Future of TV debated in free public lecture

22 January 2013

Professor John Cook

Professor John Cook

The next golden age of British television could be just around the corner – if TV executives take advantage of change in the same way they did 50 years ago.

Glasgow Caledonian University’s Professor John Cook, a leading expert on British television and television drama, is giving a public lecture at GCU to mark the 50th anniversary of the last ‘golden age’, which saw the launch of celebrated programmes such as Dr Who, sitcom Steptoe and Son and satirical news show That Was The Week That Was.

Professor Cook’s lecture 'Reflections on a Golden Screen' will offer a journey through some of British television’s ups and downs over the last fifty years, with a view to looking at how the industry is reinventing itself today.

He said: “I want to give a New Year health check on the state of British television. The current period marks the fiftieth anniversary of a series of changes that happened to British television in the early 1960s – a time of rapid liberalisation and innovation that has come to be looked upon nostalgically by some as a kind of 'golden age'.

“There are parallels with the situation in television today which is also changing very rapidly. There is the opportunity to expand and to develop new types of programming for very different niche audiences but there are also pressures on funding. How the industry deals with this is the $64,000 question.”

Professor Cook will tell an audience of academics, television professionals and members of the public that a golden age is “there for the taking” – if industry executives manage to navigate a world of changing broadcast platforms, multi-channels and niche audiences.

Professor Cook is Professor of Media at Glasgow Caledonian University and is a leading internationally recognised scholar on British television and television drama. He published the first full-length book study of TV playwright Dennis Potter (author of 'The Singing Detective') in 1995, having been the only academic researcher to interview Potter prior to his death in 1994.

Professor Cook has also published and edited works on British science fiction TV, including Doctor Who, and on screenwriting. His lecture will feature first hand testimony on how ‘Doctor Who’ was created and launched in 1963, taken from a rare interview Professor Cook conducted with Dr Who creator Sydney Newman prior to Newman’s death in 1997.
GCU’s Professorial lecture series aims to showcase the research of the University’s recently appointed or promoted

Professors for a non-specialist audience. Professor Cook’s free lecture begins at 5.30pm and ends at 7.15pm. It will be held in the University’s Deep Rose lecture theatre.