The Gendered Practice of The TV Opt-Out


    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    Opting out of the government working hours’ directive has been common practice in the broadcast industry for many years as filming shoots are perceived as complex, demanding and expensive. The opt-out clause is often the only way ambitious shooting schedules can be achieved and viewed as freedom from convention, but is this really the case? The almost macho ethos of staying ‘until the job is done’ effectively ignores how impossible this work ethic can be for mothers to subscribe to.
    Much has been written about the challenges faced by mothers in the creative industries (see Wreyford, N. (2015), Leung Wing-Fai et al.( 2015) however, there is little work on how Television Production shift patterns may act as a barrier for women to carve out long term careers after the age of 35. ‘There is a need for thinking about the gendered dimensions of well-being in relation to contemporary working cultures in the film and television industries and beyond’. (Berridge, 2019).
    This chapter will address this gap by asking the central research question:
    Can a different approach to filming schedules support caregivers as well as production companies in an industry already witnessing shrinking budgets?
    To complement this enquiry, the study will investigate current working practices and shift patterns in the contemporary television industry. Analysing data derived from a number of interviews conducted by the author with industry professionals.

    Constructing biographical representations from those responsible for work load models, including TV Production Managers, Executive Producers, and Talent Managers.
    Drawing on Bourdieu’s concept of habitus, I will show how these patterns of behaviour and thinking within the production processes are fundamentally exclusionary to women with caring or other commitments. By imposing a long working hours’ culture, the TV industry allocates “advantages and obligations” (Bourdieu 1984) which are in conflict with motherhood.
    The chapter will end with examples of existing best practice which can support production staff with caregiving responsibilities.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationMedia Work, Mothers and Motherhood
    Subtitle of host publicationNegotiating the International Audio-Visual Industry
    Number of pages18
    ISBN (Print)978-0367536015
    Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2021


    • Production Schedules
    • Motherhood
    • film and television industries
    • gender inequalities


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