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

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


By (author) Piers D. Britton, By (author) Simon J. Barker

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  • Publisher: University of Texas Press
  • Format: Paperback | 267 pages
  • Dimensions: 154mm x 232mm x 18mm | 445g
  • Publication date: 1 June 2003
  • Publication City/Country: Austin, TX
  • ISBN 10: 0292709277
  • ISBN 13: 9780292709270
  • Edition: 1
  • Illustrations note: 1, black & white illustrations
  • Sales rank: 1,052,012

Product description

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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Review quote

"The power to influence our concept of style lies in the hands of designers in television. Most people today can recognize 'a look' that a character projects. Steed and Emma Peel [of The Avengers] were the first to convey 'a look,' and their designers should be saluted. At the heart of this book lies the story of how the look came about." Madeline Ann Kozlowski, Professor of Drama, University of California, Irvine, and Emmy Award-winning costume designer for Pryor's Place

Table of contents

ForewordAcknowledgmentsIntroduction Design for Television as a Subject for Study: The Critical Background Chapter 1Making a Spectacle: Design for Television in the Arena of Cultural StudiesChapter 2Agents Extraordinary: Stylishness and the Sense of Play in Design for The AvengersChapter 3Your Village: Cultural Traps in The PrisonerChapter 4Worlds Apart: Originality and Conservatism in the Imagery of Doctor WhoAfterwordNotesBibliographyIndex