Chapter

Drama series

Troy Kennedy Martin

in Troy Kennedy Martin

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780719067020
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702055 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719067020.003.0016
Drama series

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By the early 1960s, series drama was the most popular form of drama on British television. ITV had largely been responsible for this, for while the BBC had two very popular series, Dixon of Dock Green and Maigret. This chapter explains that Z Cars not only led the BBC fightback against ITV in the weekly ratings charts, it also marked a significant departure for the BBC in terms of popular programming. Launched on 2 January 1962, the series marked the arrival of a new kind of police drama, one conceived and developed in response to the cosy, reassuring image of policing represented by the BBC's own Dixon of Dock Green. This chapter states that the origins of Z Cars within the Documentary Drama Unit, together with Jones' insistence that it be set in the north, were key factors in the success of the new series. The combination of documentary realism and Kennedy Martin's fictional characterisation of the police undoubtedly contributed to the critical and popular success of Z Cars.

Keywords: series drama; British television; Dixon of Dock Green; Maigret; Z Cars; Documentary Drama Unit; documentary realism

Chapter.  16863 words. 

Subjects: Television

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