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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.

Film and television

Previous studies of screen performance have tended to fix upon star actors, directors, or programme makers, or they have concentrated upon particular training and acting styles. Moving outside of these confines, this book provides an interdisciplinary account of performance in film and television and examines a much neglected area in people's understanding of how popular genres and performance intersect on screen. The advent of star studies certainly challenged the traditional notion of the director as the single or most important creative force in a film. Genre theory emerged as an academic area in the 1960s and 1970s, partly as a reaction to the auteurism of the period and partly as a way of addressing popular cinematic forms. Television studies have also developed catalogues of genres, some specific to the medium and some that refer to familiar cinematic genres. The book describes certain acting patterns in the classic noirs Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep, Out of the Past and the neo-noirs Chinatown. British television drama in the 1970s had a special interest in the genre of horror. There is no film genre to which performance is as crucial as it is to the biopic. To explore comedy performance is to acknowledge that there is something that defines a performance as 'comic'. The book also examines drama-documentary, the western, science fiction, comedy performance in 'spoof news' programmes and the television 'sit com' and popular Bollywood films.

Vocal performance, gesture and technology in Spanish film
Tom Whittaker

director Mercero has commented that he cast López Vázquez in the role because wanted an actor whose performance style approximated mime (cited in Anon. 2011). As an acting style communicated through body movement rather than words, mime is composed of broad stage gestures that can be recognised instantly by audiences. Indeed, within the phone booth, López Vázquez’s performance in the film emulates one of its most famous moves:  that of pretending to be trapped within an invisible box. Yet here the gestural register of acting with which he was usually associated in

in Performance and Spanish film
Abstract only
Richard Hewett

The Quatermass Experiment’s 1953 cast informs a notably diverse range of acting styles, from the emerging studio realism of Reginald Tate to the more gesturally inflected emoting of Van Boolen. The fact that some –​though by no means all –​of these performances were deemed worthy of censure by contemporary audiences and critics indicates that a studio ‘norm’ in acting terms had not, as yet, established itself, though audiences at least were beginning to develop some sense of what was acceptably ‘realistic’ from the ‘new’ medium of television. By the 1960s the

in The changing spaces of television acting
Mannerism and mourning in Spanish heritage cinema
Sally Faulkner

spectacle of female stars on screen. ‘Bautista’s hyperbolic acting style’, Labanyi suggests, ‘turns history into pure performance. In [Locura de amor and Agustina de Aragón], it also provides female spectators (the majority audience) with the pleasurable spectacle of female agency, at a time when the dictatorship had rescinded all women’s rights’ (2012: 244–​5). In this chapter I explore performance in a genre that also links British and Spanish cinemas: heritage film. In this shift from the 1940s historical costume dramas that were especially prominent in Anglophone

in Performance and Spanish film
Sarah Wright

’ between 1910 and 1920 (1992). Janet Staiger explains further that facial expression, and in particular the eyes, was the new way for actors to express emotion (1985: 19). José Nieto, responsible for composing a score for the film in 1986, noted that at a time when ‘directors and actors tried to supplement the lack of voice with an acting style full of large gestures, almost always emphatic and external, Florián Rey had achieved a sober acting style, contained and rich, very close to what would later be the most modern techniques of cinematographic acting’ (Alvares 1996

in Performance and Spanish film
Howard Barker and the acted life – some thoughts
Melanie Jessop

R&G 02_Tonra 01 11/10/2013 16:11 Page 21 2 Performance within performance: Howard Barker and the acted life – some thoughts Melanie Jessop It is a cliché that Howard Barker’s texts are rewarding for actors, who delight in the muscularity of the language, the scale of imaginative landscape and liberty from the utilitarian. Is there a Barker actor? Are the technical challenges of playing in Barker unique, or do they surface in any engagement with a poetic classical text? The definition of a Wrestling School acting style has been elusive – the company is fluid and

in Howard Barker’s Art of Theatre
Eva Woods Peiró

everything in our Beauty Contest program. (La Pantalla 35: 547)8 Science had allowed women to further enhance their magical attributes –​their ability to excel in practically everything –​while still carrying out their traditional mandate as a pillar of morality. Given the interest in stars and stardom, acting was a constant topic in Spanish cinema magazines. Rebecca Swender, in her analysis of German silent film, implies that acting style was internationally described in terms of ‘two distinct codes of silent-​film acting: the histrionic and the verisimilar’, or the

in Performance and Spanish film
Richard Hewett

examined, alongside generational differences –​which, as will be seen, have significant implications for acting style –​before concluding, as always, with reception. Background In performance terms, television history provides few conveniently demarcated paradigm shifts. However, with regard to the break-​ up of the BBC’s studio system, one of the most significant events was the passing of the Broadcasting Act of 1990, following which the Corporation was obliged to allocate 25 per cent of its output to independent companies. As a consequence, much of the drama

in The changing spaces of television acting
Carmen Ciller

, intense and even sometimes violent. Hundreds of actors and actresses have received their education in Madrid’s Argentinian schools of dramatic arts, sometimes attending more than one of them (for instance, the Alterio family has regularly attended both Corazza’s and Rota’s schools). It could be argued that there are as many acting styles as actors, but it seems very clear that today’s acting styles are far from those of the previous generations of Spanish film actors, such as Isbert. Let us take, as an example, the extremely successful film Ocho apellidos vascos

in Performance and Spanish film