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We had it coming: hypothetical docudrama as contested form and multiple fantasy

By Michael Stewart and Richard Butt


This essay examines four hypothetical docudramas - Smallpox 2002: Silent Weapon (2002), The Day Britain Stopped (2003), The Man Who Broke Britain (2004) and Death of a President (2006) - broadcast in the UK between 2002 and 2006. The article assesses the programmes' critical reception, and situates it with reference to Peter Watkins' influential docudrama, The War Game (1965). It is argued that while ambiguity is a feature of the docudrama form, uncertainty is nonetheless heightened in critical responses, and that this results from what is new about the four programmes. The essay analyses the docudramas with the help of appropriate theoretical literature. It argues that the docudramas are an emergent type of event-status television that is memorial, predictive and reworks televisual time

Publisher: Manchester University Press
Year: 2011
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