BA Film Studies and Arabic / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Television Drama

Course unit fact file
Unit code DRAM21291
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? No


This module introduces students to a broad overview of British and American television drama. It will look at the relationships between production, text and reception and think about how developments in television and new media have impacted on dramatic form and content. Topics and debates that will be covered include: TV genres; realism and television drama; the ‘quality TV’ debate; television acting; the auteur/showrunner and questions of representation.  The course will offer students a foundational base from which to critically read television texts and pursue a researched essay in one of the areas from the course syllabus 



Pre-requisites:  Any L1 Drama (DRAM) study unit (theatre or film).

Co-requisites:    Any L2 core Drama unit - Theatres of Modernity; Screen, Culture and                                                                              Society



  • To introduce students to the critical study of Television Drama in terms of texts, institutions, audiences and users.  

  • To offer students a sense of the historical developments and debates involved in the study of Television Drama. 

  • To equip students with the ability to read and engage critically with Television Drama. 

Knowledge and understanding

  • Demonstrate familiarity with contemporary theoretical approaches to the study of television drama. 

  • Demonstrate understanding of the broad historical development of British and American television drama and the significance of particular genres within that history. 

  • Articulate a clear understanding of how television drama can be understood within particular institutional and cultural contexts. 

  • Demonstrate the ability to critically apply a range of theoretical applications to different aspects of the televisual dramatic text, including gender/race studies, narrative analysis and aesthetic analysis. 

Intellectual skills

  • Analyse a range of Television Dramas using cross-disciplinary skills from film, media and cultural studies. 

  • Identify aspects of TV and new media drama and dramatic forms and analyse these in detail. 

  • Understand and explore the relationships between text, institutional and cultural contexts, and audiences and users 

Practical skills

  • Communicate understanding of course materials effectively in both speech (as evidenced through seminar participation) and writing (as evidenced by summative assessments) 

  • Develop a clear, coherent and critical interpretive argument 

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Basic interpersonal communication skills  

  • Ability to analyse concepts, techniques, methods, materials - independently and with others 

  • Ability to draw on individual research/preparation to engage in discussions in learning environments 

  • Ability to present self effectively – through discussion and in writing (including adherence to academic conventions 

Employability skills

Analytical skills
¿ Understanding of professional cultures/environments ¿ our students are supported to develop professional approaches to timekeeping, peer support/review, self-reflection/evaluation and dealing with sources of concern/complaint
Group/team working
¿ Ability to work independently and as part of a team, often as part of creative and critical projects that present unpredictable and challenging scenarios
¿ Creative thinking ¿ our teaching environment enables students to develop creative and critical approaches to problem-solving
¿ Awareness of the importance of contributing to public life and demonstrating good citizenship ¿ our curriculum is socially and politically engaged, and encourages students to develop a sense of social responsibility in their professional and social life
Project management
¿ Project management ¿ our teaching environment demands that students plan, undertake, manage and evaluate projects independently and as part of teams
Oral communication
¿ Advanced communication skills ¿ verbal, written; prepared/rehearsed and `off the cuff¿/improvised
Written communication
¿ Ability to present self and ideas effectively, including when dealing with complex and sensitive topics
¿ Emotional intelligence ¿ our teaching environment encourages students to develop self awareness, and an ability to use emotional and cognitive capacities when approaching new challenges

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 60%
Oral assessment/presentation 40%

Feedback methods

Feedback method  

Formative or Summative 

Presentation – written  


Essay – written  


Oral feedback on presentation plan/essay plan 


Recommended reading

Bignell, J. and Lacey, S. (2017) Popular television drama: critical perspectives. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press (Manchester Gothic).

Casey, Bernadette et al. (2002) Television Studies: The Key Concepts. London: Routledge.

Cooke, Lez (2003) British Television Drama: A History. London: BFI.

Hills, M., Hilmes, M. and Pearson, R. E. (2019) Transatlantic television drama¿: industries, programs & fans. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Jacobs, Jason and Steven Peacock eds. (2013) Television Aesthetics and Style. New York and London: Bloomsbury.

Johnson, B. and Davis, F. (2017) Social class and television drama in contemporary Britain. London: Palgrave Macmillan

Lury, Karen (2005) Interpreting Television. London: Hodder Education.

McDonald, K. and Smith-Rowsey, D. (2016) The Netflix effect: technology and entertainment in the 21st century. New York: Bloomsbury Academic, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing Inc.

McElroy, R. and Noonan, C. (2019) Producing British television drama: local production in a global era. London: Palgrave Macmillan (Palgrave pivot).

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 11
Seminars 22
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Robert Watts Unit coordinator

Return to course details