This thesis deals with the way the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has adapted classical literature for the television screen as a way of heritage export. These adaptations were made in the first place to increase the knowledge of the people in Britain of their own cultural heritage. These adaptations, referred to as 'costume drama', have changed exceedingly during the existence of the BBC, because of the influences of other broadcasting channels and the increasing popularity of modern day television: soap operas, sitcoms, action series, et cetera. The costume drama 'Bleak House' from 2005, based on the novel by Charles Dickens, has been promoted as a 'soap opera': not a term most Dickens experts were exactly pleased with... In this thesis 'Bleak House' will be analysed and placed in the context of the history of BBC costume drama. What has been influencing the genre? How many characteristics of modern day television genres are present in 'Bleak House'? And why is British costume drama nowadays trying to shake off its traditional values
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