understand that somebody has died and the victims friend is overlooking the scene while talking to a cop who doesn't really look like he's on duty as he is dressed casually and talking to the victim's friend as if they are fond of each other. This could be seen as a negative representation of black people as the two victims involved are both black and we could infer that there was some sort of shooting that took place. Some people may believe that this is an okay representation as some people will have witnessed gang activity involving young black men and would therefore seem like a realistic representation to show. This representation has been used because it can be easily understood and followed. The show isn't trying to give young black men an unfair representation as the cast also includes a black man working for the police too.

The shots used during the extract are a variety of close ups between the two while chatting, this shows how close the two characters are and also emphasises the fact on how important the character may be. The end of the extract then zooms out to the dead body and focuses onto it and then blurs out to the background. The titles then roll on, this shows that because the opening ended like this and an enigma has been created, the rest of the show will unravel the murder and we will know the full story.

Crime dramas often show the perspective of the Law to make the audience feel sympathetic towards the Law. In the extract we see the detective being friendly and agreeable with the victim, this gives us the impression that the detective (Dominic West) is a good character and also to show the police in a good manner.

In the British crime drama 'A Touch of Frost' is also shown in a similar fashion. This show also shows the perspective of the law but the characters show a brutal side(to the left) of the law. The show has given David Jason the role of being the veteran detective with all the tricks. This is backed up by when he tricks the security into helping him push his van but then they are ambushed as his van was working fine and the police were inside the van(as shown in the screen grab to the right).

This stereotype has been created to give a representation of how the police may try to go about with their work by enforcing violence to stop crimes happening (dog fighting in this instance). The main character is the detective, and he is the one that organises and instigates how the police should work by using his patience, composure and wit.

In conclusion I believe that the law is represented in a positive manner as the directors always try to make the audience feel sympathy toward the main cop/detective. The main difference between the two are the characters. A Touch of Frost has an old detective who has 'been there, done that' while The Wire has a fairly young main cop who is handsome. Because one is young and one is old we can feel sympathy for both of them.