Reading Between Designs: Visual Imagery and the Generation of Meaning in The Avengers, The Prisoner, and Doctor Who

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University of Texas Press, Jun 1, 2003 - Performing Arts - 251 pages

From the alien worlds of Star Trek to the realistic operating room of ER, the design of sets and costumes contributes not only to the look and mood of television shows, but even more importantly to the creation of memorable characters. Yet, until now, this crucial aspect of television creativity has received little critical attention, despite the ongoing interest in production design within the closely allied discipline of film studies.

In this book, Piers Britton and Simon Barker offer a first analytical study of scenic and costume design for television drama series. They focus on three enduringly popular series of the 1960s—The Avengers, The Prisoner, and Doctor Who—and discuss such topics as the sartorial image of Steed in The Avengers, the juxtaposition of picturesque and fascistic architecture in The Prisoner, and the evolution of the high-tech interior of Doctor Who's TARDIS. Interviews with the series' original designers and reproductions of their original drawings complement the authors' analysis, which sheds new light on a variety of issues, from the discourse of fashion to that of the heritage industry, notions of "Pop" and retro, and the cultural preoccupation with realism and virtual reality.

 

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Contents

Design for Television as a Subject for Study The Critical Background
11
Making a Spectacle Design for Television in the Arena of Cultural Studies
36
Your Village Cultural Traps in The Prisoner
94
Worlds Apart Originality and Conservatism in the Imagery of Doctor Who
131
AFTERWORD
196
NOTES
209
BIBLIOGRAPHY
233
INDEX
241
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

Piers D. Britton is Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of Redlands in Redlands, California.

Simon J. Barker holds an M.A. in English from the University of Connecticut. He is currently an independent scholar of media studies in Mystic, Connecticut.

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