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The nation's matron: Hattie Jacques and British postwar popular culture

Tincknell, Estella

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Abstract

© Edinburgh University Press. Hattie Jacques was a key figure in British postwar popular cinema and culture, condensing a range of contradictions around power, desire, femininity and class through her performances as a comedienne, primarily in the Carry On series of films between 1958 and 1973. Her recurrent casting as 'Matron' in five of the films in the series has fixed Jacques within the British popular imagination as an archetypal figure. The contested discourses around nursing and the centrality of the NHS to British postwar politics, culture and identity are explored here in relation to Jacques's complex star meanings as a 'fat woman', 'spinster' and authority figure within British popular comedy broadly and the Carry On films specifically. The article argues that Jacques's star meanings have contributed to nostalgia for a supposedly more equitable society symbolised by socialised medicine and the feminine authority of the Matron.

Citation

Tincknell, E. (2015). The nation's matron: Hattie Jacques and British postwar popular culture. Journal of British Cinema and Television, 12(1), 6-24. https://doi.org/10.3366/jbctv.2015.0240

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Jan 1, 2015
Publication Date Jan 1, 2015
Deposit Date Apr 30, 2015
Publicly Available Date Mar 12, 2016
Journal Journal of British Cinema and Television
Print ISSN 1743-4521
Electronic ISSN 1755-1714
Publisher Edinburgh University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 12
Issue 1
Pages 6-24
DOI https://doi.org/10.3366/jbctv.2015.0240
Keywords British popular culture, carnivalesque, comedy, Carry On films, class, femininity, Hancock’s Half Hour, Hattie Jacques, ITMA, matron, nursing, postwar British cinema, spinster, star persona, Sykes, transgression
Public URL https://uwe-repository.worktribe.com/output/840372
Publisher URL http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/jbctv.2015.0240
Additional Information Additional Information : This is the accepted, peer-reviewed manuscript of the article Tincknell, E. (2015) The nation’s matron: Hattie Jacques and British postwar popular culture. Journal of British Cinema and Television, 12 (1). pp. 6-24. ISSN 1743-4521 published by Edinburgh University Press in the Journal of British Cinema and Television in January 2015. The final version of this article can be found online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/jbctv.2015.0240.

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