A Return to the ‘Big' Discourse : Interviewing History Documentary-Makers

Authors Organisations
Type Article
Original languageEnglish
JournalNetworking Knowledge: Journal of the MeCCSA PGN
Volume1
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sep 2007
Links
View graph of relations
Citation formats

Abstract

In looking at the connections between changes in the political economy of the television industry in the UK and the changing form of history documentaries during the 1990s, my starting point was an alleged boom in the production and viewership of history documentaries on terrestrial television during that period. The centrality of documentary to debates regarding quality and public service during a period of marketisation, often evidenced by a decline in ‘serious’ programming, made this alleged growth particularly interesting.

But due to the 25-year embargo on the BBC written archives, the lack of an accessible Channel 4 written archive and the commercial confidentiality surrounding the archives of independent television producers I had to turn to my industry experience, and to interviews with industry figures, in order to conduct my study. This meant returning to a discourse which I had once been part of, but one which I had seriously questioned throughout my previous career in history documentary production.

This paper looks at how differing working practices, knowledge sets, terminology, and my own shifting sense of identity affected the way in which this research was conducted.