'Visible' and 'invisible' performance: framing performance in 1970s television drama

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterpeer-review


Critical orthodoxies around television drama have tended to neglect its aesthetic qualities, leading to a tendency to characterize it as a medium for relay of ‘theatrical’ performance; paradoxically, it has also been categorized as a medium of the ‘intimate screen’ (Jacobs 2000) through the close-up of the face. While investigation of television performance considers the need to tone down ‘theatrical’ performance for this intimate medium, little consideration is given to the production processes by which the ‘intimate screen’ is generated. This chapter argues that the contribution of camera operators to the generation of that screen is a key element in the production of onscreen television performance. Using archival resources, textual analysis and practitioner interviews, the chapter considers the interaction of actor’s performance and camerawork in the 1970s multi-camera television studio, and elaborates on how the multiple understandings of and practices relating to this interaction were engaged with. The final section of the chapter examines a case study of 1970s television drama, using close analysis of the BBC’s I, Claudius (1976) to consider the proxemics of performance both in front of and behind the camera.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationExploring Television Acting
EditorsT. Cantrell, C. Hogg
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherBloomsbury Methuen Drama
ISBN (Electronic)9781474248594
ISBN (Print)9781474248587
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2018

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Bloomsbury Academic in Exploring Television Acting on 31/05/2018, available online: https://bloomsbury.com/uk/exploring-television-acting-9781474248594/


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