Welcome to the Did Anglians Dream of Electric Screens? website!
A large number of histories of television have been written over the past 50 years. Narratives that focus on institutions, production, programmes, staff, gender and race have all emerged from scholarship and we’re now in possession of a rich canon of work that provides an insight into phenomena that were once considered ephemeral and not worthy of intellectual attention, but are now recognised as being of huge cultural and social importance.
From a British perspective a majority of the historical narratives that have emerged consider television as a homogeneous, national experience. But I’m not sure that’s the best way to imagine the historical development of television in Britain, in fact I think doing so risks glossing over very important regional differences in both the timing of early experiences of television and the impact that it may have had in different areas of the country.
Prior academics seem to have subconsciously accepted a position that privileges metropolitan accounts of the history of television in Britain as ‘right’, and as a consequence communities on the geographic periphery rarely seem to feature, or if they do are only mentioned in passing: Norfolk in particular is conspicuous by its absence or side-lining in many of the key academic histories and texts.
This project is an attempt to begin to contribute to the existing historiography and reframe the narrative away from a London/urban-centric approach. It aims to shift the experiences of those in Norfolk (both audiences and institutions) from being on the periphery of interest, to being at the core of academic attention and in doing so it is an attempt to recognise and assess the importance of television in Norfolk, particularly in terms of its social and cultural impact.
It is a project that should be of interest to anyone who lives in Norfolk either young or old. The history that it seeks to create is a shared social one that will cast light on Norfolk during the mid-twentieth century, as well as ask thought provoking questions about some of the accepted truths that underpin the history of British television.
Most importantly it is a project for the people of Norfolk, by the people of Norfolk and it needs your help!
Be sure to keep up to date with all the latest developments relating to the project by following the project blog. I’ll be trying to share audio, video and photos relating to the history of television in Norfolk during the 1950s and 60s and I would love for you to join in with the discussion.