Historical TV Dramas and Mode: A Case of the Gothic

Activity: Talk or presentation typesPublic lecture/debate/seminar


Invited public lecture hosted online by the From Queen Anne to Queen Victoria Research Group.
Historical dramas can be presented in many different ways in film and television, with the mode in which the genre of historical drama is presented influencing how that drama is understood. Thus, the same events portrayed in a comic mode will tend to be received differently than if presented in a tragic mode. Historical dramas take on many modes: heritage dramas, romances, swashbucklers, political thrillers, crime dramas, but this lecture will focus on the Gothic mode. The Gothic mode emphasises darkness and trauma in its aesthetics and narrative; the lecture will particularly concentrate on the ways that some of these Gothic historical TV dramas use a combination of style, anachronism and theme to emphasise how historical traumas remain relevant to and recur in the present. In doing so, they can destabilise ideas of national or cultural identity, and of dominant historical narratives, particularly challenging the structures of power such as capitalism, imperialism and sexism, and the way that historical narratives are constructed in order to support dominant histories and power structures.
Period11 May 2023
Held atUniversity of Warsaw, Poland
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Television
  • Gothic
  • Historical drama
  • Public history