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Title: Radio drama at the crossroads
Author: Wood, Roger
ISNI:       0000 0001 3572 0460
Awarding Body: De Montfort University
Current Institution: De Montfort University
Date of Award: 2008
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Radio played an important but undervalued role in the development of 20th century drama. The BBC was first in the field in 1924 and, with the technological advance of Dramatic Control Panel, quickly created a wholly radiogenic form far more experimental than contemporary theatre or film. The age ofexperiment was over by 1930 and, though the secondary forms of dramatisation and adaptation came into their own, the single radio play became increasingly theatrical and ultimately unsatisfactory in a sound-only medium. The 1950s, however, saw the rebirth ofthe radiogenic radio play, not only on the minority Third Prog(amrne but across all channels, with radio for the first time nurturing the talents that would go on to achieve eminence in theatre and television. The resultant paradigm of high dramatic art combined with straightforward narrative entertainment, produced in bulk, enabled BBC radio drama to resist the challenge oftelevision and continues, broadly, to the present day. Whilst other recent studies have revisited the early history ofBBC radio drama, this thesis sets out to reassess the entire development ofthe BBC model from 1924 to the last 'event' radio drama, John Arden's Pearl, in 1978. Consideration is given to significant radio drama landmarks in other countries, primarily those national broadcasters that followed the BBC model. The revised historical narrative is illustrated with case studies ofplays chosen to demonstrate the step-change under discussion but also to indicate the quality of dramatic literature that has been 'lost' in this underresearched field. The BBC Written Archives have yielded a considerable amount of material that has not previously been discussed. Similarly, recorded radio plays from the National Sound Archive are considered as a research tool. The thesis concludes with a detailed survey ofBBC radio drama in 2006 comparing this with a sample ofthe output ofthe BBC's main rivals in the field and considers (with input from the current Head ofRadio Drama) the condition ofthe contemporary BBC product and the challenges it faces in its ninth decade.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available