Popular television in authoritarian Europe

Edited by Peter Goddard

Popular television in authoritarian Europe


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8239-9
  • Pages: 232
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: November 2013
  • BIC Category: Film and Media, Television, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Popular Culture, PERFORMING ARTS / Television / History & Criticism, Society & social sciences / Popular culture, The arts / Television


This lively and ground-breaking collection brings together work on forms of popular television within the authoritarian regimes of Europe after World War Two. Ten chapters based on new and original research examine approaches to programming and individual programmes in Spain, Greece, Czechoslovakia, Romania, the USSR and the GDR at a time when they were governed as dictatorships or one-party states. Drawing on surviving archives, scripts and production records, contemporary publications, YouTube clips and interviews with producers and performers, its chapters recover examples of television programming history unknown beyond national borders and often preserved largely in the memories of the audiences who lived with them.

The introduction examines how television can be considered 'popular' in circumstances where audience appeal is often secondary to the need for state control. Published in English, Popular television in authoritarian Europe represents a significant intervention in transnational television studies, making these histories available to scholars for the first time, encouraging comparative enquiry and extending the reach - intellectually and geographically - of European television history.

There is a foreword by John Corner and an informative timeline of events in the history of television in the countries covered.


"Focusing on parts of Europe often neglected in English-language research, this collection of essays offers a fresh perspective on the history of television cultures beyond the liberal democracies of the West.....the rich array of material presented offers plenty of useful bases for a conceptual endeavour of this kind."

(European Journal of Communication; July 2014)


Foreword - John Corner
1. Introduction: Popular television in authoritarian Europe: A popular conundrum? - Peter Goddard
2. Football and bullfighting on television: spectacle and Spanish identity during Franco's dictatorship (1956-75) - Juan Francisco Gutiérrez Lozano
3. From puppets to puppeteers: modernising Spain through entertainment television - Mar Binimelis, Josetxo Cerdán and Miguel Fernández Labayen
4. Entertaining the Colonels: propaganda, social change and entertainment in Greek television fiction (1967-74) - Gregory Paschalidis
5. Staying outside 'The Egg': surrealist entertainment during the Greek dictatorship - Christina Adamou
6. Between politics and soap: the articulation of ideology and melodrama in Czechoslovak communist television serials (1975-89) - Irena Carpentier Reifová, Petr Bednarík and Simon Dominik
7. Re-staging the popular: televising Nicolae Ceausescu - Dana Mustata
8. KVN: live television and improvised comedy in the Soviet Union, 1957-71 - Andrew Janco
9. Undercover: how the East German political system presented itself in television series - Sascha Trültzsch and Reinhold Viehoff
10. Agitprop gone wrong: Der Schwarze Kanal - Frank Engelmann-del Mestre
11. Popular music on East German television: Constructing the televisual pop community in the GDR - Edward Larkey
12. A timeline of events in the history of television in authoritarian Europe - Berber Hagedoorn and Peter Goddard


Peter Goddard is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Communication and Media, University of Liverpool

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