David Gauntlett


TV Living: Television, Culture and Everyday Life
David Gauntlett and Annette Hill
Published by Routledge, 1999

From the back cover:
TV Living: Television, Culture and Everyday Life
presents for the first time the findings of a project run by the British Film Institute in which 500 people completed detailed questionnaire-diaries over five years. From 1991 to 1996 these individuals collectively wrote some three and a half million words on television, their lives, and the relationship between the two.

With the benefit of one of the most substantial and rich sets of sociological data ever collected, Gauntlett and Hill are able to explore a broad range of the most fundamental questions in media and cultural studies, as well as opening up entirely new avenues and areas of debate. TV Living focuses on issues of gender, identity, new technologies and life change. The study reveals further new findings with regard to the elderly audience, and what people think to sex and violence on television. The longitudinal study is able to follow changes as audiences approach the new media age of the 21st century, and go through various life transitions of their own.

For the first time, audiences from all over Britain reflect candidly on their television viewing. We see that television may be the most popular leisure activity, but everyday life is more powerful than the media. This clear and engaging book, based on the kind of substantial qualitative data set which cultural studies frequently calls for but rarely has access to, presents an exciting, literate and thoughtful picture of the complex and fascinating relationship between mass media and people’s lives today.

TV Living was launched at the Groucho club, London, on 29 April 1999, and received coverage in all major UK newspapers. The project was co-ordinated by the BFI and sponsored by the ITC, Channel Four, the BBC, the Broadcasting Standards Commission, and Carlton.


"In its scope, this book can be compared to George Comstock's Television and Human Behavior (1978)... both works stand, on either side of the Atlantic, as impressive pillars of research encompassing broad overviews of the place of television in each culture's fabric... [TV Living] provides valuable insights [and] a dynamic empirical record of a significant slice of the British viewing public." -- James C. Morrison in Technology and Culture, vol. 42, no. 1 (2001), pp. 176-178.

"Very fascinating... What I found particularly useful was the way in which each chapter reviewed existing work... then carefully measured its own findings against those claims... This is a well-written and well-crafted book which can be mined for many purposes" -- Martin Barker, Framework, vol. 40 (1999)

"TV Living is clearly a significant new contribution to our understanding of media consumption" -- Graeme Turner in British Cultural Studies (Routledge, 3rd edition, 2002).

"TV Living is not only very well written, and a remarkable insight into viewer's attitudes to television, but also a fascinating social history of these islands... A vital antidote to the simple-minded commercialism and careerism of many broadcasters" -- Roger Bolton, presenter of Channel Four's Right to Reply

"Television is enormously important in all parts of the world, and the study of the reactions programmes produce in the public is valuable. TV Living will be very useful to those interested in this subject." -- La Prensa Libra, 1 March 2001, p.12.

"I very much enjoyed TV Living. A ton of very useful primary data - and a wonderfully sly sense of humour that was all the more enjoyable given the very serious and sombre methodological approach. Good job." -- Alan McKee, President of the Cultural Studies Association of Australia, University of Queensland.

ISBN 0 415 18485 1 (hbk)
ISBN 0 415 18486 X (pbk)