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When it comes to cinema, why does Britain insist on showing the world the worst version of ourselves?

The popular depiction of Britain in global television and film isn't only shockingly homogenous—it's a fiction

By Caspar Salmon  

Britain's film and television exports paint a very specific picture. Photo: Prospect composite

Towards the end of September, American viewers of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert were treated to a clip of the ceremony in which parliament was officially closed by—cue howls of laughter from the audience!—Black Rod. Of course, Britain’s archaic governmental pomp prompted much hilarity from baffled spectators, who lapped up Colbert’s impersonation of Speaker John Bercow’s riled voice and comically ostentatious locutions.

“Is this how they see us?” I thought, watching Colbert trot out absurd phrases in…

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