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The Rise of the Unreal Real: Realism and Science Fiction on British Television 1936-1950
This paper will examine how early science fiction productions illustrate the shifting ideas of what television style should be. Television style developed from an experimental early stage where a number of different approaches were tried, as with Jan Bussell's non-realist visuals for his 1938 and 1948 adaptations of R.U.R.. It then solidified around the idea of television as a live relay of events from somewhere, or even somewhen, else into the viewer's home, as used in The Strange Case of Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde in 1950. This shift from a freer use of the possibilities of television to a standardised concept of "realist" drama even in relation to fantastic narratives reflected changing understanding of the television audience based on audience research carried out by the BBC.