Popular television drama

Critical perspectives

Edited by Jonathan Bignell and Stephen Lacey

Popular television drama

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-6933-8
  • Pages: 240
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £15.99
  • Published Date: August 2005
  • BIC Category: The arts / Television, Society & social sciences / Popular culture, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Popular Culture, Popular culture, Television, Film and Media


'Popular television drama: critical perspectives' is a collection of essays examining landmark programmes of the last forty years, from 'Doctor Who' to 'The Office', and from 'The Demon Headmaster' to 'Queer As Folk'. Contributions from prominent academics focus on the full range of popular genres, from sitcoms to science fiction, gothic horror and children's drama, and challenge received wisdom by reconsidering how British television drama can be analysed.

Each section is preceded by an introduction in which the editors discuss how the essays address existing problems in the field and also suggest new directions for study. The book is split into three sections, addressing the enduring appeal of popular genres, the notion of 'quality' in television drama, and analysing a range of programmes past and present.

Popular television drama: critical perspectives will be of interest to students and researchers in many academic disciplines that study television drama. Its breadth and focus on popular programmes will also appeal to those interested in the shows themselves.


Editors' introduction - Jonathan Bignell and Stephen Lacey
Part I
Editors' introduction: The boundaries of genre; the sitcom - Jonathan Bignell and Stephen Lacey
1. 'Our usual impasse': The episodic situation comedy revisited - Barry Langford
2. Remembering 'Butterflies': The comic art of housework - Julia Hallam
3. They do 'like it up 'em': 'Dad's Army' and myths of old England - Robin Nelson
Part II
Editors' introduction: Quality and the 'other' drama - Jonathan Bignell and Stephen Lacey
4. Space for 'quality': Negotiating with the Daleks - Jonathan Bignell
5. This is the modern world: 'The Prisoner', authorship, allegory - Mark Bould
6. Can kinky sex be politically correct? 'Queer As Folk' and the geo-ideological inscription of gay sexuality - Peter Billingham
7. 'Just that kids' thing': The politics of 'Crazyspace', children's television and the case of 'The Demon Headmaster' - Maìre Messenger Davies
Part III
Editors' introduction: Revisiting the familiar - Jonathan Bignell and Stephen Lacey
8. Haunted houses, hidden rooms: women, domesticity and the female Gothic adaptation on television - Helen Wheatley
9. BBC Drama at the margins: The contrasting fortunes of Northern Irish, Scottish and Welsh TV drama in the nineties - Steve Blandford
10. The new social realism of 'Clocking Off' - Lez Cooke
11. Becoming popular: Some reflections on the relationship between television and theatre - Stephen Lacey


Jonathan Bignell is Reader in Television and Film in the Department of Film, Theatre and Television at the University of Reading. Stephen Lacey is Principal Lecturer in the Department of Contemporary Arts at Manchester Metropolitan University

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