From Judge Judy to Judge Rinder and Judge Geordie: Humour, emotion and 'televisual legal consciousness'

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This paper attempts to counter legal studies' common reading of court TV shows by starting with an understanding of them as television, rather comparing them to 'real courts'. It analyses two recent examples of British court TV shows - Judge Rinder (ITV, 2014-) and Judge Geordie (MTV, 2015) - to draw out how the text's form establishes particular kinds of 'televisual legal consciousness'. Judge Rinder's daytime address and his camped authority allow a frame in which humour can disarm conflict and reveal wider political injustice. Judge Geordie's irreverent upturning of the judged into judge draws upon the registers of youth reality television to privilege affect and emotion. In staging some of the tensions between law's masculine rationality and popular culture's feminine emotionality, these shows enact their interdependence. Such an analysis that includes attention to form, address and genre allows us a deeper exploration of the relationship between television, law and the everyday.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-595
JournalInternational Journal of Law in Context
Issue number4
Early online date23 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


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