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This category contains 23 posts

Bookshelf: Television Jubilee (1961) by Gordon Ross

Gordon Ross’s Television Jubilee: The Story of Twenty-Five Years of BBC Television (London: W. H. Allen, 1961) was published in the run-up to the quarter-century anniversary of the start of the BBC Television service from Alexandra Palace. Exactly fifty years on, the book is valuable both as an outline history of the first years and as a kind of self-portrait of the medium at that moment. Continue reading

Bookshelf: Television in the Making (1956) by Paul Rotha

Published in 1956, Television in the Making is an invaluable collection of essays edited by Paul Rotha. The book’s twenty essays, to which Rotha provides a substantial introduction (itself a key text for understanding his own view of the medium), are reflections by practitioners on specific aspects of television production. There are contributions from many of the key figures of the time. Continue reading

Memories are made of this

Monday was given over to Cine-Sisters, a richly interesting symposium about women working in the film and television industries. The event was organised by the Cinema and Television Research Centre at De Montfort University, Leicester and the School of Film and Television Studies, University of East Anglia. Continue reading

Bookshelf: Television: The Ephemeral Art (1970) by T. C. Worsley

T. C. Worsley’s Television: The Ephemeral Art belongs on the (very short) library shelf labelled ‘distinguished collections of television criticism’. It rounds up Worsley’s newspaper columns between 1964 and 1969 and as a consequence it is an unrivalled account of one person’s detailed responses to the supposed ‘golden age’ of the medium. Continue reading

Shakespeare and co.

One of the main outcomes of the Screen Plays research project in intended to be a freely accessible online database of all British television productions since 1930 of plays written for the theatre. Our main model for this resource – and in many ways the inspiration for the project — is Shakespeare: An International Database … Continue reading

One month on

The last day of the month, and we’ve completed (or ought to have) one thirty-sixth of the Screen Plays research. So far, our most public part of the project has been this blog, and here I want to revisit the posts to date — and also to repeat our encouragement to comment and contribute. Continue reading

Bookshelf: Adventure in Vision (1950) by John Swift

The subtitle of John Swift’s book is The First Twenty-Five Years of Television, although when it appeared in 1950 there had been only seven years of official BBC transmissions. Swift was a journalist who as ‘The Scanner’ had been writing the Radio Times television diary, and his book covers the quarter of a century after John Logie Baird’s public demonstrations of his invention at Selfridge’s department store in London. Continue reading

Bookshelf: Mid-Century Drama (1962) by Laurence Kitchin

Let’s see how this develops but my sense is that ‘Bookshelf’ entries might be volumes from other contexts or disciplines apart from media studies. So my first contribution is a study from nearly fifty years ago by the critic Laurence Kitchin, Mid-Century Drama. I am particularly interested in the book’s attitude towards television. Continue reading

Getting going: research resources and approaches

In this post my goal is to outline the research resources and approaches I’m employing in my case study ‘Greeks on screen’. Such transparency at an early stage of the research process may easily show up embarrassing omissions and intellectual bias. On the other hand, what follows may be of some use to those interested in starting to research television productions of stage plays and, to this end, additions and further suggestions from readers would be warmly welcome! Continue reading

An essential resource: BFI Screenonline

One of the truly invaluable online resources for film and television researchers is BFI Screenonline, an extensive collection of short essays and more about British media history. The ‘more’ includes film extracts and documents that are only accessible from a registered UK-based educational institution, but the essays on people, films and broader topics are freely available. Continue reading

Emitron camera at Alexandra Palace