Exploring British Film and Television Stardom

While British cinema and television history are thriving fields of scholarship, the issue of stardom has been insufficiently explored in national terms, and most British star images suggest that the dominant Hollywood model, associated with individualism, glamour, and consumption, sits uneasily in a British cultural context.

A decade after groundbreaking work by Geoffrey Macnab, in Searching for Stars: Stardom and Acting in British Cinema, and Bruce Babington’s British Stars and Stardom: From Alma Taylor to Sean Connery, there are new directions in star studies to consider, including performance, fandom and transnational stardom. Has film stardom now been usurped by celebrity, calling into question Christine Gledhill’s assertion that cinema “still provides the ultimate confirmation of stardom”? Meanwhile, television in this period has been marked by the phenomenon of a wave of British stars, including Hugh Laurie, Dominic West, Idris Elba and Damien Lewis, who have been reimagined in American long-form drama, and by the recent international success of Downton Abbey.

Exploring British Film and Television Stardom will readdress this subject, with papers from leading scholars in the field of British Cinema.

Keynote addresses from Andrew Spicer and Melanie Bell will consider the images and careers of Sean Connery and Julie Christie. Other topics to be covered will include British stars in Hollywood and contemporary American television, animated stardom, adaptation, performance, and a range of star identities from Anna Neagle to Danny Dyer.

Exploring British Film and Television Stardom is organised by Adrian Garvey (a.garvey@qmul.ac.uk) and Julie Lobalzo Wright (julielwright1@gmail.com) and supported by Living British Cinema and the QMUL Postgrad Fund.

For more information and to register for the event, please visit exploringbritishstardom.wordpress.com.

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