Alma’s (Not) Normal: normalising working-class women in/on BBC TV Comedy

Minor, LJ ORCID: 2022, 'Alma’s (Not) Normal: normalising working-class women in/on BBC TV Comedy' , Journal of British Cinema and Television . (In Press)

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This article examines the BBC sitcom Alma’s Not Normal and its representation of white working-class femininities in/on British TV comedy. After The Royle Family creator Caroline Aherne’s death in July 2017, the BBC created a bursary in memory of the comedy star, awarding £5,000 to the successful applicant to develop a pilot comedy script. Though open to people of all backgrounds and genders, the three winners so far have been working-class women – Sophie Willan, Amy Gledhill, and Kiri Pritchard-McLean – an important shift from the recent success of female-fronted and female-authored middle-class comedies on the BBC such as Miranda and Fleabag. This paper examines the award’s first winner: Boltonian Sophie Willan and her series Alma’s Not Normal. While Phil Wickham argues that contemporary working-class sitcoms in Britain display the ‘hidden injuries of class’, something that is felt but no longer acknowledged, I contend that Willan exposes class wounds by explicitly referencing and drawing attention to social issues in her TV show. More specifically, I argue that, as a working-class woman in the North West, Willan uses comedy to interrogate the intersections of class and gender. This textual analysis will then be used as a framework to conceptualise the labour of working-class women in British television comedy because class has been overlooked as a social category in contemporary scholarship on feminism and humour.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media > Arts, Media and Communication Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of British Cinema and Television
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
ISSN: 1743-4521
Depositing User: Dr Laura Jade Minor
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2022 08:48
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2022 16:29

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