British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

CFP: Engagements with Ancient Greece on British Radio and Television

Broadcasting Greece: Engagements with Ancient Greece on British Radio and Television
Submission deadline for proposals: 19 July 2013

Broadcasting Greece is the first multi-authored collection of essays on the topic of ancient Greece on radio and television in the almost full century from the birth of public service broadcasting in Britain. The editors of this volume, which is under consideration by Edinburgh University Press, invite proposals for essays to complement a number of commissioned pieces.

The book seeks to investigate hitherto uncharted territory in its discussions of how radio and television programmes have engaged with the literary, historical and archaeological remains of ancient Greece in a wide yet interconnected range of programming formats, including material broadcast for schools and university students, documentaries, television fiction and presentations of theatre works.

In addition to recent television offerings by scholar-presenters such as Bettany Hughes and Michael Scott, there is of course a rich range of programming within living memory, and much more still extant and un-investigated in audio/audiovisual archives. The volume will also bring into discussion programming from even earlier decades of broadcasting, written and presented by notable figures such as Louis MacNeice, Gilbert Murray and Mortimer Wheeler, in order to relate programmes within living memory to their historical production contexts. Attention will also be paid to the symbiotic relationship that radio and television programming have had with print media such as books, educational curricula, newspaper publicity and, increasingly in the last two decades, with internet platforms (and, in this regard, see Archaeology at the BBC, a BBC Four Collection of archival footage:

An interdisciplinary group of scholars will examine and discuss how radio and television have thus been used to construct political, social and cultural narratives of Greece through distinctive aural and visual languages, and to what broadcasting purpose (e.g. information, education and entertainment). The volume will therefore serve to elucidate the impact that this cultural activity in the dominant, domestic forms of mass media has had on public engagement with and perceptions of ancient Greece in Britain over the decades under discussion.

Proposals are invited for essays which explore topics such as:

  • children’s and educational broadcasting (such as BBC and ITV Schools programmes and The Open University’s use of television for courses on ancient Greece);
  • documentaries and other information programmes on historical and archaeological topics (the BBC’s long-running Chronicle series, for example);
  • original radio and television drama (such as Louis MacNeice’s WWII feature programmes for radio);
  • works of fantasy and science fiction, from Xena to Doctor Who;
  • and the small corpus of theatre and studio productions of Greek drama.

Potential contributors may wish to consider how individual works, authors, genres, ideas or historical moments have been translated to these mass media (poetic forms on radio, for example, or the television adaptation of Plato’s Symposium in Jonathan Miller’s 1965 BBC The Drinking Party), to examine the contribution to broadcasting of significant figures who used mass media to facilitate public engagement with ideas of and from ancient Greece (for example, Gilbert Murray via radio) or to investigate the evidence for how listeners and viewers engaged with these programmes in order to chart the ways in which broadcasting channels, often in tandem with other cultural activity, contributed to perceptions of ancient Greece in the public imagination.

Essay proposals of around 600 words, outlining the planned subject, scope, method and sources, should be sent with a brief biographical statement to the editors, Dr Amanda Wrigley ( and Dr Fiona Hobden ( by Friday 19 July 2013, with a view to first drafts of essays being submitted in spring 2014.

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