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Unit information: Television Drama in 2018/19

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Unit name Television Drama
Unit code FATVM0001
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Piper
Open unit status Not open




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


This unit will focus on the history, forms and genres of television drama. It will concentrate primarily on the contextualised study of British texts, drawing on historical, industrial, and audience research as appropriate to make a detailed examination of generic, formal and stylistic elements noting, for instance, the way these might arise from technological, economic and institutional practices and/or constraints. Sub-genres (such as the police series) may be used to explore critical debates about, say, realism or authorship, and/or to consider the relationship between television and the social contexts of production/reception. Although the focus will be on British television drama, students will be able to make comparisons with programmes from other countries.


  • To explore the relationship between fictional television programming and its historic contexts of production and reception.
  • To introduce students to the development of given genres.
  • To interrogate a wide range of different aesthetic strategies and forms of fictional programming.
  • To introduce critical and theoretical approaches useful and appropriate for discussing specific genres, forms and programmes.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will

  • have developed advanced skills of written textual, generic and formal analysis
  • have critical awareness of the history of television and the development of textual forms in one particular national context
  • be able to recognize the diversity of dramatic forms on television and their specific historical and political significance in a particular national and social context .

Teaching details

Lectures, seminars, screenings.

Assessment Details

1 x 5,000 word essay (100%).

Reading and References

  • Caughie, J. (2000) British Television Drama: Realism, Modernism, and British Culture, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Cooke, L. (2003) British Television Drama: A History, London: BFI.
  • Corner, J. (1999) Critical Ideas in Television Studies, Wotton-on-Edge, Gloucestershire: Clarendon Press.
  • Creeber, G. (2004) Serial Television: Big Drama on the Small Screen, London: BFI.
  • Lury, K. (2005) Interpreting Television, London: Hodder Arnold.
  • Nelson, R. (2007) State of Play: contemporary 'high-end' TV drama, Manchester: Manchester University Press.