Framing ‘the Real’
The TV drama serials Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (BBC2, 1990) and Middlemarch (BBC1, 1994) illustrate the case, opened in theory in Chapter 5, for critical realism in contemporary TV drama practice. As both serials are adaptations of novels of the same titles, their transposition to the screen serves additionally to bring out the influence of factors in the force field under discussion. George Eliot’s thousand-page Realist classic, Middlemarch, is subjected to the dehistoricizing tendencies of popular television forms in postmodernity. Jeanette Winterson’s own adaptation, in contrast, softens the fantasy frame of the novel to give the television version a more rooted grounding in televisual ‘reality’ to meet the audience’s preference for habitual naturalism.
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