Press Pack Case Studies
The University of Portsmouth’s project assessing the impact of Channel 4 on British film culture since 1982 has drawn extensively on the material supplied in the press packs. As well as providing listings information about particular film strands or themed seasons, every feature film broadcast by Channel 4 was individually previewed in the press packs, and film review shows, from Visions to Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, opened new perspectives on world cinema. These case studies serve as a reminder that in considering the influence of television on film culture, we must also take into account the influence of film on television.
As a visual medium, television appears to offer an ideal context for reviewing films. It allows the reviewer to successfully ‘quote’ content and carry out in-depth analysis using clips and trailers. Yet the on-screen relationship between the two media has had a checkered history, and although several UK broadcasters have experimented with the film review show format over the years, few models have stood the test of time.
Channel 4’s Red Triangle Experiment of 1986-7 was a response to tabloid press alarms about some late-night adult programme content. The IBA supported the trialing of an on-screen warning symbol to accompany a season of international art-house feature films. However, a symbol designed to warn some viewers off, was always likely to attract more than might otherwise have stayed up to watch. And more unwanted publicity ensued.