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Raking over the Asylum: the television drama of Donna Franceschild


Jonathan Murray

Edinburgh College of Art, GB
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Donna Franceschild was possibly the most prolific writer for television working with Scottish subject matter and from a Scottish base during the 1990s and early 2000s. After her 1991 The Play on One debut, And the Cow Jumped Over the Moon, she had a further four series – Takin’ Over the Asylum (1994), A Mug’s Game (1996), Eureka Street (1999), The Key (2003) – and one feature-length television film, Donovan Quick (2000), successfully produced for network broadcast. Yet despite this sustained period of prolific screen production, its notable contemporaneous critical success (BAFTA Scotland, BAFTA and Royal Television Society awards were won for the works listed above), and her ongoing activity as a stage and radio dramatist, Franceschild to date remains a conspicuous absence from the critical literature on Scottish screen cultures and histories. The aim of this article is to present an overview of some of the central themes and creative methods in Franceschild’s screen work, focusing focussing upon its extended exploration of Scottish feminine identities and experiences, its recurrent interest in non-normative modes of perception and behaviour, and its attempt to develop a radical political address within popular televisual drama formats.

How to Cite: Murray, J., 2018. Raking over the Asylum: the television drama of Donna Franceschild. International Journal of Scottish Theatre and Screen, 11(1), pp.119–144.
Published on 10 May 2018.
Peer Reviewed


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