Before the history boom: Revisiting UK television history documentary production

Dafydd Sills-Jones

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3 Citations (Scopus)
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This article seeks to examine the notion of a ‘history boom’ on UK television (TV) during the second half of the 1990s and 2000s. It does this by sampling the UK TV schedule between 1982 and 2012, presenting material from interviews with leading producers and commissioners, and conducting an analysis of key programmes. What emerges is the contrary notion of a ‘history dip’ between the late 1980s and early1990s, which in turn reveals an earlier high level of history programme output on UK TV. By adding to the previous accounts of history TV production, this article comments on a tendency in media history towards a ‘history of the victor’, with the attendant danger of overlooking important periods of televisual output and industrial transformation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-95
JournalCritical Studies in Television
Issue number1
Early online date18 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - 01 Mar 2016


  • documentary
  • history
  • television
  • media production
  • public service broadcasting


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