'Drama over Lockerbie': A new look at television drama-documentaries



Kilborn R (1994) 'Drama over Lockerbie': A new look at television drama-documentaries. Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, 14 (1), pp. 59-76.

First paragraph: Of all the television formats which have over the years secured a place for themselves in the broadcasting schedules the docudrama or drama-documentary [(DD)] is the one which has possibly occasioned the most lively, and at times the most heated, debate. Whilst some of the most furious battles have been waged over individual programmes such as The War Game (1965), Death of a Princess (1980) and Who Bombed Birmingham? (1989), the 'fall-out' from these exchanges has resulted in the format itself becoming suspect. It is seen by some to encourage broadcasters to indulge in an irresponsible "monkeying around with actuality". This has led to fears that dramadocumentaries will be used to distort rather than to illuminate reality and that, in the hands of the more unscrupulous, the "object will be, quite brazenly, to influence opinion on contentious matters." All in all, when one surveys the critical responses to material produced in over four decades of television history, it would seem that for every two critics who regard the DD as a most useful tactical weapon in the broadcaster's armoury, there is at least one who views the format as a potentially dangerous instrument by means of which history is distorted and audiences manipulated.

Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television: Volume 14, Issue 1

Publication date31/12/1994
PublisherTaylor and Francis

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Professor Richard Kilborn

Professor Richard Kilborn

Honorary Professor, Communications, Media and Culture