Popular television: part 1

In 1974 the BBC broadcast a new TV program called The Family. In 12 episodes, everyday scenes from the lives of the working-class Wilkins family in Reading were shown to the nation. Some television executives feared that it couldn't possibly be a success – who would be interested in watching something so boring? But The Family was instantly a huge hit. Known then as 'fly- on-the-wall' documentaries, and now as 'docusoaps' or 'reality TV, such programs now dominate the TV schedules and regularly attract millions of viewers. In the 1990s, house, and garden makeover programs such as Changing Rooms were particularly popular, while docusoaps such as Driving School made overnight stars out of likable ordinary people such as Maureen Rees, possibly the worst driver in the world.

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