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The comic art of housework
Julia Hallam

In the autumn of 2000 the original cast of Carla Lane’s Butterflies (BBC 1978–83), Wendy Craig (Ria Parkinson), Geoffrey Palmer (Ben Parkinson), Nicholas Lyndhust (Adam Parkinson) and Andrew Hall (Russell Parkinson), reassembled to celebrate Ria’s sixtieth birthday as part of the BBC’s annual charity appeal Comic Relief . Butterflies was a domestic situation comedy centred on the boredom and frustration of a ‘typical’ 1970s suburban housewife (white, middle-class and southern English) who teeters on the brink of having an affair but, overcome by guilt

in Popular television drama
Critical perspectives

This book aims to provide resources for critical thinking on key aspects of television drama in Britain since 1960, including institutional, textual, cultural and audience-centred modes of study. It explores the continuing popularity of the situation comedy, and makes a convincing case for considering sitcom as a key popular genre. By offering a sense of how 'real' audiences respond to, and engage with, actual programmes in specific social situations, dominant conceptions of the social meanings of Carla Lane's Butterflies and Jimmy Perry and David Croft's Dad's Army are challenged and renegotiated. The book takes up Queer As Folk to focus on its status as an authored intervention in debates about the representation of homosexuality. It demonstrates that The Prisoner series inhabits contradictions by unpacking the complex question of the series's authorship, and the inadequacy of attributing its meanings to its creator, star performer or production team, for example. The book argues that The Demon Headmaster makes a significant contribution to the project of exploring and defining questions of ethics and justice in social organisation, in part, by claiming children's culture as a space of experimentation, resistance and subversion. It looks at the ways in which television drama embodies assumptions about its audience, and pursues this in a sophisticated way in relation to late twentieth-century television adaptations of 'the female Gothic'. The struggle between the BBC power-base in London and its satellite Departments in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales is also dealt with.

Abstract only
Russ Hunter

the usual markers of distinction: several important monographs (this volume key among them), conference keynotes, numerous invitations to contribute to special editions of journals and edited collections, as well as a host of other honours. These were, of course, important milestones in Peter’s career. But Peter was much more than the sum of these professional parts. Academics can be professional butterflies, flitting from one institution to the next in search of some kind of Holy Grail of employment

in Hammer and beyond
Jonathan Bignell and Stephen Lacey

that dominant conceptions of the social meanings of Butterflies (BBC 1978–83) (Hallam) and Dad’s Army (BBC 1968–77) (Nelson) are challenged and renegotiated. Linking audience response to ideological or textual criticism and a nuanced account of modes of acting and performance, the analysis contained in both essays is complex and politically aware. For Hallam, Butterflies, for all the narrowness of the comfortable, affluent and middle-class social world it portrays, nevertheless engaged its (largely female) viewers with real-life dilemmas and was appreciated for

in Popular television drama
Directions and redirections
Jonathan Bignell and Stephen Lacey

television drama forms as contemporary urban drama, crime drama and the literary adaptation. We hope that historical analysis will further theoretical studies of how genres rise and fall in profile and popularity. Situation comedy, for example, gave rise to popular programmes such as The Rag Trade (BBC 1961–63), The Liver Birds (BBC 1969–96), Butterflies (BBC 1978–83) and Dad’s Army (BBC 1968–77). But other genres are less present today, such as the work-based series drama ( The Power Game (BBC 1965–69), The Troubleshooters (BBC 1965–72), The Brothers (BBC

in Popular television drama
Abstract only
Peter Marks

argument being that comedy works best with medium shots more redolent of television. Much of the dialogue was delivered straight to camera, Terry Jones feeling that this gave the comedy more intensity. Jabberwocky has serious aims, even as it uses comedy to make some of its points. It opens in an idyllic natural world, serenaded by a chirruping flute and symbolised by a green butterfly sitting

in Terry Gilliam
Jonathan Bignell and Stephen Lacey

nostalgia. Butterflies (BBC 1978–83) functioned for some of its women viewers, Hallam argues, as a way of negotiating changing roles for women and attitudes to domesticity, and this response to the programme was documented by respondents to her requests for memories about the programme. Nelson discusses how older viewers of Dad’s Army saw the programme as a validation of ideas about national solidarity and community, contributing to memories that informed their sense of the present. Younger viewers without that memory understood the programme somewhat differently

in Popular television drama
Horror and generic hybridity
Andy W. Smith

denotes social conformity in the high school scenario. Unlike Bender in The Breakfast Club , who raises a clenched fist on the football field in defiance of conforming to the normative value system, Zeke is assimilated into the culture of conformity. But the film finishes on an image of transmutation, as Casey photographs a butterfly. It is an apt metaphor for a film where everything changes – and

in Monstrous adaptations
Peter Marks

, Gilliam’s animated characters, if they speak at all, tend to grunt or squeal subverbally, as with the old lady who trips up the passing double-decker bus, or the haunted figure of Billy Graham who breaks out of jail, or the trench-coated caterpillar who emerges from his bed as a beautiful butterfly. The relative lack of words naturally focuses attention on the creative absurdity of the images, and this

in Terry Gilliam