Comment on the representation of englishness


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Comment on the representation of englishness

  1. 1. Comment on the representation of ‘Englishness’ in Midsomer Murders <br />Midsomer Murders is a British TV drama that focuses on portraying their locations and the show in general as purely English. This ‘Englishness’ of a small/niche rural town or village is portrayed through many different aspects of the drama- camera, editing, sound and mise-en-scene. There are many things we can pick out that help build up the representation of Englishness, and how things are in such an English town/village.<br />Camera angles and movement does help contribute to the representation of Englishness in a small rural settlement in Midsomer Murders, though not as much as mise-en-scene for example. Angles I picked on primarily were the amount of establishing shots that tended to exhibit the stereotypical English countryside and style of buildings, etc. These often appear near the beginning of the episode – so straight away we know that the show is set in traditional English countryside. Also, I picked up on the use of slow panning of the camera at certain points which could represent a slow pace of life – which is what tends to be found in such a rural English settlement, as it is a place where people tend to move to in order to settle down and live the slow life. Also, in our extract, there was a point where the camera was placed behind a fence with a woman on the other side -this woman had seemed to be engaging in some unusual behaviour previously, suggesting she’s a bit strange- this could symbolise that unusual or possible troublemakers are metaphorically fenced off or shunned by the community – as residents of such a place tend to want to keep their regular, slow life. <br />There is a relatively small amount of visible editing in Midsomer Murders to add to the representation of ‘Englishness’ aside from cutting clips together etc. However, this lack of editing could in itself add to this representation – because there is no change of hue or any other visual effects it makes the setting/situation seem simple and basic, which may be considered to be a part of a traditional English settlement. After all, England doesn’t tend to be full of excitement in its traditional rural areas; the show only needs to rely mainly on the natural lighting and surroundings to portray this. <br />Sound, both diegetic and non-diegetic, also contributes a fair amount to creating a representation of Englishness in Midsomer Murders. Firstly, the diegetic sound not only includes the sound effects of stereotypical English wildlife etc, but also the accents of the settlement’s residents. These tend to be of a posh variety with clear pronunciation – which is pretty well known stereotype of Englishness globally. So as soon as we hear these voices, we can be sure that this settlement is home to pure English people. Also, in our extract there was non-diegetic/diegetic sound (it seemed non-diegetic at first, but then we were shown a stereo with CDs that the song could have come from) of a song that was fairly old fashioned and possibly from the time of the war. This has links to the older residents of generic English villages as well as England’s involvement of the war – and this adds to the representation. The music itself also just sounds traditionally English. <br />Mise-en-scene is probably the most obvious factor that contributes to the representation of Englishness. What we tend to see in shots (especially in opening sequences) are various locations that tend to be stereotypically English – for example old churches, English pubs, old Post Offices, etc. All these locations are essentially and recognisably English. Also, Midsomer Murders holds an entirely Caucasian cast and this is of course the dominant skin type of the English and thus contributes to the pure ‘Englishness’. Furthermore, considering props and other things, there are views of traditional old English cars (which links to money and the English upper class (& accents)) as well as cups of tea which is greatly considered a very English thing.<br />