Representation Of Disability In Tv Drama Analysis Essay

Answer the question below, with detailed reference to specific examplesfrom the extract only.

Extract: Primeval Series 2 Episode 3, written by Richard Kurti and Bev Doyle, dir. Jamie Payne

  1. Discuss the ways in which the extract constructs the representation of genderusing the following:
  • Camera shots, angles, movement and composition
  • Editing
  • Sound
  • Mise-en-scene

 (50 marks)

The representation of gender in the clip given conveys interesting and thought provoking ideas and contrasts between characters.

The young women called Abbey, her character steers away from the stereotypical image of women, young women, she is portrayed as a strong and feisty female,this is evident in the shots where she is operating a mechanical machine, with much skill and efficiency also. A wide shot is used when we first see her to establish the scene and location (the woods and forest). The close ups also of the end of the digger fortifies the fact that Abbey is experienced in using such a machine again reinforcing her non stereotypicalportrayal, she is given the impression of a tomboy. The mis-en-scene used also fortifies this point, she has a short almost boyish hair cut and wears a leather jacket that makes us think of a character like Steve McQueen or perhaps “Greece”, mainly male, strong willed characters.

The fact that she also fights the Sabre-toothed Creature, saving the man’s life shows her tenacity. The shot that this portrayed through is a continuity edit. Also the wide shot of her running after the man being chased reinstates this point again, as the man, who stereotypically is supposed to be strong and courageous is in fact running and being chased, this is a contrast to the women who is running through the forest with a gun to help him for a second time! The dark shape of the gun in her hands, reiterates, power, as a gun, is in this extract, power.

The gentleman who is in a sky blue t-shirt is portrayed as more of an intelligent man, brain rather then brawn. When the sabre-tooth attacks there is a close-up of him in the hole cowering, this goes against the usual stereotypes of a man, a contrast between him and Abbey. Despite his cowering he does show an instance of courageousness, when he lures away the creature from Abbey. Despite this brave act he still is running away from the sabre tooth tiger, a continuity edit is present when he is running and also when he uses the zip wire, close ups show fear and exhaustion on his face. The fact that he also uses his belt on the zip wire again shows his brains over brawn. The mise-en-scene of his clothes convey a more stereotypical view of the man, they are neutral and earthy colours and are dirty and strained, this helps paint more of a picture of a mans man, or someone who is not afraid of getting their hands dirty.

The non-diegetic sound of the ambient sound-track helps convey the tension and fear and also helps make the pace of the action a whole lot faster, especially in the chase scene, a combination of this music and also the fast pace of the editing raises the tempo and tension. The blurring and wipes Xbetween each edit gives the action the impression that it is too fast to see and fortifies the fact that the creature is very fast. The music becomes slower, but is ramped up with tension as (sounds?) drove on through the scene with the man with the shotgun, creating a sense of dread and anticipation! This along with the wide shot and the man’s face, riddled with anger and malice, conveys a tension filled shot.

The man who is wearing pink attire is portrayed as more of a pretty boy, lover not a fighter, the pink colour is more common to girls, women therefore gives him an air of effeminacy. The rest of the cast wear mainly earthy colours or smart suits etc, whereas he wears feminine colours turning the stereotypical image of a man on its head. The fact that he also doesn’t have a gun and instead, quite comically pulls a spade out, whereas the other two people in the shot both have guns, one a man and the other a women, this gives the impression that the women is almost more reliable than the man wearing pink.

The wide shot showing the tree in the barn gives a very theatrical feel to it, almost tries to emulate a sense of bravado and coolness that other films use e.g. the opening shot of Reservoir Dogs. Also the fact that there are three of them may portray symbolic qualities, like the three musketeers etc.

The lady who is talking to the gentleman who breeds dogs is portrayed as a pristine, more of a stereotypical view of a lady. This is conveyed through the sequence “My Best Coat”! This provides a clear insight into her personality. She is strong whilst using words but when the man pulls out a gun a close up reveals her devastation and fear. Even the colour of the ladies “Best Coat” is white, which provides the thought of purity and pristine.

The over the shoulder shot and the cross cut editing reveals the rising anger of the gentleman breeding the dogs. He is weak when the pristine women threatens him but has much more power when he picks up the gun. The line “won’t be pushed around anymore” indicates his explosion of anger. The diegetic noise of the barking dogs also convey a sense of threat and hysteria. This shot conveys the power of a weapon and also the power of words and how gender can be powerful.

This extract turns a lot of ideas mostly stereotypical views of gender on its head, which therefore gives the viewer an interesting watch.

Level 4
Use of examples2017
Use of terminology107


<div style=”margin-bottom:5px”> <strong> <a href=”″ title=”Section a-technical-areas-micro-features-booklet-1″ target=”_blank”>Section a-technical-areas-micro-features-booklet-1</a> </strong> from <strong><a href=”″ target=”_blank”>Nick Crafts</a></strong> </div>

Above – This is an electronic version of the booklet containing ALL the examples you need to know for EACH of the 4 Technical Areas to revise from and learn/apply in the exam!

Section A – Overview

Above – This provides an overview of some other theory/key terminology and media language YOU SHOULD revise along with the information below.

YOU WILL have to use these examples (where relevant) in answering a question around the representation of ONE of the following areas:

  • Gender – Conform to or challenge stereotypical views such as John Berger‘s “men act, women appear”; Representation of character roles according to Propp; The objectification of a particular gender – for example ‘Male Gaze‘ (Laura Mulvey)where a male audience “gaze” (are infatuated) by the sexualised and/or objectified appearance of the opposite sex. Diana Saco’s ‘Female Gaze’ applies to the opposite gender.

Other key areas/terminology to consider IF you get a sequence that asks you to consider the representation of Gender:

1) Misogyny = Hatred/disliking towards women – Is this reflected in terms of a religion OR ethnic group in relation to Ethnicity?

2) Misandry = Hatred/disliking towards men

  • Age (January 2013 Exam) – We will look at the exemplar provided by OCR when it is published for viewing.
  • Ethnicity – Key term: Stereotype – Are one race or group of people stereotyped and reflective of social attitudes OR do they challenge this and represent some sort of progression that reflects the current zeitgeist of equality and respect? Is there an element of racism/nationalism shown towards a person OR group people shown in the sequence? How?

1) For example Watson (2008)stated that moral panicsoften result from media stereotyping of Black people as potentially criminal.

2) Poole (2000) pre 9/11 (before), argued that Islam has always been “demonised and distorted” by the media – Is this still the case within the exam’s TV Drama – Check the date in the exam to see if it was exhibited or broadcast post-9/11 (After).

Other stereotypical representations YOU COULD discuss dependant on the sequence and examples presented are whether a certain race/group of people are dependant; are they perceived to be abnormal?; Are they invisible? – YOU COULD look at Helm’s white racial theory again for further context!

  • Sexuality – Does David Gauntlett‘s “Queer theory“ apply in the sequence, whereby the representation of homosexuality is not fixed or stereotyped in any way – for example Gay men are very effeminate; Are the male gender marginalised as animalistic or determined in appealing to the opposite sex?; Are women seen as objects of desire (See John Berger and Laura Mulvey above); Is there any representation of taboo issues such as Voyeurism from one gender towards another?

Gerbner (2002) and his ‘Cultivation theory’suggests the lack of homosexuality in television dramas suggests that it may influence passive viewers to believe that it is abnormal

Key term: Status Quo

Status Quo = 

  • People in the positions of power are – stereotypically – resistant to change in the Hegemony (the dominance of the ruling classes over the inferior working class or the ‘proletariat’ (Karl Marx).
  • “The situation that exists at a particular time”How is this conveyed to the audience in the extract?

Do the characters or group of characters conform to one of the social classes pointed out by Karl Marx?; Is there an obvious ‘sign’ that ‘signifies’ (De Saussure) some sort of binary opposition (Levi Strauss) between one or more social class in the scene and how? What Hegemonic Equilibrium (Antonio Gramsci) or order is there in the sequence and how is this reflected? Is Hierarchy and wealth celebrated OR despised within the sequence?

Newman (2006)argued that Upper (Bourgeoisie and Aristocrat) and Middle Class Men and Women often “occupy high status roles” within the TV Drama genre – YOU COULD tie this into a question on Age as well.

See Barnes (1992) for a more detailed overview of each of these stereotypical views/assumptions towards people of disability in the mass media – For example he states they are often seen to reminiscent of a “superhero” (whereby they convey these qualities to gain the respect from a non-disabled community) or “tragic villain” – See link below for more information:

  • Regional Identity (e.g London – “Cockney”; Liverpool – “Scousers”)

Instead of using terminology such as “accents” of “slang” use colloquial language and REALLY make sure you give examples associated to Sound whereby you would highlight how this is unique to the demographic represented on screen and as such help provide a “window into the World” (Wendy Helsby)of that sub-culture/region.


The link below provides a detailed and accessible look at some of the theoretical understanding behind the representation of ALL of the areas covered above – YOU MUST read this and pick out key media terminology/theory that will be applicable in deconstructing (breaking down) the sequence from the Exam.

Put it into Practice!

YOU MUST, in preparation for the exam, complete the following in order to complete some effective revision:

1) Answer Practice Questions:

January 2013 Paper

2) Deconstruct and focus on the language/structure used in Exemplar Answers:

Exemplar Answer – Section A and B

Exemplar Answer – Class

3) Analyse sequences and adapt questions to meet the main representation seen – for example produce a question that focuses on the representation of Ethnicity IF this is what’s evident in the sequence – THEN make notes on EACH viewing (Viewing 2 – 4 as you are NOT allowed to make notes for Viewing 1). Finally, YOU SHOULD produce an answer to the question making sure you DO NOT go beyond 50 minutes answering the question.

YOU SHOULD produce hand written answers as this is what you need to do in the exam and give them to Mr Crafts for marking – OR – YOU COULD give it to someone else in the class and they can mark it against the OCR exam criteria which is below:

Exemplar Sequences:


Gender – Cutting It

Gender – The Hustle

Disability – Frost


EthnicityHotel Babylon

Ethnicity – Spooks

OCR Youtube Link –

This link SHOULD take you to all of the most recent TV Drama Sequences used in the exams!

Mark Scheme – Example:

Section A Mark scheme

Key – YOU MUSTwrite more than 1 1/2 sides for your answer; YOU MUST give relevant examples to support your understanding of the theme represented; YOU MUST refer to EACH technical areas and give examples that are relevant – this should also be supported by relevant terminology in your answers!

  • For more theory/Key terms and media language to include in your analysis, See the PowerPoint ‘Section A – Overview’ at the top of the page.

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