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Snobbery’s final frontier: the flatscreen television | Joe Moran

Justin Webb’s admission that he waited until his wife was away to buy a giant set shows how much class anxiety and cultural baggage still attaches to the TV

The Today programme presenter Justin Webb writes in this week’s Radio Times that he has finally joined “the flatscreen brigade”. But he waited until his wife was away before buying his 65in TV set, and she has so far spurned its delights in favour of a good book. “Even if I’d traded in our 10-year-old people carrier for a downpayment on an E-type Jaguar, the move wouldn’t have been so freighted with social and cultural baggage,” he writes. “TV, in Britain, is the last refuge of the snob.”

Webb is right: our changing attitudes to the TV set tell us much about the shifting symbolism of social distinctions. When BBC television began broadcasting, in the 1930s, no

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