Documentary and historical drama
Hillsborough, Sunday, Dockers, Gunpowder, Treason and Plot
in Jimmy McGovern
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This chapter examines McGovern’s extremely varied work on both documentary and historical drama for television. His range is best illustrated by the inclusion in such a category of his influential work on the Hillsborough stadium tragedy alongside work focusing on turbulent period of British history around the Gunpowder Plot.

A key element in all of the documentary drama works that is examined is McGovern’s emphasis on the relationship that he has with the subjects of the work. From the families who lost people at Hillsborough and on Bloody Sunday to those who’s working lives were ended by the Liverpool Docks dispute McGovern’s work is founded upon an intimate consensual relationship and, in the latter case, a collaborative approach to writing.

The decision to include Gunpowder,Treason and Plot in this chapter is not a straightforward one, but provides an important opportunity to examine the ideas and problems behind working with ‘factual’ material and such a radically different kind of source reveals important contrasts that open up questions about the drama documentary form itself.

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