The research project Spaces of Television: Production, Site and Style is funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council and runs from 2010 to 2015.
The project concerns television fiction produced in the UK from 1955-94. It is exploring the relationship between the material spaces of production (in TV studios and on location) and the aesthetic forms of programmes: How were the opportunities and constraints of studio and exterior space, film and video technologies, and liveness and recording negotiated in TV fiction during this period?
The Principal Investigator leading the project as a whole is Professor Jonathan Bignell (University of Reading) with Co-Investigators Professor James Chapman (University of Leicester) and Professor Stephen Lacey (University of South Wales). Two Postdoctoral Research Assistants have been based at the University of Reading, Dr Leah Panos and Dr Billy Smart. Two students have written PhD theses as part of the project; Victoria Byard at Leicester and Ben Lamb at South Wales.
Topics and research questions
Some issues addressed in the project include:
- Comparisons between videotaped and filmed television in terms of their uses of space.
- How the changing uses of the TV studio affected the performance styles of actors.
- How production spaces and technologies impacted on the work of directors.
- Comparisons across genres, institutions and periods to chart how uses and representations of space change over time.
- How archival work can trace the history of production spaces in British TV.
- What testimony from TV production staff and performers can tell us about spatial opportunities and constraints.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the interviews you conducted with my father, Roger Marshall. As someone who writes about British tv shows such as The Avengers and Man in a Suitcase, I found the analysis of studio space fascinating. For The Avengers, moving from the stricture of studio (on tape) to the infinite freedom of locations (on 35mm film) liberated the show. Thanks for sharing your research.