Geographies of popular TV comedy and drama.

Keen to take seriously popular cultural media and the way it informs and shapes imagined and real landscapes and ideas about the world, this research is interested in the “tiny revolution” (Orwell 1945) that popular comedy productions can initiate and how they variously asks audiences to question the established ordering of the world. How comedy achieves this across a range of formats and comedy genres complements broader research into the geographies of popular media, such as satirical cartoons, the historical legacies of music hall and popular comedy dramas on TV. Currently, this includes working with Dr Innes Keighren (Royal Holloway) on Landscapes of Detectorists and an edited book based on the RGS-IBG session (2018) is currently in production with Uniformbooks (due 2020).

BBC4 original comedy drama, Detectorists (BBC/PlanetX image)
BBC4 original comedy drama, Detectorists (BBC/PlanetX image).

Expanding this remit more generally with attention to the way time and space is conceptualised, represented and dramatised, work will begin to explore other forms of popular culture, with specific attention on the intergalactic geographer of time and space, Dr Who.

Dr Who arguably the most popular of intergalactic geographers (adventures across time and space). (source: wikipedia)
Dr Who arguably the most popular of intergalactic geographers (adventures across time and space). (source: BBC/wikipedia)

I will be co-convening a session at the 2019 Royal Geographical Society conference with Dr Morag Rose and Prof. Phil Smith. further details are below:

Call for papers at the RGS-IGB Conference, 28th-30th August 2019 London, UK
Geographies of Doctor Who: Jelly Babies, Bad Wolf and The Junk Yard Inside Me
Session Convenors: Dr Morag Rose (University of Liverpool) Dr Jo Norcup (Universities of Glasgow and Warwick) and Prof Phil Smith (University of Plymouth) 
“There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, and the sea’s asleep, and the rivers dream; people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there’s danger, somewhere there’s injustice, and somewhere else the tea’s getting cold. Come on, Ace. We’ve got work to do.” (Survival, S26:E4)
This session seeks to explore how popular culture can help us experience fantastic and abject geographies and enrich our wider praxis. Doctor Who was first broadcast by The BBC in 1963 and has become the longest running, and arguably the most successful, science fiction television series of all time. We want to both celebrate the impact of this beloved television institution and use it as a lens to expand and play with our geographical thinking. We are inspired by work which pays serious attention to entertainment such as Kneale and Kitchen on science fiction (2001, 2002), the landscape of Detectorists (chaired by Keighren and Norcup at last years conference) and the Academic Archers (Courage, Headlem et al). We therefore invite you to apply your theoretical frameworks to imaginary worlds and the material locations of fictions; to think outside the (police) box.
Suggestions for papers include, but are absolutely not limited to:
·         Physical geography, geology, climatology and oceanography of Whovian landscapes
·         Queering, cripping, decolonising and creating alternative visions of the Whoninverse
·         Constructions of gender, race, sexuality, nationality, citizenship and other identities performed in Doctor Who
·         Ethnographies and materialities of fandom and fan communities
·         Historical geographies, memory and commemoration
·         Landscapes, location, soundscapes and embodied encounters in the Whoinverse
·         How The Doctor reflects upon and engages with contemporary issues
·         Multiple temporalities, regeneration, evolution and decay in the Whoniverse
·         Spatialities and technology of, and beyond, the Tardis
·         Psychogeographies, affect and emotion in and regarding Doctor Who
·         Cartographic and other representations of the Doctor Who Universe
·         How ideas of travel across space, scale, and time, interconnects and interplays across geographies and other academic disciplines
·         What the programme can offer in thinking about future visions of worlds
·         How Doctor Who encapsulates the conference theme:  geographies of trouble / geographies of hope.
We take a flexible and generous approach to definitions of geography and welcome papers that are inter, multi and trans disciplinary. Although we are operating within a conference structure we are open to ideas other than the traditional paper format. We welcome papers from all species and anywhere in time and space and will not discriminate between classic and new who or work that challenges the cannon. We hope that together we can organise a session that is joyful, irreverent, illuminating and a theoretical adventure in time and space.
Please send abstracts of around 250 words to Morag Rose mlrose@liverpool.ac.uk by 30th January 2019. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions or comments