© 2019

Producing British Television Drama

Local Production in a Global Era

  • Includes more than twenty interviews with senior TV executives, independent production companies, trade unions, training providers, talent agents and individual TV workers

  • Focuses on drama production at a national, regional and local level

  • Brings together a number of key debates in media relating to television industries, cultural production, place-branding, policy-making, labour and the geographies of creativity


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Ruth McElroy, Caitriona Noonan
    Pages 1-21
  3. Ruth McElroy, Caitriona Noonan
    Pages 23-43
  4. Ruth McElroy, Caitriona Noonan
    Pages 45-71
  5. Ruth McElroy, Caitriona Noonan
    Pages 73-95
  6. Ruth McElroy, Caitriona Noonan
    Pages 97-121
  7. Ruth McElroy, Caitriona Noonan
    Pages 123-144
  8. Ruth McElroy, Caitriona Noonan
    Pages 145-160
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 161-172

About this book


This book presents a compelling case for a paradigmatic shift in the analysis of television drama production that recentres questions of power, control and sustainability. Television drama production has become an increasingly lucrative global export business as drama as a form enjoys increased prestige. However, this book argues that the growing emphasis on international markets and global players such as Netflix and Amazon Prime neglects the realities of commissioning and making television drama in specific national and regional contexts. Drawing on extensive empirical research, Producing British Television Drama demonstrates the centrality of public service broadcasters in serving audiences and sustaining the commercial independent sector in a digital age. It attends closely to three elements—the role of place in the production of content; the experiences of those working in the sector; and the interventions from cultural intermediaries in articulating and ascribing value to television drama. With chapters examining the evolution of British TV drama, as well as what might be in store in its future, this book offers invaluable insights into the UK as a major supplier of and market for television drama.


distribution public service broadcasting genre cultural policy branding TV BBC co-production crime drama Doctor Who tourism Game of Thrones place screen agencies Brexit power sustainability Netflix audience Amazon Prime

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Creative IndustriesUniversity of South WalesCardiffUK
  2. 2.School of Journalism, Media and CultureCardiff UniversityCardiffUK

About the authors

Ruth McElroy is Professor of Creative Industries at University of South Wales, UK. She is editor of Contemporary British Television Crime Drama: Cops on the Box (2017).

Caitriona Noonan is Lecturer in Media and Communications at Cardiff University, UK. Published in Critical Studies in Television, her research interests are in cultural production and policy.

Bibliographic information


“McElroy and Noonan offer an eloquent and persuasive defence of PSB. … This is a timely, well-argued analysis of the ecology of contemporary television that, in exploring and championing the ‘local’ in drama production, has much to add to current debates.” (Stephen Lacey, Critical Studies in Television, Vol. 15 (2), 2020)