Crossing the Channel(s)Adaptation, National Identity and Public Service Broadcasting in the Work of Charles Dickens on Spanish, French and Italian Television, 1962-1970

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Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

Original languageEnglish
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Award date07 Apr 2011
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Abstract

This thesis presents a cross-national comparison of Charles Dickens’s television adaptations produced across Western Europe (specifically by national broadcasters in France, Italy and Spain) with particular reference to the Public Service Broadcasting era. This was an important period for the development of European television and the reaffirmation of values linked to national identity after the events of World War Two. The thesis suggests that television adaptations contributed to the consolidation of forms of national identity in Western Europe, with each country applying its own version of the Public Service Broadcasting ethos. By focusing on the years 1962-1970 - when European TV networks produced many transpositions inspired by Charles Dickens’s writings - this work discusses how these adaptations contributed to the establishment of certain forms of national identity in the countries chosen for analysis. By doing do, it also aims to reinforce the importance of cross-national comparisons of European television histories, while arguing the necessity of expanding those analyses to use specific genres and broadcasts (in this case, adaptations) to illustrate the development of national broadcasters throughout the monopoly era.
By using academic materials, newspaper and magazine reviews, television listings, and textual and contextual analysis, this work discusses how Spain, France and Italy, through the development of the adaptation genre and television itself, attempted to consolidate and reaffirm their own particular forms of national identity. I use Dickens’s adaptations as an example of how adaptations contributed to the dominance of PSB (and its frequently centralised notion of nationalism) in the countries selected for analysis. Rather than carrying out traditional ‘literary’ analysis of the adaptations, the thesis, therefore, examines them as television works, taking particular care to highlight how they reflect a specific nation, society and socio-political culture. In doing so, it attempts to provide the field of European TV studies - particularly in relation to that of adaptation history and Dickensian studies - with some much needed cross-national case-studies from a hugely important period of television history.