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Non-Naturalism in British Television - Essay Example

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Non-Naturalism in British Television

The importance of the content lies in its attempt to place British television at the centre of late twentieth century British culture and to relate the criticism of television drama to a wider history of aesthetic debates and arguments.
The study does not proposes a theory of everything or a new general theory of television, but enlightens with historical and critical analysis of one bit of television, a particular corner of the field of dramatic narrative which has a particular political, cultural and aesthetic efficacy of its own, at the same time, it shares the efficacy of the 'television' itself.
According to Dennis Potter, a professional writer for television as well as a creative artist, most television ends up offering its viewers a means of orienting themselves towards the generally received notions of 'reality'. The best naturalist of realist drama, of the Loach-Garnett-Allen school for instance, breaks out of this cosy habit by the vigour, clarity, originality and depth of perceptions of a more comprehensive reality.
The best non-naturalist drama, in its very structures disorientates the viewer smack in the middle of the orientation process which television perpetually uses. It disrupts the patterns that are endemic to television, and upsets or exposes the narrative styles of so many of the other allegedly non-fiction programme. It shows "the frame in the picture when most television is busy showing the picture in the frame". It is potentially the more valuable of the two approaches.
Naturalism and realism have had a history of disagreement since nineteenth century. 'Non-naturalism', then is shorthand founded on shorthand. The critic or professional has ever referred to naturalism in television drama as a term of approval, something to be achieved rather than a mark of failure, naturalism is already a negative and non-naturalism becomes a kind of double negative, cancelling out the negativity of naturalism and turning itself into a positive. Non-naturalism is not only shorthand, then, but a sleight of hand. More wisely, Naturalism is an easy target that which we do not like, and non-naturalism is the stick to beat it with.
Television channels seem to occupy a space which is designed for relaxation, and to depend on an image which is scaled to detachment. The television has ability to attract the popular audience, television dramatists have preferred to appeal to their audience in the soft tones of non-naturalism of the macho terms of anti-intellectualism rather than aligning themselves with the more stringent demands of modernism. At this level, the silence is a matter of public relations and marketing, using unexceptionable generality to dissociate this brand of drama from the negative connotations.

Today's television, suggests , however, is a logic of modernism , a kind of centrifugal spin in which art is pushed to outer edges in order to preserve its authenticity. Within this logic, television drama operates with its own sets of discourses, and its own limits and pressures. It is precisely the ways in which television drama finds its place between 'art' and 'the popular', negotiation between the demands of the different and the new which make it 'authentic' ...Show more


Non naturalism can be defined as portraying of something that is impossible and in one context that is not ethically good. This paper offers an account of quality prevailing in British television from its origin in live studio drama in prewar and immediate postwar years, through the Golden Age of the single play in 1960s and 1970s, to its convergence with an emerging British cinema in 1990s (John Caughie,1994)…
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Non-Naturalism in British Television essay example
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