Chapter

Drama, Comedy and Drama Documentary

Emma Hanna

in The Great War on the Small Screen

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780748633890
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671175 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748633890.003.0006
Drama, Comedy and Drama Documentary

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In contemporary British culture the Second World War has provided plenty of material for drama and comedy on television. By comparison the sacred nature of the First World War in Britain's popular memory has meant that there are very few dramatic, still less comedic, representations of 1914-18. The most substantial drama set in the First World War was The Monocled Mutineer (BBC, 1986), a four part series based on a history of an alleged mutineer Percy Topliss, written by Alan Bleasdale. The series was a source of political and historical controversy, and inflamed existing tensions in the political relationships between the Tory government, the press and the BBC. Other less controversial programmes are discussed such as Upstairs, Downstairs (LWT, 1974) and the only comedy to be based in 1914-18, Blackadder Goes Forth (BBC, 1989). The onscreen representation of the fighting at the Somme in The Somme (Channel 4, 2005) is also placed in its historical and cultural context.

Keywords: The Monocled Mutineer (BBC, 1986); Upstairs, Downstairs (LWT, 1974); Blackadder Goes Forth (BBC, 1989); The Somme

Chapter.  11444 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Television

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