Location of Repository

Teletexts :video literacy, television texture\ud and serial drama

By William James Cooper


This study looks at television as a text and the way in which it is read, with particular reference to continuous narratives.\ud - Video literacy is defined as the competence possessed by viewers by which they comprehend moving picture media.\ud - Television texture is a term intended to indicate the nature of television output as a text.\ud - Soap opera is a popular term for a continuing drama serial that derives from the original association of the form with sponsorship by detergent companies.\ud \ud Film theory has provided the basis for much of our understanding of moving pictures, but the film medium is increasingly being displaced by the electronic image. The metaphor of film language or grammar has proved to be difficult to sustain beyond a simple analogy because of fundamental differences between words and images. As an alternative, the notion of video literacy is proposed, and\ud the act of viewing is seen to be an active mental process comparable to reading. The particular nature of the television text is discussed and broadcasting is shown\ud to have developed distinctive narrative forms.\ud \ud As an example of a particular form of television text, the soap opera genre is surveyed from its historical origins, with specific reference to British serials, and difficulties of definition are discussed. Although soap operas were originally targeted at women, the audience for contemporary serials is shown to be reasonably\ud representative of that for television in general. As a case study, the long-running Yorkshire Television serial Emmerdale is selected for closer examination. A method of formal analysis is proposed, based on the structural\ud composition of shots and scenes. This is used to compare\ud the construction of four continuing serials, providing a description of the formal features that determine\ud some of the key characteristics by which the genre is recognised

Publisher: School of Media and Communication (Leeds)
Year: 1993
OAI identifier: oai:etheses.whiterose.ac.uk:817

Suggested articles



  1. (1983). A Twisted Yarn: Some psychological aspects of viewing soap operas, unpublished ITC Research reference paper, London: Independent Broadcasting Authority Research Department.
  2. (1991). Application for the Yorkshire Regional Channel 3 Licence,
  3. (1970). Art, Entertainment, Entropy', in Hanhardt, John (cd. )
  4. (1968). Cognitive Aspects of Sequence in
  5. (1992). Coronation Street: An anatomy of its apprcciation', unpublished ITC Research reference paper, London: Independent Television Commission Research Department.
  6. (1974). Hardware Software: A background guide to the study of the mass media,
  7. (1992). Neighbours at Home and Away: Viewers' perceptions of soap operas in Britain and overseas', unpublished ITC Research reference paper, London: Independent Television Commission Research Department.
  8. (1982). Readings and Writings: Senziotic counter strategies, doi
  9. (1973). Sight, Sound, Motion: Applied Media Aesthetics,
  10. (1969). Signs and Meaning in the Cinema, London: Scckcr and Warburg.
  11. (1969). The Development of a Semiotic of the Cinema', Sendolica 1: 282-321, reprinted
  12. (1978). The First Ten Years,
  13. (1981). The Forms of Television: Nature and development of television literacy in children, in doi
  14. (1973). The Image ofthe
  15. (1989). The Moving Image: An international history of film, television and video, London: British Film Institute.
  16. (1977). The Plug-in Drug, revised edition
  17. (1984). Towards a Semiotics of the Transition to Sound: Spatial and temporal codes', doi
  18. (1993). Watching Television. - Hernieneutics, reception, andpopular culture,

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.