Alan Bennett

By Kara McKechnie

Alan Bennett

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-6806-5
  • Pages: 232
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £15.99
  • Published Date: November 2007
  • BIC Category: Film and Media, Television, BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Entertainment & Performing Arts, PERFORMING ARTS / Television / History & Criticism, Biography: Arts & Entertainment, The arts / Television
  • Series: The Television Series


Alan Bennett is one of the UK's most well-known and successful writers. His oeuvre is one where populist art forms and intellectually complex arguments co-exist seamlessly, allowing the work to appeal to a wide audience. Bennett's familiar voice combines both an appreciation for the past with a critical assessment of contemporary Britain, often through relentlessly detailed observation of himself and of others.

Bennett has acted, written, directed, presented or edited in almost every conceivable dramatic medium, including stage, television, radio, film and print media. This book is the first to focus on his often neglected work for television, from the mid-1960s right through to the present. It encompasses formats such as the single play (the rarely seen 1970s collaborations with Stephen Frears and Lindsay Anderson), the two Talking Heads series, perceived as a reinvention of the television monologue, and his autobiographical documentaries.

While providing a context of television drama in which Bennett's output is embedded, this study also provides compact overviews of his work in other media. The book is intended for those interested in Alan Bennett, his many voices and the history of television drama.


Introduction: 'Treat me as a dead author.'
1. 'Above all ordinary': Contexts and critical approaches
2. 'Fair to cloudy in mid-town Morecambe': From single play to season of plays
3. Spies and writers: the devil's work?:
4. 'If I start off undressed, I have nowhere to go':Documentaries and autobiography
5. 'They want to be seen as they see themselves': Reinventing the monologue
Conclusion: On the Margin


Kara McKechnie is Lecturer in Dramaturgy (Theatre and Performance) at the University of Leeds

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