Docudrama on Television - Essay Example

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In this paper, two docudramas are critically examined for several inputs and contents. The docudramas are War Game (1965) and London Under Attack (2004). Both are docudramas aired on the British Broadcasting Corporation TV service at different points in time. …
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Docudrama on Television
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Background In Britain the doctrine of Parliamentary sovereignty means that the House of Lords, the House of Commons and the Crown have the right to make any laws it deems fit in every generation (Blondel, 1994). However, the law and policy making process of Britain is strongly influenced by numerous sectors and departments of the country. This includes interest groups, civil rights groups, campaigners, professionals and other entities that can influence and lobby for the creation of specific laws and policies.
Awareness on specific issues in the UK which prompt the creation of new laws in different times are strongly influenced by the media, particularly television (Rosenthal, 1999). Ellis states that television turns a viewer into a witness and this is a virtue that no other written media can do (2000). Effectively, the use of images and the textual context of television shows can alter the way people think and feel about issues and this can prompt change in so many ways in the society today.
The genre known as Docudrama has been a very area through which a lot of change has occurred through television. Rosenthal begins his book with a fascinating description of the docudrama, Who Bombed Birmingham released in 1990. In this docudrama, there was a coverage of incidents that led to the bombing of two pubs in Britain in 1974. Prior to that, six men had been convicted for their alleged roles in the bombing. However, the docudrama showed that the possibility of attributing the bombings to those six men was not very clear. The Prime Minister at that time, Margaret Thatcher stated vehemently that a TV casting was just a little more than fiction and could not be relied upon. However, the docudrama stirred a lot of public sympathy for the six convicted people. There was a wave of campaigns and social uprisings that led to the case being reviewed in court. It was later held that the men were innocent and they were released. This is one of the many examples of how docudramas can stir up collective public uprisings and demand social constructivism in the contemporary society.
In this paper, two docudramas are critically examined for several inputs and contents. The docudramas are War Game (1965) and London Under Attack (2004). Both are docudramas aired on the British Broadcasting Corporation TV service at different points in time. They were both meant to evaluate the impact of two major global incidents that could hit the United Kingdom in the periods within which they were aired. The paper does this by attempting to attain the following objectives:
1. Discussion of the key elements of docudramas in relation to the two programmes
2. Examination of the historical and institutional structures and systems of the BBC and how it affected the docudramas
3. The textual contexts of the two docudramas and its desired or actual effects on the viewer and
4. Evaluation of the constructional realities of both docudramas.
BBC Panorama (2004) London Under Attack Transcription from BBC-1 Available online at: Accessed: January 10, 2012
Blondel Jean (1994) Developing Democracy: Comparative Research in Honor of JFP Blondel London: SAGE Publication
Casey Bernadette, Casey Neil, Calvert Ben, French Liam & Lewis Justin (2008) Television Studies: The Key Concepts London: Routledge
Curran James & Seaton Jean (2003) Power Without Responsibility: The Press & Broadcasting in Britain London: Routledge
Duguid, Mark (2010) Critical Analysis of:The War Game (1966) for British Film Institute Available online at: Accessed: January 10, 2012.
Hammond, Michael & Mazdon Lucy (2005) The Contemporary Television Series Edinburgh Universit Press.
Hoffer Tom & Nelson Richard Alan (1995) “Docudrama in American Television” in Why Docudrama?: Fact & Fiction in Film and TV Southern Illinois University Press
Lipkin, Steven (2002) Real Emotional Logic: Film & TV Docudrama as Persuasive Practice South Illinois University Press.
McKee Alan (2003) Textual Analysis a Beginners Guide London: SAGE Publication.
Rosenthal Alan (1999) Why Docudrama?: Fact & Fiction in Film & TV Southern Illinois University Press.
Turner Graeme (2003) British Cultural Studies: An Introduction London: Taylor & Francis Group.
Wheatley Helen (2007) Re-viewing Television History: Critical Issues in Television Histography IB Tauris Publishing. Read More
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