You’re nicked

Investigating British television police series

By Ben Lamb

You’re nicked


  • Hardcover

Book Information

  • Format: eBook
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-2587-3
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Published Date: November 2019
  • BIC Category: Television Scripts & Screenplays, Television Studies, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain / 20th Century, Television Soap Operas, The arts / Television, PERFORMING ARTS / Television / History & Criticism
  • Series: The Television Series


You're nicked is the first comprehensive study of television police series in the UK. It shows how British television's most popular genre has developed stylistically, politically and philosophically from 1955 to the present. Each chapter focuses on a particular decade, investigating how the most-watched series represent the inner workings of the police station, the civilian life of criminals and the private lives of police officers. This new methodological approach unearths the complex ideology underpinning each series and discerns the key insights the genre can provide into the breakdown of the post-war settlement. A must-have for scholars and students of British history, television, sociology and criminology, the book will also be of interest to crime-drama enthusiasts worldwide.


'His book is a fascinating read, and should be read by all aspiring crime writers and academics interested in the genre.'
Jackie Malton, retired DCI and the real-life inspiration for DCI Tennison in Prime Suspect

'The way in which Lamb links representations of crime to criminological theory could be a valuable resource to anyone teaching courses on media and crime, as a means of exploring with students how criminological theory is not only produced in the academy, but also through popular culture.'
Marianne Colbran, The Howard Journal of Crime and Justice

'One could not hope for a more comprehensive treatment of the subject.'
Rafe McGregor, British Journal of Criminology

'Its perspective is generally innovative, and it covers a lot of ground in writing a genre history that simply did not exist before.'
Mareike Jenner, New Review of Film and Television Studies

'You're nicked could be used either as the core textbook for a module on UK police drama or as the source of further readings on any television histories course.'
Richard Hewett, Critical Studies in Television

'Lamb's account is insightful and engaging, providing an invaluable contribution to our understanding of this most significant of television genres and its connection to the wider landscape of British socio-political history.'
Joseph Oldham, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television

'The book manages to cover a huge amount of ground, in detail, and with reference to a repertoire of relevant series and iconography, to offer an insightful commentary on political and social change in the United Kingdom.'
Michelle Addison, Journal of Popular Television


Introduction: defining a genre
1 The 1950s and 1960s: a genre comes into its own
2 The 1970s: an action-fuelled filmic decade?
3 The 1980s: emergent feminist thought and resurgent video cameras
4 The 1990s: transitioning from film to digital
5 The 2000s: looking to the past
6 The 2010s: looking to pastures new
Conclusion: good evening, all


Ben Lamb is English Studies and Creative Writing Course Leader at Teesside University

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