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Examining the ways in which the BBC constructed and disseminated British national identity during the second quarter of the twentieth century, this book focuses in a comprehensive way on how the BBC, through its radio programmes, tried to represent what it meant to be British. It offers a revision of histories of regional broadcasting in Britain that interpret it as a form of cultural imperialism. The regional organisation of the BBC, and the news and creative programming designed specifically for regional listeners, reinforced the cultural and historical distinctiveness of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The BBC anticipated, and perhaps encouraged, the development of the hybrid ‘dual identities’ characteristic of contemporary Britain.

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
The contrasting fortunes of Northern Irish, Scottish and Welsh television drama in the 1990s
Steve Blandford

Broadcasting Minister Kim Howells has criticised TV producers in Wales for taking themselves too seriously, claiming it led to a lack of success at network level. The MP for Pontypridd, South Wales, said that Scottish programme makers had achieved more because they were willing to treat their nation and its people in a light-hearted way . . . In an interview for the Royal Television Society’s magazine Television, Dr Howells named the BBC Scotland drama series Monarch of the Glen as one of his favourites. (17 December 2001, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi

in Popular television drama
Nicole M. Jackson

7 Myth of a multicultural England in BBC’s Luther Nicole M. Jackson In his January 2016 speech to Parliament, actor Idris Elba asserted that the ‘British Empire gave birth to the multicultural miracle that is modern Britain’, while noting that the diversity of contemporary Britain is absent from the popular media. Elba discussed the limited roles available to Black actors in the UK, asserting that since ‘I never saw myself or my culture on TV, I stopped watching TV. I decided to just go out and become TV.’ To gain roles ‘I had to transform the way [the] industry

in Adjusting the contrast
Thomas Hajkowski

6 BBC broadcasting in Wales, 1922–53 In 1949, Alun Oldfield-Davies, Controller of the BBC’s station in Wales, declared: “the basic job of the BBC in Wales is to nourish and encourage national unity and to add wealth, depth, and value to all aspects of national life.”1 At first, this seems to be a rather straightforward testament to the role of the BBC in Wales. For Oldfield-Davies, Wales was not a region but a nation, albeit one that lacked a cohesive culture or identity. The BBC, he suggested, could and ought to participate in the process of forming a national

in The BBC and national identity in Britain, 1922–53
Darrell M. Newton

3658 Paving the empire road:Layout 1 30/6/11 08:45 Page 103 3 Voices of contention and BBC programming You see, the white man is a very funny creature. He likes his change in scenery. He likes his variety in life … Yet the English man, or the white man for that matter, doesn’t want the variety of the human species. He likes to see white only. Pastor Dunn in The Colony (BBC, 1964) As suggested by Rich’s work in Race and Empire, the coming of World War Two sparked a new move toward improved race relations, which coincided with the gradual disintegration of

in Paving the empire road
Thomas Hajkowski

3 The BBC and the making of a multi-national monarchy I n addition to the imperial project, the BBC vigorously promoted the ­monarchy as a symbol of British national identity. Beginning with the first monarchical broadcast in 1924, the BBC slowly but surely convinced the reigning monarch, King George V, to exploit the possibilities of the new medium of radio. Future monarchs would have little choice but to follow George’s lead. The monarchy and the BBC found their relationship mutually beneficial. George V and other royal broadcasters gave radio a legitimacy

in The BBC and national identity in Britain, 1922–53
Sylvie Magerstädt

Costumes and censorship: the BBC’s Roman Empire (1970s) Part III As we have seen in Part II, from the 1950s onwards cinema had come under increasing pressure from television. Epics set in the ancient world were seen as a tool to counter this trend, with their spectacular sets, crowds and colours. Yet, by the mid-1960s, cine-antiquity had also reached a crisis point. Excessive and costly productions like Cleopatra (1963) and the dramatic failure of The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964) led to the temporary disappearance of the genre from the large screen. Maybe

in TV antiquity
Stephen Lacey

The starting point for this chapter is a comment by theatre director turned television producer Simon Curtis, then in charge of BBC2’s Performance strand of theatre play adaptations, in an interview with Jeremy Ridgman about the origins and development of the series: ‘It is true that naturalism works better in the [television] studio’, Curtis said. ‘And it is much easier

in Screen plays
Abstract only
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.