Accessibility navigation

The performing lives of things: animals, puppets, models and effects

Bignell, J. ORCID: (2019) The performing lives of things: animals, puppets, models and effects. In: Walters, J. and Donaldson, L. F. (eds.) Television Performance. Red Globe Press, London, pp. 43-60. ISBN 9781137608192

Text - Accepted Version
· Please see our End User Agreement before downloading.


It is advisable to refer to the publisher's version if you intend to cite from this work. See Guidance on citing.

Official URL:


This chapter addresses how critical analysis might describe and evaluate non-human “performances” in television fiction, and how they affect distinctions between actor and role, and between character and narrative function. Across the history and genres of television, there have been very many “objects” that narratives make expressive but that are not human, nor even, in some cases, alive at all. The chapter considers the balloon-like Rovers of "The Prisoner" TV series, the kangaroos in "Skippy", and the puppets and models in "Thunderbirds", arguing that if they are to play their part in the fictional world, each of these things needs to function as an expressive “performer”. It argues that the boundaries between self and other, human and non-human, are thus destabilised and reflect on the work of creation in television.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Arts and Communication Design > Film, Theatre & Television
ID Code:86591
Uncontrolled Keywords:Television, Performance, Animals, Special effects, Puppets, Film
Publisher:Red Globe Press


Downloads per month over past year

University Staff: Request a correction | Centaur Editors: Update this record

Page navigation