The Country House in Film and Television

Module code: HA7107

Module co-ordinator: Professor James Chapman

Module Overview

This module will analyse the representation of the country house in two of the most influential popular media of the twentieth century: film and television. It will consider the nature of the visual media as a source for the study of the country house and the different narrative and representational strategies that have been adopted. 

It will also consider how the image of the country house and its routines have changed over time in response to wider processes of social and cultural change. It will locate the country house genre in the historical lineage of ‘heritage’ film and television and will consider the cultural politics of the genre. To what extent does the country house film hold a mirror up to society? How far is it a nostalgic reminder of a social system that has passed?  But how do some film-makers also use the genre as a vehicle for social and political critique?

The films and television serials to be studied include, but are not limited to:

  • Brideshead Revisited
  • Gosford Park
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • The Remains of the Day
  • The Shooting Party
  • Laxdale Hall
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles
  • Doctor Who

The module will alternate screening weeks (including complete films/programmes and extracts) and seminar weeks when the previous week’s films and associated readings will be discussed. 

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module typical students should be able to:

  • Analyse the image and iconography of the country house in film and television narratives.
  • Discuss the visual and narrative conventions of the heritage or period film.
  • Locate country house film in relation to their wider cultural, intellectual and industrial contexts.

Assessment Methods

  • One 5,000 word essay