Since the 1920s the development of regionalbroadcasting in the UK
has been subject to a number of interrelated factors: technological,
geographical, cultural, financial and political. Among these the technological and geographical have arguably been the most significant.
The designation of geographical regions has been determined mainly
by the availability of broadcasting frequencies and the range of transmitters, rather than by any idea of shared community interests or
indigenous regional identities. Writing about regional and local
Rethinking regionalbroadcasting in Britain, 1922–53
he first four chapters of this book examined the BBC as a nationalizing
institution and its role in the construction of a British national identity
inclusive of English, Scottish, Welsh, and Northern Irish identities. They highlighted the fluidity of British national identity, the tensions inherent in the
BBC’s construction of Britishness, and the contests over this version of Britishness inside the Corporation. The focus of this book now shifts to broadcasting
within the nations that, along with
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.
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.
scope of this particular study.
In their report for the Independent Television Commission (ITC)
on Television in the Nations and Regions: Television Broadcasting and
Production outside London (ITC, 2002) Mike Kidd and Bill Taylor focus
on ‘three separate, although related issues, which are often lumped
together under the umbrella description of “regionalbroadcasting” ’:
• The production of regional and network programmes in locations
• The broadcasting in specific Nations and Regions of regional programmes which reflect the diversity of life
diversity. The BBC’s focus on empire and monarchy to represent British
national identity was neither innovative nor risky; the BBC did not try to
change fundamental ideas of what it meant to be British, but it did help to
refashion these traditional symbols of Britishness during a period of significant
social and political change.
The second half of the book turns to the work of the BBC in Scotland,
Wales, and Northern Ireland, and examines the tensions between the BBC’s
efforts to project a uniform Britishness and its commitment to local and
series of mergers and takeovers
among the ITV companies leading to the eventual establishment of
one consolidated ‘national’ company in February 2004 (although
Scottish Television, Grampian, Ulster and Channel TV remained
separate). The economic rationale for consolidation was that it would
enable ITV plc to compete more effectively in a global marketplace.
One consequence of consolidation, however, was that the previous
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commitment to regionalbroadcasting was downgraded in favour
of the production of more
Chapter 1 explores the ways in which regionalism, regional culture and regional identity have been defined and discussed by historians, geographers, economists, sociologists and cultural historians, from the Middle Ages to the present day. The aim of the chapter is to provide an overview of these concepts and a theoretical and historical foundation for the discussion of regional broadcasting and regional television drama in subsequent chapters.
This Is Northern Ireland: regionalbroadcasting and identity
his chapter makes three interconnected claims. First, that BBC Northern
Ireland (hereafter BBC NI) played a vital role in maintaining a strong
British national consciousness in Northern Ireland. Second, that BBC NI selfconsciously sought to also construct a unifying “Ulster” identity for the new
province. As with Scotland and Wales, the BBC’s projection of “Ulsterness” did
not represent the abandonment of unionism or British identity but was rather
an attempt to assert the
existence of BBC Scotland served to reinforce
distinctions between Scotland, England, and Britain.
In addition to bringing into being new national listening-communities in
Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, the BBC also mined the geography,
history, and culture of the regions for its programs. There were certainly
debates about whether or not regionalbroadcasting accurately reflected life
in the regions. Like the BBC in London, regional broadcasters often brought
middle-class biases to their programs. And regional broadcasters were acutely
aware of the dangers of