Television Drama: the Forgotten, the Lost and the Neglected

Royal Holloway, University of London, Wednesday 22 – Friday 24 April 2015

Conference schedule

‘Television Drama: the Forgotten, the Lost and the Neglected’ is a major three-day conference dedicated to historical British Television Drama taking place at Royal Holloway, University of London between Wednesday 22 and Friday 24 April 2015. The event is dedicated to discussing the value and status of lost, forgotten and neglected television drama in Britain and will be of interest to both academics and those more generally interested in television history. The conference is being held as part of the AHRC-funded ‘History of Forgotten Television Drama’ project.

Royal Hoolway College

Wednesday 22 April

1.00-2.00 Registration (Arts Building foyer/ ABG024)

2.00-3.15 (Arts Building: Arts Lecture Theatre 1) Chair: John Hill

Introduction: John Hill (Royal Holloway)

Keynote Presentation: James Chapman (Leicester): The forgotten history of the television swashbuckler

3.45-5.15 Panels 1

Panel 1A. Early Television (Windsor Building: Windsor 1-02) Chair: Lez Cooke

John Wyver (Westminster/Illuminations): Looking for Fred: What can we know of the lost television of producer Fred O’Donovan?

Derek Johnston (Queen’s, Belfast): Repositioning The Quatermass Experiment (BBC, 1953): Predecessors, Comparisons and Origin Narratives: Stranger From Space (BBC, 1951-3)

Richard Wallace (Warwick): John Cura: Pioneer of the Television Archive

Panel 1B. Classic Crime (Windsor Building: Windsor 1-03) Chair: Douglas McNaughton

Mark Aldridge (Southampton Solent): Agatha Christie’s Early Adventures at the BBC

Denise Gardner (Nottingham): Douglas Wilmer: The Forgotten Holmes?

Richard Hewett (Salford): A Study in Neglect: The Strange Case of Sherlock Holmes at the BBC

5.45-7.00 (Arts Building: Arts Lecture Theatre 1)

Interview: The forgotten 1970s drama of Granada Television – John Irvin and Jonathan Powell interviewed by John Hill

Forgotten TV drama conference panel

7.00-8.00 (Founders Building: Picture Gallery)

Drinks reception

Book launch for British Television Drama: A History (second edition) by Lez Cooke.

8.00 (Founders Building: Senior Common Room)


Private bar and The Kaleidoscope Viewing Room


Thursday 23 April

9.30-11.00 Panels 2

Panel 2A. Scotland (Windsor Building: Windsor 1-02) Chair: Billy Smart

John Cook (Glasgow Caledonian): ‘A View from North of the Border’: Scotland’s ‘Forgotten’ Contribution to the History of the BBC Single TV Play

Jonathan Murray (Edinburgh College of Art): Alliteration, Auteurism and Anomie: the television drama of John Byrne

Douglas McNaughton (Brighton): “Def-i-nitely back”: the rise and fall, and rise and fall, of Charles Endell Esquire (ITV/ STV, 1979)

Panel 2C. Adaptation (Windsor Building: Windsor 1-03) Chair: John Wyver

Natalia Martínez-Pérez (Carlos III, Madrid): Bringing back women’s drama: Pilar Miró’s literary adaptations in Spanish television.

Lez Cooke (Royal Holloway): ‘Regional British Television Drama: From Stage to Screen – The Television Plays of Peter Cheeseman’s Victoria Theatre Company in Stoke-on-Trent’

Stewart Anderson (Brigham Young): Francis Durbridge, West German Television, and European Reconciliation during the 1960s

11.30-1.00 Panels 3

Panel 3A. London Weekend Television in the 1970s (Windsor Building: Windsor 1-02) Chair: Leah Panos

Mary Irwin (Northumbria): “Say Goodnight Clara”: London Weekend Television’s No – Honestly (ITV, 1974-5)

Ben Lamb (UEA): New Scotland Yard (ITV/ LWT, 1972-4): A bygone era?

Sally Shaw (Portsmouth): Missing from the canon of television plays concerning 1970s black Britain – The case of Gloo Joo (ITV/ LWT, 1979)

Panel 3B. History (Windsor Building: Windsor 1-03) Chair: John Cook

James Jordan (Southampton): ‘I cannot believe that this play has a foundation in fact.’ Skipper Next to God (BBC, 1951) and the ‘Hidden’ Holocaust on Post-war British Television

John Hill (Royal Holloway): Dominic Behan and the emergence of ‘Troubles’ TV Drama in the 1970s

Mark Fryers (UEA): British Maritime Television: The uncharted waters of British drama

1.00-2.00 (Arts Building foyer)   Lunch

2.00-3.30 Panels 4

Panel 4A: The 1970s: Regions and authorship (Windsor Building: Windsor 1-02) Chair: Vicky Ball

Matthew Kilburn (Oxford): News of The Paper Lads (ITV/ Tyne Tees 1977-8): Struggling with the contemporary and with regional and youth identity in children’s television drama

Vanessa Jackson (Birmingham City/ Royal Holloway): “Nothing was being done about it, and there weren’t any writers” – A case study in Tara Prem’s A Touch of Eastern Promise (BBC2, 1973)

David Rolinson (Stirling): Drama as science documentary – Alan Plater’s banned Horizon: The Black Pool (BBC, 1978)

Panel 4B. Genres (Windsor Building: Windsor 1-03) Chair: Sally Shaw

Jonathan Bignell (Reading): Television and the invisible James Bond

Sofia Bull (Warwick): Forgotten Forensics: The Technocratic Pioneers and Gentleman Experts of 1960s Crime Television

Joseph Oldham (Warwick): ‘This is the 80s – death by violence counts as natural causes’: Forging a ‘paranoid style’ for the early 1980s in Bird of Prey (BBC1, 1982)

4.00-6.00 (Arts Building: Arts Lecture Theatre)

Screening & panel

Second City Firsts: The Actual Woman (BBC2, 1974)

Second City Firsts: Pig Bin (BBC2, 1974)

Panel: Second City Firsts (BBC2, 1973-8) – Philip Jackson, Tara Prem, Philip Saville and Jack Shepherd interviewed by Lez Cooke

(An edited version of this panel discussion may be found here.)

forgotten tv drama conference

7.00 (Founders Building: Senior Common Room)


Private bar and The Kaleidoscope Viewing Room


Friday 24 April

10.00-11.00 (Arts Building: Arts Lecture Theatre 1) Chair: Lez Cooke

Keynote Presentation: Christine Geraghty (Glasgow): “But what about… Coronation Street?”: Remembering and forgetting in Television Studies

11.30-1.00 Panels 5

Panel 5A. Writers (Windsor Building: Windsor 1-02) Chair: David Rolinson

Vicky Ball (De Montfort): Writing women into histories of British television drama: Adele Rose

Billy Smart (Royal Holloway): “Half-hour studies in resentment”: Howard Barker as television playwright, 1972-4

David Forrest and Sue Vice (Sheffield): Retrieving Barry Hines’s Archive

Panel 5B. Cancellation, Failure and Obscurity (Windsor Building: Windsor 1-03) Chair: James Chapman

Max Sexton (Birkbeck): Tripods (BBC1, 1984-5): The Problem of the Interrupted Television Series

Victoria Byard (Falmouth): Wail of the Banshee (ITV/ Central, 1992): The death cry for ITV children’s television?

Andrew Fox and Bianca Mitu (Huddersfield): Truly Vexed (BBC2, 2010-2): How an innovative television drama failed

Panel 5C. Memory and Broadcasting (Windsor Building: Windsor 1-04) Chair: John Hill

Ken Griffin (Ulster): Lost and forgotten: Exploring non-existent television drama

Rachel Moseley (Warwick): The Art of Child’s Play: The Forgetting (and Remembering) of Stop-Motion Animation for Children

J.P. Kelly (Royal Holloway): A Vast Digital Wasteland: The Economics and Ephemerality of Digital Television

1.00-2.00 (Arts Building foyer): Lunch

2.00-3.30 Panels 6

Panel 6A. Ambitious 1970s BBC Studio Experiments (Windsor Building: Windsor 1-02) Chair: Jonathan Bignell

Leah Panos (Reading): Celebrating 1970s Fringe Culture: Full House (BBC2, 1972-3)

Ian Greaves and John Williams: “Must we wait ’til Doomsday?”: The making and mauling of Churchill’s People (BBC1, 1974-5) (40 minutes)

Panel 6B. Series: The 80s and 90s (Windsor Building: Windsor 1-03) Chair: J.P. Kelly

Georgia Aitaki (Gothenberg): Greek television comedy and the construction of the ‘modern Greek’: The case of the early 1990s

Daryl Perrins (South Wales): ‘We see the world through welder’s goggles’: Boyd Clack and the neglected sitcoms of Wales

Andrew O’Day: Following the scent: The Case of the Missing Bloodhound Gang (PBS, 1980-8)

4.00-5.15 (Arts Building: Arts Lecture Theatre 1)

Interview: The BBC1 Classic Serial (1981-8) – Terrance Dicks interviewed by Billy Smart

(An edited transcript of this interview may be found here).

forgotten tv drama conference panel

5.15–5.30 (Arts Building: Arts Lecture Theatre 1)

Closing: John Hill



A special issue of the Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television (Volume 37, Number 1),  edited by Lez Cooke, John Hill and Billy Smart, on ‘Forgotten Television Drama’ was published in 2017 and contained a number of articles based on papers from this conference.