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Lez Cooke

4 BBC English Regions Drama BBC English Regions Drama emerged out of the regional reorganisation within the BBC at the beginning of the 1970s (see Chapter 2). The proposals announced in Broadcasting in the Seventies (BBC, 1969) were confirmed in the 1970 BBC Handbook when Director-General Charles Curran described the initiatives the BBC was taking in regional broadcasting, including a major investment in new studios in the Midlands: In non-metropolitan radio and television in England there will be some really radical changes. In television we shall have eight

in A sense of place
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Regional British television drama, 1956–82
Author: Lez Cooke

This pioneering study examines regional British television drama from its beginnings on the BBC and ITV in the 1950s to the arrival of Channel Four in 1982. It discusses the ways in which regionalism, regional culture and regional identity have been defined historically, outlines the history of regional broadcasting in the UK, and includes two detailed case studies – of Granada Television and BBC English Regions Drama – representing contrasting examples of regional television drama production during what is often described as the ‘golden age’ of British television. The conclusion brings the study up to date by discussing recent developments in regional drama production, and by considering future possibilities. A Sense of Place is based on original research and draws on interviews by the author with writers, producers, directors and executives including John Finch, Denis Forman, Alan Plater, David Rose, Philip Saville and Herbert Wise. It analyses a wide range of television plays, series and serials, including many previously given little attention such as The Younger Generation (1961), The Villains (1964-65), City ’68 (1967-68), Second City Firsts (1973-78), Trinity Tales (1975) and Empire Road (1978-79). Written in a scholarly but accessible style the book uncovers a forgotten history of British television drama that will be of interest to lecturers and students of television, media and cultural studies, as well as the general reader with an interest in the history of British television.

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Lez Cooke

Conclusion Granada Television and BBC English Regions Drama provide contrasting models of regional television drama production in the ‘second age’ of British television, from 1955 to 1982. A comparison of the two – one a major company producing a range of programming for the ITV network, the other a small department within the BBC established specifically to produce regional drama for the BBC network – illustrates the range of regional television drama produced in a duopolistic era when only three channels (and only two before 1964) were available to the

in A sense of place
Lez Cooke

radio in his History of Broadcasting in the United Kingdom, Asa Briggs notes how ‘the BBC’s Regional boundaries in England had been originally fixed purely in terms of engineering practicalities. Geographical, demographical, and cultural considerations had been left out of the reckoning’ (Briggs, 1995: 623). He goes on to describe the extent of the geographical areas which formed the three English regions (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were designated as separate ‘national regions’): The huge North Region, with its headquarters in Manchester, stretched deeply

in A sense of place
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John Mundy and Glyn White

advert breaks to be clearly labelled and restricted to six minutes in an hour in 1954 (Crisell 1997 :91) and up to twelve minutes per hour currently. Additional channels were gradually added to terrestrial television, BBC2 in 1964, Channel Four in 1982, Channel 5 in 1997, with satellite competition from Sky since 1989. In the United States the commercial broadcast networks established through radio (ABC

in Laughing matters
Rethinking art, media, and the audio-visual contract
Author: Ming-Yuen S. Ma

There is no soundtrack is a specific yet expansive study of sound tactics deployed in experimental media art today. It analyses how audio and visual elements interact and produce meaning, drawing from works by contemporary media artists ranging from Chantal Akerman, to Nam June Paik, to Tanya Tagaq. It then links these analyses to discussions on silence, voice, noise, listening, the soundscape, and other key ideas in sound studies. In making these connections, the book argues that experimental media art – avant-garde film, video art, performance, installation, and hybrid forms – produces radical and new audio-visual relationships that challenge and destabilize the visually-dominated fields of art history, contemporary art criticism, cinema and media studies, and cultural studies as well as the larger area of the human sciences. This book directly addresses what sound studies scholar Jonathan Sterne calls ‘visual hegemony’. It joins a growing body of interdisciplinary scholarship that is collectively sonifying the study of culture while defying the lack of diversity within the field by focusing on practitioners from transnational and diverse backgrounds. Therefore, the media artists discussed in this book are of interest to scholars and students who are exploring aurality in related disciplines including gender and feminist studies, queer studies, ethnic studies, postcolonial studies, urban studies, environmental analysis, and architecture. As such, There Is No Soundtrack makes meaningful connections between previously disconnected bodies of scholarship to build new, more complex and reverberating frameworks for the study of art, media, and sound.

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Lez Cooke

international marketplace the onus has fallen on the BBC, as a public service broadcaster, to cater for regional audiences and retain elements of regional production, while at the same time striving to compete with ITV, BSkyB and other companies in the new global environment. In the light of these developments it is perhaps timely to review the origins and development of regional television in Britain, paying particular attention to a dominant form of television production – drama – and the output of two important regional producers – Granada Television and BBC English

in A sense of place
Lez Cooke

television in the late 1950s and early 1960s, extending and consolidating the cultural importance of the New Wave. Meanwhile, writers such as David Mercer, Alun Owen, Alan Plater and Dennis Potter began writing original plays for television about provincial life, largely drawn from their own experience. Anthology play series such as Armchair Theatre and the BBC’s The Wednesday Play provided an outlet for some of this ‘provincial’ drama while the popular success of new drama series, such as Granada’s Coronation Street and the BBC’s Z Cars, provided confirmation that the New

in A sense of place
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John Mundy and Glyn White

stressed broadcasting’s moral and cultural responsibilities, led to the establishment of the publicly funded but quasi-autonomous British Broadcasting Corporation in 1927, paid for by licence fee money (Briggs 1961 , 1965 ). A commitment to public service rather than commercial exploitation, enshrined in legislation and made flesh by the BBC’s domineering first Director-General John (later Lord) Reith

in Laughing matters
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Lez Cooke

company, and Sidney Bernstein in particular, was viewed by the Conservative government presiding over the introduction of commercial television in Britain. Granada’s reputation for independence and for having a more liberal stance than the other commercial television companies was to become very apparent over the next few years. The difference between Granada and the other companies became evident on its opening night, when Granada included a tribute to the BBC among its first programmes. As Julia Hallam has noted, Sidney Bernstein’s admiration for the BBC and his

in A sense of place