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The Writings of Professor Robert M. Young

'The Dense Medium: Television as Technology' 50k

Between 1979 and 1983 I was deeply involved in making a series of television documentaries on the social, cultural and ideological aspects of science, technology, medicine and other sorts of expertise. The series was called 'Crucible: Science in Society'. It was a major undertaking, broadcast in the first year of Channe Four and involved the expenditure of several million pounds. I was the Chief Consultant and, at least on paper, had all sorts of control over the subject matter and treatment of issues. It was expected and promised that the series would be an ongoing rival to 'Horizon' and would run and run. At the end of the first year the plug was abruptly pulled, and there was a scandalised article about the axeing from Channel Four of this and other radical series in The Statesman. Making the documentaries was at once exhilirating and utterly demoralising, so much so that when the series was terminated I was so depressed that I went into analysis, moved into book and periodical publishing and found it very difficult to think or write anything about my experiences in television. Nor have I been willing to put myself at risk to any serious degree in TV since then. A couple of years after the series ended, Peter Chester asked me to please write something about it, and this short, heartfelt piece is the result. It appeared in a little-known educational journal, Political Papers No. 13, special issue on 'Science and Technology', 1986, pp. 3-5.


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Ian Pitchford and Robert M. Young - Last updated: 28 May, 2005 02:29 PM

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