Not Signed-In
Which clippings match 'The Family (television)' keyword pg.1 of 1
29 JULY 2012

Fahrenheit 451: passive consumption through audience participation

"When the 'Family' (the television with its 'cousin' announcers and actors) presents an interactive play in which Linda believes she has a role, an actor (Donald Pickering) wearing glasses with thick, black rectangular frames, turns to the camera as it zooms in on him and says, 'What do you think, Linda?'"

(Tom Whalen, Gale Student Resources In Context)

Whalen, Tom. "The Consequences of Passivity: Re–evaluating Truffaut's Fahrenheit 451," in Literature–Film Quarterly, Vol. 35, No. 3, July, 2007, pp. 181(10).

1
2
3

4

TAGS

1966Alphaville • anti-intellectualism • audience participation • banbannedBernard Herrmannbig brotherbook • book burning • book-people • booksburning • Clarisse (character) • comic bookconformityconsolettecontroldisplay walldomestic futuresdystopiadystopian futureFahrenheit 451fire • fire department • firefighter • fireman • Francois Truffaut • Furia • futuristic societyGattacahousewifehumourindividualisminteractive dramainteractive experience • interactive teledrama • interactive television • It Happened Here (film) • Julie ChristieLinda (character)literature • Machiavelli • mahogany veneer • massificationmedia consumerMetropolis (1927)Montag (character)new forms of television • Nicolas Roeg • Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949)Oskar Werner • parlor wall • parlour • participation dramaparticipative media • passive consumer • passive consumptionpicture newspaper • pro-literature underground • Ray Bradburyreadingreality televisionscience fictionself-reflexivity • sensory deprivation • speculative fictionsubversion • telecast • televisiontelevision screenThe Family (television) • The Handmaids Tale • The Martian Chronicles • The Prince (book) • THX 1138 • totalitarianism • TV parlor • TV story • TV wall • video wall • visual joke • wall TV • wall-sized screen • what do you think • written languagewritten word

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
21 APRIL 2012

The Family: warts-and-all portrait of working-class 1970s Britain

"Modelled on the 13–part observational series, An American Family (US, d. Craig Gilbert, 1972), producer Paul Watson's 12–part The Family (BBC, 1974) is credited with creating the concept of the 'fly–on–the–wall' documentary in Britain. Regardless, Watson's cinema verité–style, warts–and–all portrait of the working–class Wilkins family certainly popularised an 'observational' style still seen as the defining characteristic of British documentary some twenty–five years later.

The Family follows the daily lives of Terry and Margaret Wilkins, their children and their partners, as they all struggle to live together in a small flat in Reading. The series sets out to reveal to viewers the reality of family life in Britain as never shown before. "No TV family ever has dirty pots and pans," says Margaret in episode one, and the Wilkins demonstrate a remarkable candour in their on–camera conversations with one another.

Watson and his small crew spent two months with the Wilkins prior to filming. After this the team filmed the family eighteen hours a day for three months. The result was an extraordinary portrait of family life: honest, hilarious and painful, an instant classic the impact and influence of which (on both fiction and non–fiction television) it would be difficult to overestimate.

The Family divided critics and viewers alike, and the Wilkins were villified by the tabloid press for all manner of imagined transgressions: their 'acting' for the camera or their 'real' behaviour in front of it, their use of bad language and public airing of previously taboo subjects. Watson explained that he "wanted to make a film about the kind of people who never got on to television," and clearly the sight of a powerful and opinionated woman like Margaret Wilkins, or the challenge of daughter Heather to the casual racism of 1970s middle–England, was shocking to a certain section of the British public (Mary Whitehouse was among those who called for the series to be banned, lest this 'representative' family be seen as a model to imitate)."

(Joe Sieder, BFI Screenonline)

1

TAGS

1970s1974 • acting for the camera • An American FamilyBBCBritainBritish documentary • candour • casual racismcinema veritecultural signalsdirect cinemadocumentaryfamilyfamily lifefly-on-the-wallFranc Roddam • honest • Margaret Wilkins • Mary Whitehouse • non-fiction televisionobservational seriesobservational style • on-camera conversations • Paul Watsonportraitportrait of a familyportrait of family life • Reading (city) • real behaviourreality television • small flat • social changesocial classsocial constructionismsocial realitysocial stratificationsocietysocio-economictaboo subjectstelevisiontelevision documentarytelevision series • Terry Wilkins • The FamilyThe Family (television)TVUK • warts-and-all • working class

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
Sign-In

Sign-In to Folksonomy

Can't access your account?

New to Folksonomy?

Sign-Up or learn more.