Jack Rosenthal

By Sue Vice

Jack Rosenthal


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8811-7
  • Pages: 240
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £15.99
  • Published Date: May 2012
  • BIC Category: Film and Media, Television, Radio, ART / Film & Video, Films, cinema, Electronic, holographic & video art, BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Entertainment & Performing Arts, Biography: Arts & Entertainment, The arts / Film, TV & radio
  • Series: The Television Series


This is the first-ever critical work on Jack Rosenthal, the award-winning British television dramatist. His career began with Coronation Street in the 1960s and he became famous for his popular sitcoms, including The Lovers and The Dustbinmen. During what is often known as the golden age' of British television drama, Rosenthal wrote such plays as The Knowledge, The Chain, Spend, Spend, Spend and P'tang, Yang, Kipperbang, as well as the pilot for the series London's Burning. This study offers a close analysis of all Rosenthal's best-known works, drawing on archival material as well as interviews with his collaborators and cast members.

It traces the events that informed his writing, ranging from his comic take on the permissive society' of the 1960s, through to recession in the 1970s and Thatcherism in the 1980s. Rosenthal's distinctive brand of humour and its everyday surrealism is contrasted throughout with the work of his contemporaries, including Dennis Potter, Alan Bleasdale and Johnny Speight, and his influence on contemporary television and film is analysed. Rosenthal is not usually placed in the canon of Anglo-Jewish writing but the book argues this case by focusing on his prize-winning Plays for Today The Evacuees and Bar Mitzvah Boy.

This book will appeal to students and researchers in Television, Film and Cultural Studies, as well as those interested in contemporary drama and Jewish Studies.



1. Coronation Street: The beginnings
2. Little England: Your Name's Not God, It's Edgar (1968), Another Sunday and Sweet FA (1972), There'll Almost Always be an England (1974), Mr Ellis Versus the People (1974)
3. Men at work: The Dustbinmen (1969-70), The Knowledge (1979), London's Burning (1986)
4. Love stories: The Lovers (1970), Sadie, It's Cold Outside (1975), Wide-Eyed and Legless (1993)
5. Structure and plot: Spend, Spend, Spend (1977), The Chain (1985), Moving Story (1994) and Bag Lady (1989)
6. Ready When You Are, Mr McGill: television satire in 1976 and 2003
7. Versions of autobiography: P'tang, Yang, Kipperbang (1982); Bye, Bye, Baby (1992); Eskimo Day (1996); Cold Enough for Snow (1997)
8. Anglo-Jewish plays: The Evacuees (1975) and Bar Mitzvah Boy (1976)

Bibliography and List of Television Programmes


Sue Vice Professor in the School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics at the University of Sheffield

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