Sheldon Hall’s new book ‘Armchair Cinema: A History of Feature Films on British Television’ will be published by Edinburgh University Press on 30 June

Since broadcast television first emerged to challenge the cinema as a form of public entertainment, more people have seen films on TV than by any other means, including the cinema itself. Feature films created to be viewed on the big screen were initially withheld from TV by the film industry. But from the mid-1960s, thousands of films have been shown on British terrestrial television each year, assuming particular importance in the 1970s and 1980s, when screenings of cinema blockbusters became major TV events. With new research utilising extracts from rare archival sources never previously published, Armchair Cinema explores the complex, competitive, often volatile historical relationships between the film industry and broadcasters such as the BBC and ITV.


‘Sheldon Hall’s pioneering Armchair Cinema examines in forensic detail – with a wealth of fascinating archival material – the history of the often stressful relationship between broadcasters and the film industry, and of the changing status of film in television programming, in the process laying the foundations for a fertile new area of media studies. This is an important and absorbing book.’

– Sir Christopher Frayling, Emeritus Professor of Cultural History, Royal College of Art, and Visiting Professor of Arts, University of Lancaster


‘Often uneasy bedfellows, cinema and television have nonetheless always been in a relationship. In Armchair Cinema Sheldon Hall’s meticulous archival research informs an illuminating history of where many films find their biggest audience – at home. This is the untold story of feature films on the small screen in Britain.’

– Justin Smith, Professor of Cinema and Television History, De Montfort University


Armchair Cinema is available to order on EUP’s website, where you can find more details about the book’s contents. Please note the launch discount code: NEW30 for 30% off.


Dr Sheldon Hall is an Emeritus Fellow at Sheffield Hallam University.