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Adjusting the ContrastBritish Television and Constructs of Race$
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Sarita Malik and Darrell M. Newton

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781526100986

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526100986.001.0001

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Black British drama, losses and gains: the case of Shoot the Messenger

Black British drama, losses and gains: the case of Shoot the Messenger

(p.90) 4 Black British drama, losses and gains: the case of Shoot the Messenger
Adjusting the Contrast

Sarita Malik

Manchester University Press

This chapter contributes to the debates around television drama and black representation that are presented in this book collection. It focuses on Shoot the Messenger (STM) (BBC2, 2006), which was heavily promoted by the BBC as a ‘bold’ and ‘thought-provoking’ television drama. The one-off ninety-minute BBC Drama production focuses on the psychological journey of a Black schoolteacher, Joe Pascale (portrayed by David Oyelowo), accused of assaulting a Black male pupil. This chapter discusses how stylistically, STM’s non-realist techniques, non-linear form and overt constructedness depart from the traditional modes of social realism that have prevailed in Black British television drama. Moreover, it breaks with British television drama traditions in terms of production, having an almost totally Black cast and written and produced by two Black women: Sharon Foster and Ngozi Onwurah respectively.

Keywords:   television drama, black representation, psychological journey, non-realist techniques, constructedness

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