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Belligerent broadcasting and makeover television : professional incivility in Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares

Higgins, Michael and Montgomery, Martin and Smith, Angela and Tolson, Andrew (2012) Belligerent broadcasting and makeover television : professional incivility in Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 15 (5). pp. 501-518. ISSN 1367-8779

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Abstract

This article looks at the significance of the practices of ‘belligerent broadcasting’ in the popular ‘trouble-shooting’ business television programme Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, USA. Belligerent broadcasting is a broadcast style that offers as spectacle expressions of anger or impatience, or the exercise of intimidation, against an on-screen interlocutor. Focusing on the performances of Gordon Ramsay, the article analyses the management of on-screen confrontation between participants occupying asymmetrical positions of power and perceived expertise. The article looks at how the face-threatening component of belligerent talk is ameliorated by strategies of authenticity and its representation as a productive force within the narrative of the programme. Finally, we assess the relevance of arguments that this broadcasting style might be seen as part of a ‘new incivility’ across media discourses.