The perspective in which modern culture is ‘bad culture’ can be traced back to the cultural pessimism of the Frankfurt School; and in Britain it is associated with the legacy of Matthew Arnold, F.R.Leavis and (of course) Richard Hoggart. The equation of television with ‘bad culture’ is almost as old as the medium itself. Postman (1985) offers a widely cited recent version. In academic circles, such cultural pessimism is now unfashionable, and writers such as Fiske (1987), Gripsrud (1995) and Ang (1985) have begun to develop ways of approaching the study of television which recognise and value the pleasures they offer to their audiences, and the contribution audiences make in appropriating television texts to their own ends.