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Social Issues in Television Fiction$
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Lesley Henderson

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780748625314

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748625314.001.0001

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Making ‘Good’ Television: Creative Philosophies, Professionalism and Production Values

Making ‘Good’ Television: Creative Philosophies, Professionalism and Production Values

(p.31) Chapter 2 Making ‘Good’ Television: Creative Philosophies, Professionalism and Production Values
Social Issues in Television Fiction

Lesley Henderson

Edinburgh University Press

The ways in which diverse social issues are represented on prime-time television are subject to the focus of different groups. As pointed out in the previous chapter, activists, policy makers, lay audiences and media commentators have criticised and debated how contemporary issues are presented to the audiences. The underlying assumption is that these images matter. However, there exists a tendency to discuss television ‘soaps’ and serial dramas as a homogenous activity. This assumption is wrong and unhelpful. Furthermore, in assuming homogeneity, the opportunity for creating different types of representations and influencing representation at production level is lost. This chapter aims to demonstrate the significance of differentiating between programmes in terms of production philosophies, as well as to map programme diversity and demonstrate how production philosophies are tied to programme identity and ethos. It seeks to place several different programmes in their institutional and commercial context, discussing how the distinct production philosophy and ethos influence the development of social issue storylines. The chapter also discusses the complex nature of the production process: how the team process operates, how different production personnel perceive their role, the ways in which the storyline is, above all, an industrial product. Its overall is to identify how the production process functions ‘in theory’ and how specific storylines were produced and developed in practice.

Keywords:   social issues, prime-time television, television soaps, serial dramas, production philosophies, programme diversity, programme identity, programme ethos, production process

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