Audience responses to representations of family-assisted suicide on British television

Sanna Inthorn

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Reflecting on different generic conventions, this study highlights the strengths and weaknesses of documentaries and soap operas in addressing the societal and the personal dimensions of family-assisted suicide. Based on an analysis of YouTube user comments, this study compares how audience members respond to representations of family-assisted suicide in British documentaries and soap operas broadcast between 2010 and 2016. The thematic analysis of comments shows key differences between audience engagement with factual and fictional representations. Markers of a political engagement with this sensitive social issue occur more frequently in comments on documentaries than in comments on soap operas. Comments on soap operas are frequently expressions of emotion, or displays of specialist soap opera knowledge.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-174
Number of pages22
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017


  • soap opera
  • documentary
  • political engagement
  • family-assisted suicide

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