Are you a fan of The Office? House of Cards? Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? All of these shows have two things in common. One is of course being that they are wildly popular American television shows if you are a TV lover. The second common thread between them is that they were each originally inspired and based off a series from across the pond in England. The Office in the UK ran for 2 seasons, while the United States adaptation ran for 9. Although it is not word for word the same show, story lines and characters in the US version are based off of the original. House of Cards is an an award winning US Netflix series, but according to Diply, it is inspired by the United Kingdom mini-series back in 1990. And even the classic game show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire is inspired by a United Kingdom version of the show. (Simpson, Diply) England is making a huge splash in the entertainment world, and America is immersing itself in it.
England is one of those places that I’ve always had a fascination with. Maybe it’s the people with their accents. Maybe it’s the landmarks and the scenery that is constantly attracting newcomers. Maybe it’s the artists and actors who are constantly spilling out of the country and creating this huge footprint in the entertainment world. But I’ve always been so intrigued by it and wanted to expand my knowledge of the country.
England is one of four countries that make up the United Kingdom. The other 3 being Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. According to England Forever, England hold’s a majority of the population in the UK, taking up about 80% of it. Their population sits at about 50 million people. Some of that population being well known stars like artists Adele and Sam Smith; as well as actors like Andrew Lincoln of The Walking Dead and Theo James of the Divergent series. All of these stars have taken America by storm and made huge splashes in the entertainment world.
Politically speaking, England is a constitutional monarch. This means that there is a king or queen as the head of the government, which in this case would be Queen Elizabeth II. Queen Elizabeth II is 89 years old and has been in power since 1952, making her the longest reigning monarch. (BBC, 2015)She is a woman who is often in the media not only in England, but in America as well. She is constantly meeting celebrities, both overseas and domestically at home. She has proved to be quite popular in her homeland as well as in the United States.
Economic wise, England is the greatest contribution towards the United Kingdom’s economy and tourism greatly adds to those numbers. The levels of tourism contributes about €48 billion euros as well as supports about 1.6 million jobs. (VisitEngland, 2014) England provides some of the most famous landmarks like Big Ben and the London Eye. But England is also the home of a famous fictional boy named Harry Potter, in which the city of London fully embraces. There are multiple spots throughout London where fans of the Harry Potter franchise can visit. There is a studio tour that includes sets, props, costumes that were used in the making of the movies, as well as landmark locations from the story like Kings Cross Station where the students of Hogwarts would travel through in order to get to the school of witchcraft and wizardry. (VisitLondon) There are multiple other locations that fans can visit that were used as scenes in the movie as well, making London an essential spot for tourism.
To get into a more media aspect, according to Freedom House, England as well as the rest of the United Kingdom has laws that essentially provide for freedom of the press, a term that we are familiar with in the United States. But there are several laws that weaken that structure. Freedom House states that “the media can be required to turn over reporting materials to the police under the 1984 Police and Criminal Evidence act.” The government also passed a law that speech can be criminalized if “it is considered to encourage terrorism, even in the absence of a direct, proven link to a specific terrorism act. (Freedom House, 2015)
Media ownership in England as well as the rest of the United Kingdom is mostly publicly funded, resulting in public broadcasting. Their most well known public broadcasting corporation being the BBC, or the British Broadcasting Corporation, which is headquartered in London. According to Freedom House, the BBC is “editorially independent.” (Freedom House, 2015) Aside from the publicly funded corporations, private media ownership also plays a part in the media world of England. Rupert Murdoch is the owner of News Corp UK, who plays a very big part in the control of media. According to the Media Reform Coalition, 70% of the national newspaper market was controlled by 3 hands, Murdoch being one of them. The Daily Mail and General Trust along with Trinity Mirror being the other two. (MRC, 2014) The Daily Mail is a huge name not only to England and the UK, but it’s also a news source wildly credited here in the States. It is the most read newspaper in the United Kingdom, and it brings in around 23 million readers per month, with even more viewing it digitally. (Ponsford, 2015) Like most news sites today, there is a section on The Daily Mail’s website that contains a section specifically for entertainment. But what’s interesting is that the header for the section is not just titled “entertainment” or “showbiz” but is in fact called “U.S. Showbiz.” This kind of ties together this blend of culture that the U.S. and the U.K. seem to share.
England is a beautiful country with media policies not much different than the United States. With it’s entertainment world constantly blending with ours, elements of pop culture and media are constantly being exchanged. Artists and actors as well as shows and movies are always being brought across the water to the United States, and America has no intention of letting go of the inspiration it gets from England.