CHAPTER 5
Contemporary Gothic

TELEVISION

The previous chapter outlined the development of the Gothic in relation to the new media of radio and film. One medium missing from that discussion was television which until very recently has been largely overlooked in scholarship on the Gothic. Indeed, Helen Wheatley has asserted that ‘research into the Gothic as it appears on television is virtually nonexistent’.1 Wheatley’s Gothic Television (2006), has significantly readdressed this in what is now a developing area of critical enquiry in Gothic studies. The analysis here will broadly outline her approach to Gothic television because it is one which helpfully uses a model of the uncanny to explore the inherently domestic setting of much of Gothic television programming. It also provides another example of the key role which the uncanny has played in an understanding of the Gothic.

It is important to acknowledge a difference between programming policy in the US and Britain as in Britain in the immediate post-Second World War period the focus was on one-off adaptations of various novels and short stories, whereas in the US the preference was for the series format. Wheatley also notes that there were concerns within the BBC about the moral probity of such output given that horrific images of the war represented a continuing trauma within the national psyche. As we saw in the media response to Hammer’s The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958)

-161-

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Gothic Literature
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iv
  • Contents vi
  • Series Preface viii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Chronology x
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 - The Gothic Heyday, 1760–1820 18
  • Chapter 2 - The Gothic, 1820–1865 52
  • Chapter 3 - Gothic Proximities, 1865–1900 87
  • Chapter 4 - Twentieth Century 122
  • Chapter 5 - Contemporary Gothic 161
  • Conclusion 197
  • Student Resources 207
  • Index 236
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