SHE Level 3
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M3P325461
Module Leader John Cook
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Media and Journalism
  • B (January start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Successful completion of Media Analysis 1 M1P322863

Summary of Content

The module will provide students with an opportunity to engage in in-depth academic analysis of the field of television drama (UK though with comparative consideration of US and Europe as appropriate). Dominant TV drama forms such as the series and serial will be considered, as will a range of key TV drama 'genres' - including the hospital TV drama, the science fiction TV series, the crime TV drama. Consideration will also be given to the history of television drama and its impact and legacy upon contemporary TV drama. Various critical theories and interpretive strategies in relation to television drama will be considered and key programme texts examined in terms of issues such as style; censorship; representations of gender and ethnicity; audience reception. From this perspective, a range of writings on TV drama of various academics and practitioners will be examined with a view to providing students with an appropriate theoretical framework in which to situate a comprehensive understanding of television dramatic forms, production practices and reception contexts.


What is TV drama ? Introduction and Definitions Approaches to Television Drama: Politics, Institutions and Audiences Popular Genres 1: The Police and Crime Drama Popular Genres 2: The Hospital Drama TV Drama and Authorship Theory Writing TV Drama: A Practitioner's Perspective History of British TV Drama 1: Early Years History of British TV Drama 2: 'The Golden Age' and After Style in TV Drama: Naturalism versus Non-Naturalism Popular Genres 3: The Science Fiction TV Drama 'Cult' TV Drama and its Audiences Future of TV Drama

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the student should be able to:1. Critically understand the wide range of drama that is made for and shown on television; both identifying and analysing complex problems and issues, as well as demonstrating some originality and creativity formulating, evaluating and applying evidence-based critical arguments.2. Develop critical awareness and interpretive skills with regard to the analysis of TV drama texts, communicating the results of textual analysis accurately and reliably using the full repertoire of theoretical and critical concepts pertaining to the academic study of television drama.3. Consider various forms of television drama in relation to their respective institutional, technological, production and reception contexts and histories, making use, where appropriate, of research and other professional materials related to the forefront of scholarly developments in the field.4. Examine a range of writings on television drama by academics and practitioners, with a view to thinking critically about the various theoretical issues and problems associated with different TV drama forms and practices, exercising elements of independent judgment and decision-making in relation to key debates in the field and, at the completion of the module, with the ability to apply subject knowledge and to undertake further study and related professional development in this area.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

One x one hour lecture per week. One x one hour seminar per week, based on student group presentation and TV drama review in class (assessed). There are also regular screenings of TV drama material which will be discussed and analysed in seminars. There is a structured programme of reading set out in the course brochure with key readings discussed in class. All course work is required. GSBS will continue to use the advancement of GCU Learn as a blended learning tool through its teaching and learning as well as through engagement with students. GSBS will ensure that all modules are GCU Learn enabled and with the support of the Learning Technologists at the cutting edge of development of online materials. Academic staff and the Learning Technologists will continue to work together to develop and operate all modules on GCULearn to ensure student support and information sharing. Students are provided with formative and summative feedback via a variety of mechanisms. Feedback on coursework is provided within 3 working weeks of submission

Indicative Reading

Books and journal articles: Aldridge, Mark (2008), T is for Television: The Small Screen Adventures of Russell T Davies, Reynolds & Hearn. Allen, Michael (2007), Reading CSI: Crime TV Under the Microscope, I.B. Tauris. Bignell, Jonathan and Lacey, Stephen (eds.) (2014), British Television Drama: Past, Present and Future, second edition, London: Palgrave Macmillan. Billson, Anne (2005), Buffy the Vampire Slayer, British Film Institute. Blain, Neil and Hutchison, David (eds.) (2008), The Media in Scotland, Edinburgh University Press. Byers, Michele (2009), The CSI Effect: Television, Crime and Governance, Lexington Books. Caughie, John (2000), Television Drama: Realism, Modernism and British Culture, Oxford University Press. Chalaby, Jean (2016), The Format Age: Television's Entertainment Revolution, Malden, MA, USA. Chapman, James (2013), Inside the Tardis: The Worlds of Doctor Who, second edition, I.B. Tauris. Cook, John R. (1998), Dennis Potter: A Life on Screen, second edition, Manchester University Press. Cook, John R. and Wright, P. (eds.) (2006), British Science Fiction Television: A Hitchhiker's Guide, I.B. Tauris. Cook, John R. (2013), 'Television Writer Peter Bowker in Conversation with Professor John Cook', Journal of Screenwriting, 4 (3), 317-324. Cook, John R. and Eva N. Redvall (eds.) (2015), 'TV Writers', special edition of Journal of Screenwriting, 6 (2), 131-254. Cooke, Lez (2015), British Television Drama: A History, second edition, British Film Institute. Cooke, Lez (2013), Style in British Television Drama, Palgrave Macmillan. Creeber, Glen, (2005), Serial Drama: Big Drama on the Small Screen, British Film Institute. Creeber, Glen (ed.), (2015), The Television Genre Book, third edition, British Film Institute, Curtin, Michael, (2014), Distribution Revolution: Conversations about the Digital Future of Film and Television, University of California Press. Dunleavy, Trisha (2018), Complex Serial Drama and Multiplatform Television, London and New York: Routledge. Dunleavy, Trisha (2009), Television Drama: Form, Agency and Innovation, Palgrave Macmillan. Forrest, David and Johnson, Beth (eds.) (2017), Social Class and Television Drama in Contemporary Britain, London: Palgrave Macmillan. Hewett, Richard (2017), The Changing Spaces of Television Acting: From Studio Realism to Location Realism in BBC Television Drama, Manchester: Manchester University Press. Hill, John (2011), Ken Loach: The Politics of Film and Television, British Film Institute. Jacobs, Jason (2003), Body Trauma TV: The New Hospital Dramas, British Film Institute. Jacobs, Jason (2000), The Intimate Screen: Early British Television Drama, Oxford University Press. Jensen, Pia Majbritt (2013), 'The Use of Format Adaptation in Danish Public Service Programming', Critical Studies in Television, 8 (2), 85-104. Kallas, Christina, (2014), Inside the Writers' Room: Conversations with American TV Writers, Palgrave Macmillan. Lavery, David (ed.), (2006), Reading the Sopranos: Hit TV from HBO, I.B. Tauris. McCabe, Janet (2007), Quality TV: Contemporary American Television and Beyond, I.B. Tauris. Nelson, Robin (2007), State of Play: Contemporary "High-End" Television Drama, Manchester University Press. Nichols-Pethick, Jonathan (2012), TV Cops: The Contemporary American Television Police Drama, Routledge. O'Connor, Alan (ed.) (1989), Raymond Williams on Television: Selected Writings, Routledge. O'Sullivan, Sean (2013), 'Bridges and Gaps:The Singing Detective's Serial Afterlife, Journal of Screenwriting, 4 (3), 273-285. Paget, Derek (2013), 'Making Mischief: Peter Kosminsky, Stephen Frears and British Television Docudrama', Journal of British Cinema and Television, 10 (1), 171-186. Piper, Helen (2015), The TV Detective: Voices of Dissent in Contemporary Television, I.B. Tauris. Ridgman, Jeremy (2012), 'Duty of Care: Crime Drama and the Medical Encounter', Critical Studies in Television, 7 (1), 1-12. Thompson, Ben (2012), Ban This Filth ! Letters from the Mary Whitehouse Archive, Faber and Faber. Tunstall, Jeremy (2015), BBC and Television Genres in Jeopardy, Peter Lang, AG. Turner, Graeme (2009), Television Studies After TV: Understanding Television in the Post-Broadcast Era, Routledge. Weissmann, Elke (2012), Transnational Television Drama: Special Relations and Mutual Influence Between the US and UK, Palgrave Macmillan. Williams, Linda (2014), On The Wire, Duke University Press, USA. Online sources: BARB, Broadcasters' Audience Research Board, <> BBC Media Centre, for latest drama news, <> BBC TV drama commissioning web-site, <> BBC Writer's Room for new writers, <> Box of Broadcasts, on-demand TV and Radio service for education, <> Broadcast, TV industry trade news site, <> Guardian Media news site, <> Netflix Media Centre, news and corporate information about Netflix <> Ofcom, Research and Data Reports from UK's Telecommunications Regulator, <> -567

Transferrable Skills

By the end of this module students will have gained competence in the following key areas: self-confidence self-discipline awareness of strengths and weaknesses independence desire to go on learning ability to reflect reliability ability to prioritise tasks time management presentational skills ability to work in teams and leadership skills commercial awareness flexibility

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Lectures 12.00
Assessment 40.00
Tutorials (FT) 12.00
Seminars 12.00
Independent Learning 124.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 2 n/a 50.00 35% Written Essay (2000 words) wk13
Coursework 1 n/a 50.00 35% Seminar Group Presentation (25-30 minutes) WKS 3-12