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Title: Watching the box of delights : production, site and style in British school-age children's television fantasy drama, 1950-1994
Author: Byard, Victoria Roisin
ISNI:       0000 0004 7227 9792
Awarding Body: University of Leicester
Current Institution: University of Leicester
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis examines the uses and purpose of the fantastic in British children’s television between 1950 and 1994. While telefantasy for primetime schedules has been mapped out by Catherine Johnson, no such study has been attempted for children’s television drama, primarily due to the academic and institutional marginalisation which has traditionally afflicted children’s television. This thesis attempts to address this gap in research by recovering a history of children’s television fantasy across the regulated duopoly within the twentieth century. Using archival research drawn from the BBC Written Archive Centre and the ITA/IBA Archive at the University of Bournemouth together with institutional histories and textual analysis, it argues that fantasy has throughout the history of British children’s television been a consistent and potent presence within the schedules. It suggests that the use of fantasy within production cultures of children’s television responds reflexively to the conception of the child audience as constructed though historical ideas of child development, public service requirements and the individual’s role within a democratic society. ‘Television drama matters,’ states George Brandt, but as a matter of course children’s drama has been overlooked in favour of ‘serious’ drama intended for adult schedules. Where genre in television has been addressed, it has tended towards the study of cult television. Using case studies of children’s fantasy drama from the BBC and ITV companies, both Majors and Regionals, this research works towards reassessing fantasy drama for children not as exceptional productions but as part of a dialectic of drama. Operating in parallel with mimetic drama, the mode and aesthetic of fantasy drama was deployed as part of an ongoing but historically positioned discourse that negotiated changing theorisations of the child audience, industrial and institutional imperatives, and social and cultural paradigms.
Supervisor: Chapman, James ; Barefoot, Guy Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available