Wyrd TV: Folklore, folk horror and hauntology in British 1970s Television

RODGERS, Diane (2022). Wyrd TV: Folklore, folk horror and hauntology in British 1970s Television. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.7190/shu-thesis-00492


This thesis combines the disciplines of folklore studies and screen studies to examine the on-screen representation of folklore and contemporary legend in 1970s British television texts. Using original interviews with creators of film and television (older participants having worked in the 1970s and younger participants working in present-day media) alongside archive material, the thesis draws out influential examples from the study period that affected those making film and television today. This thesis makes an original contribution to knowledge by employing the notion of mass-mediated ostension, as an approach unique to folklore studies, to examine the cultural context of 1970s British television drama and account for the impact on audiences of unsettling, supernatural and extra-terrestrial stories. The importance of children’s television in this era is also emphasised. This study considers the emergence of folk horror and its resurgence in the post-2000 period, particularly in the work of Generation X creatives, and sets out defining characteristics of ‘hauntological’ and ‘wyrd’ texts. Programme-makers’ reproduction and reinterpretation of folklore and contemporary legend are situated as central to the way such texts are made to seem plausible for an audience. The work of Nigel Kneale is highlighted as having been especially influential in this regard. Screen studies analysis is applied to paradigmatic examples of television programmes (notably Quatermass, 1979, and Children of the Stones, 1977) to assess formal methods and techniques used to represent folkloric and contemporary-legend motifs. In conclusion, this thesis reflects upon the continuing influence of 1970s folkloric television texts: how this remains manifest in British media and how it shapes the communication of folklore and the future of the folk-horror genre itself.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Clarke, David [0000-0002-6604-9419]
Thesis advisor - Hall, Sheldon [0000-0003-0950-7310]
Additional Information: Director of Studies: Dr. David Clarke Supervisor: Dr. Sheldon Hall
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.7190/shu-thesis-00492
Depositing User: Justine Gavin
Date Deposited: 24 Nov 2022 16:59
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2023 01:18
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/31070

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