'Have you seen Walliams' Bottom?": Detecting the 'Ordinary' Man in Partners In Crime.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter

Abstract

This chapter considers how the multiplicity of incongruous and contradictory signifiers of masculinity that are embodied in David Walliams' star persona impact on his portrayal of sleuth Tommy Beresford in the BBC drama series Partners in Crime(2015). I am interested in the construction of male gender identity within the Cold War context of the show and the way that Tommy both reflects and refracts the national story about men and masculinity at this period of time. I suggest that Walliams' performance of Cold War British masculinity hints at the potentiality of what Butler refers to as. 'an assertion of alternative domains of cultural intelligibility, i.e. new possibilities for gender that contest the rigid codes of hierarchical binarises' (2011, p.185). As such, this research is particularly concerned with the show's persistent coding of Tommy as an 'ordinary man' and the manner in which this discourse is aligned with Cold War discourses about the everyman/common man. With this in mind, I argue that Partners in Crime offers up a new cultural space for the articulation of 'ordinary' masculinity which is constituted by ambiguity, complexity and instability, all of which have traditionally been framed as the very antithesis of ordinary masculinity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConflicting Masculinities
Subtitle of host publicationMen in Television Period Drama
EditorsKatherine Byrne, Julie Anne Taddeo, James Leggott
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherI.B.Tauris
Chapter13
Pages239-258
ISBN (Print)9781788313353
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2018

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