Poorly paid, but proud to work in teams producing ‘quality’: an oral history of women’s experiences working in BBC Drama

Tom May*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article presents a range of hitherto unheard women’s testimonies of their experiences working in the BBC Drama Plays department during the 1970s and 1980s. It incorporates the subjective interview testimony of nine women who all worked to varying degrees on BBC1’s prestigious strand of one-off dramas, Play for Today (1970-84) to reveal commonalities and differences in their gendered work experiences. This incorporates topics such as discrimination, pay, working conditions, emotional labour and trade unionism. There is attention to what made working for the BBC unique, compared to ITV or independent production companies. It is discerned that BBC women workers generally saw the BBC as a meritocracy, but also that some regret the decline in the strength of television trade unions, which they saw as leading to a situation of pervasive exploitation in television today.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalCritical Studies in Television
Early online date12 May 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 May 2022

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