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Unit information: Television Broadcasting in 2018/19

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Unit name Television Broadcasting
Unit code FATV30001
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Piper
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Film and Television
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit will explore television programming in relation to its production and cultural contexts, initially by comparing the vision and practice of early British television (in the so-called 'golden age' of the 1950s/60s) with the present complexities of the international television industry and contemporary consumer culture. Students will also consider how commissioning decisions are made, and how notions of 'quality' and expectations of public service shift in an increasingly plural environment that includes non-broadcast provision of television programming. Lectures and seminars will be supplemented by screenings of a range of programmes that may be seen to reflect the broader contextual changes of industry, markets, and the public sphere. Students will deepen their understanding of practical creative decision making at various levels of the broadcasting industry by researching broadcaster requirements and working on commercially viable group TV programme proposals to be presented/submitted at the end of the unit.

Unit Aims

  1. To trace the origin of key concepts in broadcasting and examine contemporary developments in the television broadcasting industry.
  2. To examine some of the political, social and cultural issues faced by contemporary television providers.
  3. To investigate changing forms of programming in particular social and industrial contexts.
  4. To engage in research-based investigations of appropriate primary and secondary material and deploy this for the various assignments.
  5. To deepen understanding of creative and industrial decision making by engaging in a practical exercise to a brief comparable to broadcaster requirements, and to explore critically and practically how the ideals of broadcasting, such as public service and quality, might translate into forms and modes of television programming.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Identify and critically respond to emerging trends in British broadcasting and the international market in television programming.
  2. Identify and critically respond to key political, social and cultural issues faced by contemporary television providers.
  3. Analyse specific television programmes at an advanced level within particular historical, national and/or social contexts.
  4. Identify and evaluate pertinent evidence in support of a cogent argument.
  5. Develop and present an independent programme idea in response to a specific brief.

Teaching details

Weekly 2 hour Lectures, workshops, seminars;

plus weekly 2-3 hour screenings.

Assessment Details

2500 word essay (50%)

20 minute group presentation (50%)

Reading and References

Bourdieu, P. (1998) On Television and Journalism (trans. Parkhurst Ferguson, P.) London: Pluto Press

Chalaby, Jean K. (2015)The Format Age: Television's Entertainment Revolution, Cambridge: Polity Press.

Gomery, D. & Hockley, L. (eds) (2006) Television Industries, London: BFI

Hilmes, M. (2012) Network Nations: A Transnational History of British and American Broadcasting, London: Routledge.

Parks, L. & Kumar, S. (eds) (2003) Planet TV: A Global Television Reader New York University.