British Youth Television examines the phenomenon of 'yoof' television - programmes such as Network 7, The Word, The Big Breakfast, Snub TV and Gamesmaster. Between 1987 and 1995 these and other related programmes formed part of a high profile genre that in terms of both the personnel involved and in terms of their visual style continue to be influential in British television today. Examining these programmes the author reflects on the way in which the contemporary youth audience - Generation X - were being addressed. Karen Lury identifies an ambivalent viewing sensibility - 'cynicism and enchantment' - which encapsulates the attitude expressed by both the programmes and the audience. The distinctive aspect of the book is the way in which Lury is concerned to concentrate on the spatial and visual aspects of television. In particular her concern is to re-evaluate television as a specific experience, and one which has a central importance in young people's formation of identity and their sense of being in the world.
Her central thesis also suggests that while television must necessarily be related to other visual media, it should be understood as having distinct aesthetic and phenomenological qualities of its own.