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Why is American TV so enchanted by a fake, fairy tale version of England?

April 25, 2011 | 10:15 am

Willkate For the next week, American television will be crammed with all things British and regal, Kate and Will-flavored. Networks are betting big on the notion that the U.S. is enthralled by the royal fairy tale.

The other side of this love of quaint old Britain is a lack of awareness about the gritty, rowdy reality of contemporary U.K. pop culture. This is the country that pioneered reality TV, invented soccer hooliganism and whose most widely read newspapers are tabloids featuring nude pin-ups -- and yet hardly any hint of modern Brit life shows itself here. Instead we flock to costume dramas like "Downton Abbey" and "The King's Speech."

An essay in today's Calendar looks at televised Britain and wonders why Britishness and the idea of "the olden days" are totally entwined, why we cling to the fairly tale when the U.K. is a country with as many ghettos as stately homes.

RELATED:

Americans love the fairly tale view of Britain

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Photo: Prince William and Catherine Middleton announce their engagement. Credit: Paul Hackett / Reuters

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