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From studio realism to location realism in BBC television drama

Until recently, little work had been conducted on television acting per se, let alone the various coalescing factors that underpin and help shape it. This book addresses that lack, utilising a selection of science fiction case studies from the world of BBC television drama to investigate how small screen performance has altered since the days of live production. This then-and-now comparison of performing for British television drama focuses on science fiction case studies to provide a multi-perspectival examination of the historical development of acting in UK television drama. By the mid-1970s, studio realism might be expected to have reached its apotheosis, yet it was by no means all-encompassing as a style of television acting. A new approach was therefore required, with much of the performance preparation now taking place on location rather than being perfected beforehand in a separate rehearsal space: the seeds of location realism. One of the most notable contrasts between early television drama and the modern day is the shift from multi-camera studio to single camera location filming. Comparing the original versions of The Quatermass Experiment, Doctor Who and Survivors with their respective modern-day re-makes, the book unpacks the developments that have resulted from the shift from multi-camera studio to single camera location production. Examining changing acting styles from distinct eras of television production, the book makes a unique contribution to both television and performance studies, unpacking the various determinants that have combined to influence how performers work in the medium.

Sound and image in Alan Clarke’s Road
Paul Elliott

designed to convey a sense of real and quotidian life and that supress the presence of the cinematic or televisual apparatus. Often, realism is held in contrast to modernism, or avant-gardism. 4 Those responding to Kennedy Martin's article in the May–June 1964 edition of Encore included Sydney Newman, then Head of BBC TV Drama; Michael Barry, former Head of BBC TV Drama; Dennis Potter, who was at the time the TV critic for the Daily

in Sound / image
Abstract only
Kes, Threads and beyond
David Forrest
Sue Vice

English, shortlisted for the Booker Prize of that year, to the BBC television drama Nature Boy, scripted by Bryan Elsley (Joe Wright, 2000). Hines spent the period from 1960 to 1962 working at a school in London’s Paddington, and, after graduating from Loughborough, returned to Hoyland Common to continue teaching physical education, a role in which he remained until 1972. Soon enough he set about writing his first work, Billy’s Last Stand, a radio play about a coal-­shoveller whose life is interrupted by an outsider with commercial interests, which was broadcast on the

in Barry Hines
Lez Cooke

information through gesture rather than dialogue, the use of music as an important element in the narrative, not just an emotional support, and the use of set design as an integral part of the narrative, economically facilitating the telling of the story while at the same time revealing the artifice of it. At a time when BBC television drama was trying to shake off its fustian postwar image and win back some of the viewers lost to the shiny new populism of ITV, Storyboard was an early manifestation of the new spirit Cooke_01_All.indd 67 11/12/06 12:38:52 68 Troy Kennedy

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

, precious little representation at all. Unlike the cinematic tradition that McLoone sees emerging ( Trainspotting (1995), Human Traffic (1999), Divorcing Jack (1998)), popular BBC television drama emanating from ‘the Celtic periphery’ in the 1990s has tended, with some minor reservations, to retreat to the iconography of other cinematic eras. When it has not done so, it has rarely been recommissioned by the network controllers in London. Homi Bhabha’s description of the tendency of postcolonial cultures to aspire to the ‘elevated condition of the coloniser’ (quoted

in Popular television drama
Murray Stewart Leith
Duncan Sim

shift from the 1970s onwards with a number of significant BBC television dramas such as Sunset Song , Tutti Frutti and Your Cheatin’ Heart , as well as the introduction in 2002 of a BBC Scotland ‘soap’ River City ; set on Clydeside, it could perhaps be seen as a kind of Scottish EastEnders – certainly grittier and more urban in its approach than many Scottish television programmes that had gone before. For many in Scotland, however, the problem with Scottish broadcasting is the fact that in many respects it is not really ‘Scottish’. The BBC did not open a

in Scotland
Diary of a Young Man
John Hill

series of responses from a variety of figures including the Head of BBC Television Drama, Sydney Newman, the former Head of BBC TV Drama, Michael Barry, the then critic but later distinguished television writer Dennis Potter, the actor Tony Garnett (just about to embark upon a career as a BBC story editor and producer) and the Granada producer Philip Mackie.4 The article was then reprinted in Screenwriter along with a further set of comments by a number of practising television writers.5 The fact that so many were prepared to contribute to the debate it stirred

in Experimental British television
Abstract only
Richard Hewett

Acting aims to address that lack, utilising a selection of science fiction case studies from the world of BBC television drama to investigate how small screen performance and its various determinants have altered since the days of live production. Television science fiction provides a particularly useful starting point, this being a genre that is almost as old as the medium itself, and –​ as will be demonstrated –​one that is arguably less inflected by genre-​specific performance tropes than other styles such as crime drama or period adaptation. While a multi

in The changing spaces of television acting
Sylvie Magerstädt

Case study 7: Rome (2005–8) As noted, television dramas set in antiquity largely focused on Rome rather than Greece and the HBO–BBC television drama Rome (2005–7) is, as the title indicates, no exception here. However, as outlined earlier in this part, the new millennium saw a notable shift from stories set in the Roman Empire to those based in the late Republic and Rome is to date the most successful example of this trend. Described by Solomon (2008: 12) as ‘prohibitively expensive and limited in duration’, with its twenty-two episodes it was nevertheless much

in TV antiquity
The case of Shoot the Messenger
Sarita Malik

script of STM is available from the BBC TV Drama website, www. (accessed 17 May 2012). 23 Ang, Ien, Desperately Seeking the Audience (Routledge, 2006). Anonymous, ‘Luther Creator Preparing Big-screen Version of the Idris Elba Drama’, Radio Times, 22 March 2012. 24 Baggaley, Jon, Psychology of the Television Image (Ann Arbor, MI: Saxon House, 1980), p. 30. 25 Mercer, K., Welcome to the Jungle: New Positions in Black Cultural Studies (Routledge, 1994). 26 Neal, Larry, Visions of a Liberated Future: Black Arts Movement

in Adjusting the contrast