Writing for the Medium: Television in Transition

Thomas Elsaesser, Jan Simons, Lucette Bronk (eds.)

Amsterdam University Press, 220pp

This collection of essays, by well known writers on the subject of writing for television, is divided into three sections, with the first one devoted to the debates on quality television. The second one focuses on literature and television. The final section examines 'Science on television', with series editors from Britain and Germany giving first-hand accounts of the scope for serious science reporting on television.


Part 1 – Quality Television


Thomas Elsaesser 

Television in the Age of Consensus without Sense

Lutz Hachmeister 

'Quality' Television

Geoffrey Nowell-Smith 

Quality Television in The Netherlands: Some Hopeful Reflections on Breaking the Taboo

Sonja de Leeuw 

On the Quality of Soap

Olga Madsen 

Zapping One's Way into Quality: Arts Programmes on TV

Thomas Elsaesser 

Definitions of Quality

Jon Cook and Thomas Elsaesser 

Questionable Quality or the Undiscoverable Quality of Television

Jan Simons 

Part 2 – Literature on Television


Thomas Elsaesser 

The Novelist and Television Drama

Malcolm Bradbury 

On Achieving Good Television

Fay Weldon 

Speaking to Nations

Alan Plater 

Television and Literature

Jon Cook 

Literature after Television: Author, Authority, Authenticity

Thomas Elsaesser 

Unwritable Films, Unfilmable Texts?

Jan Simons 

Part 3 – Science on Television


Jan Simons 

Gee-Wizards of the Box?

Thomas Elsaesser 

Science on Television

Aart Gisolf 

On Being God and Darwin

Graham Creelman 

Citizen Scientist or A Dinosaur for All Seasons?

Jana Bennett 

Science and Technology on TV: Four European Countries Compared

Jaap Willems