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Title: Reading 'The League of Gentlemen' : study of the creation process of a comedy/horror series
Author: Toylan, Gamze
ISNI:       0000 0004 5366 3721
Awarding Body: University of Westminster
Current Institution: University of Westminster
Date of Award: 2014
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Television production’s ‘hidden labour’ lies concealed behind what we see on our screens. This thesis investigates the creation of The League of Gentlemen, a show that is considered a ‘special moment in television’, unpacking the end product and mapping the critical elements within the show’s creation process, to make this ‘hidden labour’ visible. It examines the The League’s production ecology to understand how this cultural breakthrough came to be, and contributes to broader discussions about the BBC’s broadcasting environment and comedy production in the 1990s. This thesis is the first study of The League that combines a detailed textual analysis with production studies, media history and media anthropology. Through its multi-method approach this study yields new insights into the creation process of The League. Through a very detailed analysis, this case study illuminates how the initial idea and the key textual devices (location, character and narrative) developed through various media and creation stages, revealing who and what shaped this process. Through original interviews it gives a voice to various contributors, including the costume designer and the producers, who are often overlooked because of the strong authorial signature of the writers/performers. Therefore, the study sheds light onto some of the ‘hidden professions of television’ and updates our understanding of the creation process and the final product in the light of these new insights. The study of The League’s creation process illustrates that each production is unique and faces different challenges. It reveals that despite major structural and cultural changes at the BBC in the 1990s, which some considered a crisis inimical to creativity, innovation and craftsmanship, there was still room for innovation and creative freedom. The 1990s were not simply a period of crisis in BBC programme making, as some commentators suggested at the time, but an exemplar of how the production ecology was changing. As this study shows, while comedy production is clearly constrained by larger organisational structures and strategies, it also depends crucially on the individuals involved in making comedy, and how they work together. This study highlights that culture production is the sum of all the small moments that happen on the ground - in the corridors of media organisations, in TV studios, during phone conversations - and during the many little decisions made by thinking, feeling and interacting individuals. It is the coming together of these small moments that shape what we see on our screens.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available