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Docudrama on film and television

Docudrama has become centrally important not only in television production but also in film. They require pre-production research and this is a key marker of difference between docudrama and other kinds of drama. In its emphasis on personality, modern docudrama adheres to a US 'made-for-TV movie' mode that Todd Gitlin has described as ' little personal stories that executives think a mass audience will take as revelations of the contemporary'. This book outlines the main legal and regulatory issues that concern docudrama. The sheer proliferation of words and phases coined to categorise forms that mix drama and documentary is in itself remarkable. Phrases, compound nouns and noun coinages have been drawn mainly from four root words: documentary, drama, fact, and fiction. The book discusses the form's principal codes and conventions to which people in a media-literate environment respond, and that they recognise prior to categorising what they watch. Cultures are living things, condensing around 'key words'. Such words mark out points of interest, contestation and anxiety. Griersonian documentary actively embraced an artfulness always likely to be at odds with the recording of 'actuality'. The history of factual drama replays in microcosm the essential differences in emphases between the British and American television systems. Societies under threat from shadowy 'terrorist' organisations offered new templates for the docudramas that eventually fuelled 1990s 'co-pros' of interest to audiences on both sides of the Atlantic. The current spectrum of 'intergeneric hybridisation' in film and television can be represented graphically.

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.

Neil Taylor

The chapters in this volume concentrate almost exclusively on television’s commissioning frameworks, production processes and reception contexts of theatre plays on British television. By contrast, this chapter discusses the impact of television productions on an influential group of academic texts—the major scholarly editions of William Shakespeare’s plays published in

in Screen plays
Robin Nelson

-Fordist dispersal of media power and television production perhaps places the USA in a less dominant position in the world economy than in the past, even though it remains highly influential, particularly in “high-end” drama. Jacka and Cunningham note that, ‘Up to 90 per cent of television fare in many countries is locally originated’ (1996: 30), but they acknowledge that drama is much more likely to be imported than other television forms.1 In respect of the very expensive “high-end” drama with which this book is primarily concerned, production typically requires cofinancing and

in State of play
Roger Singleton-Turner

as the content itself’ (quoted by Pennington, Broadcast , 29 May 2009). The reformatting, including re-editing, and conversion of original content is the province of specialists. By 2009, it appeared to be a growing sector in television production. It is not necessary for everyone to understand the fine detail, but professional production teams should allow for multimedia outputs as they plan their content. It can happen that a minor change to the way this is recorded makes subsequent developments a lot easier than they would be otherwise. There are also cost

in Cue and Cut
Early modern drama, early British television
Lisa Ward

’ from the West End seems unwarranted—like Malfi, it appears to have been an original BBC Television production. Early modern plays on early British television The BBC began regular television broadcasts on 2 November 1936, and the first years of the service lasted until 1 September 1939, as Britain prepared to declare war on Germany. Transmission ended abruptly, ostensibly

in Screen plays
Sylvie Magerstädt

Expanse and spectacle: the postmillennial revival of a genre Part V In this final part, I will explore the widespread revival and remarkable success of serial television dramas set in antiquity. Described by some scholars as the fourth wave of the peplum (see Cornelius, 2011) the revival of the genre in cinema in the early 2000s, following the success of Gladiator (2000), was replicated by notable television productions that followed in its wake. Moreover, as this section will demonstrate, the emancipation of TV antiquity from its cinematic counterpart

in TV antiquity
The ghost story on British television
Helen Wheatley

discussion of their intertexts (particularly the discourses surrounding key programmes in UK listings guides such as the Radio Times and TV Times). The ways in which anthology series of the 1960s and 1970s negotiated the possibilities and limitations of television production and reception in creating satisfactorily ‘affective’ Gothic dramas are addressed in detail in the following chapters, which

in Gothic television
John Wyver

Stables as the fulfilment of this dream—and in 2011 McDougall reflected that, ‘I think all along Sidney thought of it as a bit of a plaything’—he was a businessman who did nothing without a focus on the bottom line. 6 From the start The Stables was projected to break even financially. It was envisaged that the company would make around twelve television productions each year, representing about half of

in Screen plays
Open Access (free)
Beckett and television technologies
Jonathan Bignell

perceived as anachronistic in form and realisation. This in itself produces another kind of ghostliness, whereby the productions are dislocated from the television present, and linked to earlier ‘dead’ modes of television production. Eckart Voigts-Virchow, incorporating a reference to the dull, grainy texture of the plays’ images, contends that ‘the stone age of TV production is exactly where Beckett's television locates its aesthetic strategies as a perennial offence to the medium's surface gloss’ (Voigts-Virchow, 1998 , 227). The terminology of the comparison between

in Beckett and media