The first study devoted to the genesis of domestic TV/Film production, this project presents an industrial and cultural history of the transformation of the lower reaches of Britain's film industry during the period 1946-1964. From 1946-1964 the production of second (or 'B') features and programme fillers aimed primarily at the domestic market was progressively phased out as the sector moved towards the wholesale production of TV/Film series intended for exhibition on the newly-franchised commercial television channel as well as the burgeoning international market. With extensive recourse to contemporary trade journals, the biographies of key personnel and, of course the early series themselves, the project charts and comments upon the growth of the new form whilst focusing upon its largest generic component, the crime narrative. As an industrial history, the project concentrates on case studies in order to demonstrate similar and diverse responses to extremely fluid market conditions.
The study argues for the reconsideration of these films in the context of the positive response of particular companies and studios in the supporting feature sector to fundamental issues that had long plagued the industry. Boosted by technological investment and domestic and American distribution deals, these companies were able both take advantage of support from the National Film Finance Corporation and survive when that aid was no longer available. Some studios even achieved continuous production by making a combination of supporting features and studio-bound TV/Film series. The inception of ITV and the exponential growth of the American and world markets in TV/Film had a catalytic effect on the burgeoning sector further promoting tendencies that were already in development - talent before and behind the camera now found regular employment, though their roles and status altered dramatically. In tandem to this industrial history, the study analyses the ways in which these series selectively rework and transform a rich and diverse heritage of domestic crime fiction in order to provide the basis for product differentiation in the international market.
Moreover, in addition to such borrowings, it examines many emergent, unresolved elements that would be retained when the form became a more stabilized - and predictable - entity. In a word, this is the story of how domestic producers and American arrivistes alike negotiated the virgin terrain of TV/Film. As such, it often proffers a view of the period that runs counter to the prevailing current and offers a perspective on the fledgling form and the cultural preoccupations of the period.