Douglas McNaughton is a historian and theorist of broadcast media.
His research covers the political economy of television production and representations of space and place in British screen cultures.
This includes a range of interests in the spaces used for television production and their effects and interplay with narrative place and the development of the televisual form.
Douglas McNaughton's PhD thesis Uses of Space: British Television Drama from Studio to Location, 1955-1982 (2013) connects material spaces of television production with dramatic sites and onscreen narrative and aesthetics. Its analysis of the impact of the actors’ union Equity on British television redraws critical paradigms of duopoly-era television production and reshapes the historiography of British television drama. Combining theoretical work and empirical research, his work incorporates archival research alongside an ethnographic approach, interviewing television practitioners including producers, directors, editors and writers within a theoretical framework derived from the sociology of space.
Dr. McNaughton's earlier experience in academic publishing gave him experience of budgeting, copywriting, and media management. Highlights included media appearances (e.g. BBC Reporting Scotland and the Scottish press) and organising an economic debate at Downing Street. He oversaw many book launches and events in a diverse range of formats and settings including the launch of Alexander McCall Smith’s now world-famous Number One Ladies’ Detective Agency series. McNaughton's event management experience was invaluable when organising Queen Margaret University’s Becoming Scotland: Screen Cultures in a Small Nation conference in August 2014 and the Book Cultures, Book Events conference at Stirling University in 2012. He was project manager for the award-winning Edinburgh Unesco City of Literature’s Great Scott campaign, producing a book and exhibition in Edinburgh’s Waverley Station in autumn 2014 to mark the 200th anniversary of Sir Walter Scott’s novel Waverley.
Dr. McNaughton’s research interests include the political economy of television production and representations of space and place in British screen cultures. His research focuses on the ‘developmental model’ of television drama, interrogating critical paradigms around the evolution of British television production and aesthetics. His interests include telefantasy, world cinema, screen technologies and the sociology of space.
Space is important in this research because critical orthodoxies suggest that British television negotiated a transition from ‘theatrical’ to ‘cinematic’ drama in this period, characterised by the move from studio to location, from videotape to film, and from multi-camera to single-camera. The research further explores the interplay of the poetics of space and place: how screen cultures used the resources of production space to construct narrative place.
Dr. McNaughton's work addresses research questions such as: how do production space and narrative place intersect? How does production space affect conventions of television narrative and aesthetics? Is the move from studio to location necessarily ‘cinematic’? Proceeding from the position that textual analysis alone is insufficient to explain television aesthetics, the research adopts a multi-methodological approach, combining primary research in the form of original practitioner testimony and archival materials with textual analysis of case studies in order to develop a poetics of television. It uses an innovative theoretical framework derived from the sociology of place to understand the interplay of space and place on screen.
In addition, Dr. McNaughton is currently External Examiner for the theory element of the Television Production BA Honours at the University of Westminster.
Teaching screen cultures inevitably involves consideration of creativity. In order to encourage and test critical engagement with screen cultures I often ask students to devise a proposal based on the particular screen form under discussion. This may involve storyboarding a proposed example, allowing students to express themselves more conceptually and visually than traditional literature-based seminar work, or the ‘two-minute pitch’, where students propose a format, script or other media idea to a putative producer or funder. This allows students to demonstrate their understanding of the form, ability to translate that understanding into a creative format, and practise their presentation and interview skills in a supportive environment.
Encouraging students to connect their own cultural interests with relevant theoretical frameworks also allows students to demonstrate their cultural capital in ways that are personally empowering and potentially offer academic originality.
McNaughton, Douglas (2014) Video Film Recording: A New Production Paradigm For 1960s BBC Drama Historical Journal of Film Radio and Television, 34 (3). pp. 390-404. ISSN 0143-9685
McNaughton, Douglas (2014) Nature, Culture, Space: The Melodramatic Topographies of Lark Rise to Candleford In: Stewart, M., ed. Melodrama in Contemporary Film and Television. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, UK, pp. 42-60. ISBN 9781137319845
McNaughton, Douglas (2014) ‘Constipated, studio-bound, wall-confined, rigid’: British Actors’ Equity and BBC Television Drama, 1948-1972 Journal of British Cinema and Television, 11 (1). pp. 1-22. ISSN 1743-4521
McNaughton, D. 2017. ‘“A Tourist In Your Own Youth”: Spatialised Nostalgia in T2: Trainspotting.’ Nostalgia in Art, Media and Popular Culture. University of Brighton. 28 April 2017
McNaughton, D. 2017. ‘“A Tourist In Your Own Youth”: Spatialised Nostalgia in T2: Trainspotting.’ Adaptation and Nation: Screen Cultures in national, post-national and transnational contexts conference. Queen Margaret University Edinburgh. 22 June 2017
McNaughton, D. 2017. ‘Folk Horror Forests in British Television Drama.’ Beasts of the Forest conference. St Mary's University, Twickenham. 1 July 2017
McNaughton, Douglas and Llinares, Dario (March 2017) Introduction and screening of Victim (1961), Electric Palace Hastings; Cinematologists podcast (http://www.cinematologists.com/podcastarchive/2017/3/21/episode-41-victim-with-writer-david-blakeslee).
Cult Culture: From the Wicker Man to Twin Peaks, from Rocky Horror to Mamma Mia!. Brighton Fringe event. 31 May 2017.
Open lecture: British Folk Horror Television: ‘The Pattern Under the Plough’. University of Brighton, November 30
McNaughton, D. 2016. Cold War Spaces: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy in Television and Cinema. Paper presented at Spies on British Screens, University of Plymouth, June 17-19
McNaughton, D. 2016. ‘Visible’ and ‘invisible’ performance: framing performance in 1970s television drama production. Paper presented at: Production Studies: Film, Television and their Industrial Contexts, De Montfort University, June 15
McNaughton, D. 2016. Cold War Spaces: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy in Television and Cinema. Paper presented at Space, Place, Identities Onscreen, University of Brighton, May 20
Introducing classic films for non-academic audiences as part of Vintage Sundays strand at Duke of York’s Cinema, Brighton.
Guerrier, S., O'Brien, S., and Morris, B. 2016. Whographica: An Infographic Guide to Space and Time. London: BBC Books
McNaughton, D. 2015. Cold War Spaces: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy in Television and Cinema. Paper presented at Spying on Spies: Popular Representations of Spies and Espionage, University of Warwick, The Shard, September 3-5
McNaughton, D. 2015. “Def-i-nitely back”: the rise and fall, and rise and fall, of Charles Endell Esquire (ITV/STV, 1979). Paper presented at Television Drama: the Forgotten, the Lost and the Neglected, Royal Holloway University of London, April 22-24
Television's Heritage Topographies: Space and Place in Lark Rise to Candleford (BBC 2008- 2011). Paper presented at Heritage in the 21st Century symposium, University of Brighton, February 7
Exhibition: Great Scott!: A Celebration of 200 Years of Walter Scott’s Waverley. Waverley Station, Edinburgh, October 2014.
Becoming Scotland: Screen Cultures in a Small Nation (2014), Queen Margaret University Edinburgh, August 28-29 (co-organiser)
McNaughton, D. 2015. Television's Heritage Topographies: Space and Place in Lark Rise to Candleford (BBC 2008- 2011). Paper presented at Heritage in the 21st Centurysymposium, University of Brighton, February 7
McNaughton, D. 2014. “Def-i-nitely back’: the rise and fall, and rise and fall, ofCharles Endell Esq (STV 1979), Paper presented at The History of Forgotten Television Drama in the UK symposium, University of Ulster at Belfast, February 20-21
McNaughton, D. 2013. “How to produce by a false thing the effects of a true’: Televisual Representations of Thomas Hardy’s Wessex. Paper presented at Spaces of Television, University of Reading, September 18-20
Book Cultures, Book Events: The transnational culture, commerce, and social impact of literary festivals (2012). University of Stirling, 23-24 March.
McNaughton, D. 2012. ‘Constipated, studio-bound, wall-confined, rigid’: British Actors’ Equity and BBC Television Drama, 1948-1972. Paper presented at Playing the Small Screen, University of York, July 6
McNaughton, D. 2012. ‘Constipated, studio-bound, wall-confined, rigid’: British Actors’ Equity and BBC Television Drama, 1948-1972. Paper presented atPerformance and Television Space, University of Glamorgan, April 20 (published by JBCTV 2014)
McNaughton, D. 2011. Regenerations of a Brand: Doctor Who as Baudrillardian simulation. Paper presented at Television Narratives Symposium, University of York, May 28
McNaughton, D. 2011. Imperial Spaces: I, Claudius and Constructing The Eternal City at White City. Paper presented at The Politics of Television Space Symposium, Leicester, April 8
McNaughton, D. 2010. Regeneration of a Brand: The Fan Audience and the 2005Doctor Who Revival. In: Hansen, C. ed. Ruminations, Peregrinations and Regenerations: A Critical Approach to Doctor Who. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
McNaughton, D. 2010. Gender, Space and Nature inLark Rise to Candleford. Presented at Melodrama in Contemporary Film and Television Symposium, Edinburgh, October 29. (published by Palgrave in 2014)
McNaughton, D. 2010. Imperial Spaces: I, Claudius and Constructing The Eternal City at White City. Paper presented atMeCCSA-PGN conference, Glasgow, June 31 – July 1
McNaughton, D. 2009. Lost in Adaptation: Lost in Austen as transdiscursive text. Paper presented at 4th Annual Association for Adaptation Studies conference, London, September 24-25.