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Ancient Greece on British Television$
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Fiona Hobden and Amanda Wrigley

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474412599

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474412599.001.0001

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Tragedy for Teens: Ancient Greek Tragedy on BBC and ITV Schools Television in the 1960s

Tragedy for Teens: Ancient Greek Tragedy on BBC and ITV Schools Television in the 1960s

(p.84) 4 Tragedy for Teens: Ancient Greek Tragedy on BBC and ITV Schools Television in the 1960s
Ancient Greece on British Television

Amanda Wrigley

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter offers a comparative impression of how the BBC and the independent television company Associated-Rediffusion produced Greek tragedy for non-specialist teen audiences via schools drama strands in the early 1960s, considering the different ways in which these dramas were presented in order to address the potency of teenagers and their imagined role in society at the beginning of this socially and culturally progressive decade. An assessment of the archival evidence for a number of schools productions of Greek tragedy in this period, together with textual analysis of extant programmes, suggests characteristic differences in pedagogic style and broader motivations between the BBC and Associated-Rediffusion, with the BBC focusing on the modernity of the theatrical canon and the independent company being primarily concerned with the imaginative and emotional engagement of the teen viewer. The evidence for audience engagement (pupils and teachers) bears out the greater success of the ITV broadcasts in communicating with teenagers in 1960s secondary moderns (where these ‘off-syllabus’ programmes were most often viewed), especially via the documentary framing techniques which integrated welcome contextual and historical information within the dramatic presentation.

Keywords:   Associated-Rediffusion, ITV, BBC, education, schools broadcasting, Greek tragedy, mass media, pedagogy, audiences (teen), secondary moderns

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