Television audiences, as with other media audiences, are virtual entities. They have an existence, not immediately visible, but one that drives research, investment in programmes, public concern, and government policy.
More than any other audience, the child television audience has generated more debate, anxiety, and action. What harm does television do children? Should parents restrict their children's viewing? Is children's television becoming too commercialized? How can we make programmes for very young children?
This book, the first academic study of its kind, uncovers a history of the child television audience. Looking in detail at children's television and its audience in Britain in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, the book shows how an audience literally came into being, how it was given substance, and how it became the site of intervention.
Skilfully written and painstakingly researched, Television, Childhood, and Historical Reception is a history of an audience-in-the-making.
David Oswell is Lecturer in Lecturer in Sociology, Goldsmiths College, University of London