The contrasting fortunes of Northern Irish, Scottish and Welsh television drama in the 1990s
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
This essay examines the proliferation of visual representations of Robert Louis Stevenson‘s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886), considering the question of what links contemporary (Scottish?) Gothic to its problematic origins. After a survey of cinematic and graphic adaptations, the essay focuses on Steven Moffatt‘s Jekyll (BBC, 2007), which combines the post-Darwinian anxieties surrounding Stevensons tale of human regression with a much more contemporary interrogation of the ‘human’ against the backdrop of complex globalised scientific conspiracies. Significantly, the production draws on the Scottish origin of the text, re-proposing the question of (national) identity and authenticity against the threat of globalisation.
transmitted live into various cinemas across the country as part of the National Theatre Live (NT Live) initiative. The other production was televised on BBC3, a channel associated with popular, experimental, and, at times, rather subversive entertainment directed at its target audience of ‘16–34 year olds’ (BBC Trust 1). This was an open-air performance, transmitted live at Kirkstall Abbey in Yorkshire, entitled Frankenstein’s Wedding: Live in Leeds (written by Chloe Moss and directed by Colin Teague and Trevor Hampton). It was intended as an interactive performance
This groundbreaking book is the first full-length study of British horror radio from the pioneering days of recording and broadcasting right through to the digital audio cultures of our own time. The book offers an historical, critical and theoretical exploration of horror radio and audio performance examining key areas such as writing, narrative, adaptation, performance practice and reception throughout the history of that most unjustly neglected of popular art forms: radio drama and “spoken word” auditory cultures. The volume draws on extensive archival research as well as insightful interviews with significant writers and actors. The book offers detailed analysis of major radio series such as Appointment with Fear, The Man in Black, The Price of Fear and Fear on Four as well as one-off horror plays, comedy-horror and experimental uses of binaural and digital technology in producing uncanny audio.
There may not have been
Appointment with Fear or The Man in Black in the early
1950s, but the BBC still had examples of macabre output. Do You
Believe in Ghosts? (1952–53) was a series of thirty-minute
programmes featuring first-hand accounts of, as a BBC memorandum of 30
July 1953 expresses it, ‘authentic and personal experiences which
apparently had no
The metafictional meanings of lycanthropic transformations in Doctor Who
Given the intertextual tendencies of the franchise, it is perhaps surprising to find that, applying a narrow definition, the werewolf has featured only twice in the BBC television series Doctor Who: once in the form of the punk shapeshifter Mags in ‘The Greatest Show in the Galaxy’ (1988–9), then again in that of the foundling host of ‘Tooth and Claw’ (2006). If, however, the genus is approached in a more inclusive spirit, these examples are soon joined by other contenders: the Primords of ‘Inferno’ (1970), for instance, and the Lukoser from the ‘Mindwarp’ episodes of The Trial of a Time Lord (1986). Looking beyond televised stories to the novels published by Virgin and the BBC, the audio dramas produced by Big Finish and comic strips featured in the Doctor Who magazines, it becomes clear that the Whovian werewolf pack is much bigger than it first appears. In exploring some of the ways in which the folkloric hybrid has been adapted to the mythos of Doctor Who at various times and in multiple formats through a period of more than half a century, this chapter is able to comment on the wider cultural adaptability and significance of the werewolf and its primal cousins.
Adaptation and reception of Andrea Newman’s A Bouquet of Barbed
acknowledges a particular sensitivity to the content of
television dramas of the time, with pressure groups reacting to the
permissiveness of the 1960s. 88 Consequently, the BBC production of Dennis Potter’s
Brimstone and Treacle , also intended for broadcast in 1976, was
withdrawn because of concerns over its controversial rape of a mentally
afflicted young woman. 89
In line with Lury’s observations, Raymond
anthropomorphisation’ – which respond to telecommunication’s ‘power to atomise and disperse both body and consciousness across the vast expanses of the universe’. 10 He is less interested, however, in the dialectical relationship between this atomisation and the world of solid objects which, I will argue in this chapter, defines the mid-century in British culture generally, and in cathode-ray-enabled culture in particular.
Visions of the uncanny: cathode-ray tubes, telepresence and the mediated subject
When the BBC television service
I N N OVEMBER 2014 THE BBC broadcast a television documentary, ‘Gothic Goes Global’, part of a three-part series with the overall title The Art of Gothic , in which presenter Andrew Graham-Dixon argued that one of the main reasons for the enduring popularity of texts such as Shelley’s Frankenstein and Stoker’s Dracula lay in their attempts to deconstruct imperialist rhetoric. Human beings at the end of the eighteenth century, he insisted, were no longer willing to accept without question the authority of (mostly self
. News coverage
of events alleged to have occurred at the BBC (specifically the Savile cases
but other investigations are on-going) 39 in the UK during the 1950s and 1960s illustrates how
attitudes to accusers, victims and/or survivors of sexual abuse has altered
very recently in many ways. In Austria in 2008, the Fritzl case, concerning
the systematic imprisonment and incestuous rape of Elisabeth Fritzl by her