Informational genres on British television are coming under increasing pressure in the 1990s to locate the popular pulse. News bulletins have responded in part with an added injection of ‘human interest’; documentaries, longer habituated to giving issues a human face, are defining this as an emphasis on the intimate or the quirky to catch the scheduler’s eye. For feminist critics, greater ‘intimization’ (van Zoonen 1991: 217) and personalization in informational television have produced a curious ambivalence. Suggestive, on the one hand, of a corrective move beyond a masculinized agenda and discourse, these trends can also be seen as reinforcing old gendered hierarchies, with rational debate of public issues still valued (as ‘masculine’) over affective explorations of personal or social relationships (deemed ‘feminine’, and consequently trivialized). Van Zoonen (1991) traces the roots of this quandary to the masculinization of the public sphere in the eighteenth century and the corresponding feminization of the private sphere.The slogan ‘the personal is political’, successful in epitomizing the feminist project to dismantle this ideological opposition, nevertheless oversimplifies the issues. As the epigraph from Trinh T. Minh-ha indicates, the personal is not universally political. Neither can every inclusion of the personal in the public space of television be thought to mark a feminist advance.