The hybrid television form of docudrama, blending documentary and drama conventions and modes of address, poses interesting methodological problems for an analysis of performance. This chapter provides examples of docudramas of post-1990 period. It discusses some of the distinctions between kinds of docudrama performance, the implications of their links with related television forms and how docudrama performance exploits the capacities of television as a medium. Performance styles are different in two examples of docudrama, where in one-off television films already known public personalities are represented by actors. The mode of Thatcher: The Final Days and Diana: Her True Story has much in common with melodrama. The melodrama in television is marked by its focus on women characters, on the emotional and the psychological, and on moments of dramatic intensity. The performance style in both Diana and Thatcher derived from the melodramatic mode, as opposed to more naturalistic, understated performance modes.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book considers memory as a specific framework for the study of popular film, intervening in growing debates about the status and function of memory in cultural life and discourse. It examines the relationship between official and popular history and the constitution of memory narratives in and around the production and consumption of American cinema. The book explores the political stakes of cinematic discourse in its production of national memory. It also examines the discursive and institutional apparatus that has come to support the memory of Classic Hollywood in British cultural life. The book also considers both the presence of music and colour in nostalgia films of the 1990s and the impact of digital and video technologies on the representational determinants of mediated memory.