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Postmodernism, culture and feminism: the aesthetics of space and performance in Rock Follies and Rock Follies of '77

Panos, L. (2014) Postmodernism, culture and feminism: the aesthetics of space and performance in Rock Follies and Rock Follies of '77. Journal of British Cinema and Television, 11 (1). pp. 41-67. ISSN 1755-1714

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To link to this item DOI: 10.3366/jbctv.2014.0191


This article discusses the aesthetic and spatial representational strategies of the popular studio-based musical television drama serials Rock Follies and Rock Follies of ’77. It analyses how the texts’ themes relating to women and the entertainment industry are mediated through their postmodern ironic mode and representation of fantastic spaces. Rock Follies’ distinctive stylised aesthetic and mode of caricature are analysed with reference to the visual intentions and ‘voice’ of the writer, Howard Schuman. Through considering the programmes’ various spatial strategies, the article draws attention to the importance of visual and performance style in their postmodern discourse on culture, fantasy, gender and subjectivity. Analysis of the spaces of musical performance, characters’ domestic environments and simulated entertainment spaces reveals how a dialectic is established between the escapist imaginative pleasures of fantasy and the manipulative and exploitative practices of the culture industry. The shift from the optimism of the first series, when the LittleLadies first form, to the darker mood of the second series, in which they are increasingly divided by industry pressures, is traced through changes in the aesthetics of space and characterisation. As a space of artifice, performance and electronic visual manipulation that facilitates the texts’ reflexive representation of culture and feminised fantasy, the studio’s unique aesthetic strengths emerge through this case study.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Arts and Communication Design > Film, Theatre & Television
ID Code:35607
Publisher:Edinburgh University Press

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