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Adventures between TV and film, and between Britain and America

Bignell, J. ORCID: (2021) Adventures between TV and film, and between Britain and America. Ecrans, 15 (1). pp. 27-42. ISSN 2267 4357 (Special issue "Mémoire et réécritures dans les séries télévisées")

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To link to this item DOI: 10.48611/isbn.978-2-406-12259-3.p.0027


This article explores the connections and distinctions between cinema and TV, and between the screen cultures of Britain and the USA, in British spy and detective adventure fictions of the 1960s. One such connection is the sites where films and TV series were made. Many British television adventure series of the 1960s were filmed at the same production facilities as British cinema, such as at Pinewood or at British National Studios in Elstree, near London. A second connection is that those studios’ soundstages and backlot buildings were used to represent international locations, because the export of cinema and television fiction from the UK to the USA centred on representations of international modernity, fashion and adventure. The style of 1960s adventure depended on the resources of Pinewood studios, where James Bond films were made, or the sets built at Elstree which provided simulated foreign locales for the TV adventure series The Saint, The Avengers, The Champions and Department S, for example. Each of these TV series was exported to the USA, and at the same time, American finance was used to begin the cycle of James Bond films, beginning with Dr No in 1962, which were made in British studios and also in Jamaica (a British territory). The Bond films’ spy adventures in exotic settings shared aesthetic features with TV spy and detective narratives, partly because of these similar uses of places and production facilities. The article shows how the distinctions between TV and cinema were blurred in the strange story of how James Bond first appeared on screen. It was in an American TV drama, rather than a British cinema film, and some of Ian Fleming’s Bond novels derived from ideas developed for a planned American television series.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Arts and Communication Design > Film, Theatre & Television
ID Code:97886
Uncontrolled Keywords:Television, film, cinema, production, export, spy, James Bond, studio, USA, Britain, UK
Publisher:Classiques Garnier

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