The Centre for the History of Television Culture and Production, Royal Holloway, University of London is pleased to announce a TECHNE Collaborative Doctoral Award funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. This fully-funded studentship will focus on British television drama and the ‘television film’ in the 1980s and 1990s and will involve a collaboration with BBC History.

The Project

Television Drama in Transition: Screen Two, the Single Play and the Television Film

Screen Two celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2025. Running from 1985 until 1998 it consisted of around 150 single dramas and films involving the leading writers, directors and producers of the time. However, in comparison to its predecessors – The Wednesday Play and Play for Today – its contribution to television, and UK culture more generally, has been little analysed and discussed.  And, although the series initiated a decisive shift in BBC drama policy towards shooting entirely on film, and producing television films for cinema release, its contribution to this development has been largely neglected in comparison to the study of Channel 4 and ‘Film on Four’.  The purpose of the project will therefore be to revisit the history of Screen Two – and the related BBC series Screenplay (launched in 1986) and Screen One (launched in 1989) – in order to examine the transition from the single play to television film during this period and assess its artistic, economic and socio-political significance. In doing so, the project will not only re-assess the history of UK television drama during this period but also re-evaluate individual works and make them better-known through public websites (such as BBC Canvas), publications, events and screenings.

Details of Award

The Techne CDA Studentship will fund a full-time studentship for 3.5 years (42 months), with an option to extend this by up to a further 6 months for placement/career enhancement activity. Students must submit their thesis within the funded period. The award covers both tuition fees (£4,712 in 2023-24) and full maintenance (£20,622 in 2023-24)

Supervisory Team

The studentship offers a distinctive opportunity to undertake a collaborative doctorate with a university and leading broadcaster. This is reflected in the supervisory team which will consist of Professor John Hill and Professor David M. Thompson of Royal Holloway, University of London and Robert Seatter of the BBC. John is currently the Director of the Centre for the History of Television Culture and Production at Royal Holloway and was PI of the AHRC-funded ‘Forgotten Television Drama’ project. David was Head of BBC Films and Single Drama from 1997-2007 and has produced over 100 dramas and films for the BBC. Robert is the BBC’s Head of History with experience of  leading a raft of collaborative projects such as 100 Voices of the BBC and the AHRC-BBC 100 project. Michael Wood, Head of Production at the BBC, who has an extensive history of commissioning and producing television drama and films, will also act as an adviser.

The successful candidate

The successful candidate will require:

  • a first degree (2:1 or above) as well as an MA or equivalent
  • knowledge of British television and a familiarity with debates in television history
  • an enthusiasm for public history
  • good communication skills
  • good IT and media skills
  • a capacity to work with others

Prior professional experience may also be an advantage.

Application Process

Expressions of interest should consist of the following:

  • A current CV  (including the names of two referees)
  • A cover letter outlining your interest in this research project, explaining how you would address the topic and how it will build on your own knowledge and experience.
  • A sample of academic writing (e.g. a MA dissertation or essay)
  • Candidates invited to an online interview will be asked to supply transcripts of first degree and postgraduate qualifications

Expressions of interest (consisting of the above) should be sent to by no later than: Monday 15th January 2024. Interviews will be held the week beginning 22 January 2024.  

Following interview, the chosen candidate will be invited to complete an application, in conjunction with the supervisory team, for final submission to TECHNE by 21 February 2024.

Further Information

For more information on TECHNE see: