CFP: Social Class and Television Drama in Contemporary Britain

Printable version Wednesday 15 October 2014 Last updated at 11:43


Television drama has a rich tradition of engaging with social class throughout its development in Britain. From Coronation Street, to Play for Today to Our Friends in the North, class has been a persistent source of inspiration for television writers, producers and directors.

However, in recent years it might be argued that this often radical emphasis on issues of class and social identity has waned, a symptom perhaps of an increasingly complicated and fragmented socio-economic landscape, and a volatile and ruthless broadcasting climate.

The end of Thatcherism and the subsequent triumph of New Labour seemed to point towards an attempt to heal the wounds of divisive class politics through an apparently harmonising third way rhetoric. John Prescott told us in 1997: ‘We’re all middle-class now.’ Yet, the financial crisis, and the subsequent election of the Conservative-led government, has undoubtedly reignited a politics of identity, as narratives of ‘austerity’ and ‘broken Britain’ circulate heavily in the media.

The aim of this edited collection is to explore the ways in which social class has been and continues to be articulated, documented, constructed and interrogated in British television drama between 1990 and the present. We invite 500-word abstracts for essays on any aspect of British television drama and social class in this period, including (but not limited to) the following:

• British soap opera after Thatcher

• The sitcom and social class

• Identity politics in television drama

• Gender politics and social class

• The politics of heritage drama

• The legacy of the single play tradition

• Class and television auterism

• Television realism(s)

• Social class and the interface between television and film in British culture

• Regionalism and class in television drama

• Spatializing social class: visual geographies and television drama

• Historicizing social class in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries

• Broadcasting policy and television drama

• Television aesthetics and social class

• Representing youth in television drama

• Beyond realism: genre and social class

• Social class and audiences of TV drama

• Stardom and social class

Please submit an extended abstract of 500 words to and (entitled Class on TV), by 31st October 2014. Please also include a brief biographical note. We plan to complete evaluation of abstracts by the end of November.



Dr David Forrest

Lecturer in Film Studies 

The School of English

The University of Sheffield

Jessop West

1 Upper Hanover Street


S3 7RA



Tel: 0114 222 8493


Storying Sheffield



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