Wednesday 8 October 2014 – Lunchtime seminar with Dr Sheldon Hall (Stage & Screen, SHU)

Title: SEX, SPIES AND SHIRLEY TEMPLE: Feature Films on British Television in the 1970s
Speaker: Dr Sheldon Hall (Stage & Screen, SHU)

Dr Sheldon Hall is a Senior Lecturer in Stage & Screen Studies in the Faculty of Development and Society at Sheffield Hallam University. He is the author of Zulu: With Some Guts Behind It – The Making of the Epic Movie (Tomahawk Press, 2005; Second Edition, 2014), co-author of Epics, Spectacles and Blockbusters: A Hollywood History (Wayne State University Press, 2010), co-editor of Widescreen Worldwide (John Libbey Publications, 2010) and contributor to twelve other edited collections as well as numerous journals and newspapers. He is currently writing a monograph, Armchair Cinema: Feature Films on British Television, for publication by Tomahawk Press.

Having opposed the showing of feature films on British television since its inception, UK cinema exhibitors conceded the inevitable when in 1964 they agreed not to protest the broadcast of films so long as they were at least five years old. This decision resulted in a gold rush, as for the first time the major film distributors lined up to offer large packages of features at affordable rates to the BBC and ITV. By the 1970s viewers could see a cinema film on television every night of the week. Even older titles could draw large audiences and the biggest pictures often topped the ratings charts, as the film industry gradually (often reluctantly) gave up its blockbusters to the small screen. But the increasing availability of product from the ‘permissive’ era of the late 1960s and early 1970s also created problems for broadcasters in the scheduling on free-to-air channels of X-rated films intended for ‘adult’ audiences.

Drawing on archival records and other primary sources, this paper examines patterns in the acquisition and scheduling of feature films on British television throughout the 1970s. It focuses in particular on a case study of 1975 as the year when a number of controversies erupted concerning the films chosen for (and in some cases banned from) broadcast.

1.00PM – 2.00PM

All SHU staff and students are welcome to attend the C3RI Lunchtime Research Seminars. If you are from outside of the University and would like to attend a seminar, please email CCRC Administrator, Rachel Finch (R [dot] Finch [at] shu [dot] ac [dot] uk) to arrange for entry.