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Independent Local Radio Drama: A Cultural, Historical And Regulatory Examination Of British Commercial Radio Drama.

Johnstone, P., 2022. Independent Local Radio Drama: A Cultural, Historical And Regulatory Examination Of British Commercial Radio Drama. Doctoral Thesis (Doctoral). Bournemouth University.

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BBC radio’s post-war years constitute a golden age of successful populist drama and situation-comedy, which was gradually usurped by television. Dramatists like Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter reasserted radio drama with ground-breaking, innovative and avant-garde plays, but by the 1970’s radio drama occupied a precarious position, not abandoned, but living on borrowed time. Its continued existence on Radio Four was deemed perfunctory or symbolic of the BBC’s public service obligations. What happened next was unusual by today's standards for commercial radio. Stations within the newly formed Independent Local Radio (ILR) sector began to produce their own dramatic content: original drama, adaptations, monologues, poetry, situation and sketch comedy. What follows is an investigation into this overlooked canon of work. The choice to include drama across various ILR stations was a response to cautious regulatory oversight that refashioned expectations for commercial radio into its initial independent form. ILR was local by design and case studies from ILR’s dramatic canon are shown to have relied on and reinforced vernacular culture in contrast to the perception of BBC radio drama and light entertainment. The ‘Manchester School’ ethos in broadcasting was evidently resurgent among its dramatists, highlighting the dichotomy between oral and literary cultures and their spatial or temporal modes. New creative voices, often without a theatrical background and unbeholden to established forms utilised their authentic naturalistic idiolects, in some instances taking atypical approaches to radio fiction, constituting a cultural shift in style and tone for radio drama. Original plays and comedies embraced their regionality, complementary to radio’s secondary position. This thesis comprises case study analyses, archival research, recollections of former practitioners and theoretical perspectives on radio drama. It addresses the following considerations: an examination of ILR dramatists and their production experiences; an application of key theoretical concepts to a selection of ILR fictional programmes; the BBC’s reaction to the competition posed by the commercial radio sector, and the extent to which ILR drama played a role in the wider impetus towards reform at the BBC.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information:If you feel that this work infringes your copyright please contact the BURO Manager.
Group:Faculty of Media & Communication
ID Code:36966
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:20 May 2022 09:20
Last Modified:30 May 2022 15:24


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