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2019/20 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

COMM5170M Television Narrative

30 creditsClass Size: 48

Module manager: Tracey Mollett

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module develops a critical and practical understanding of television narrative. Through a series of ten one-hour lectures, the module questions what is narrative? How is narrative constructed for the medium of television? How is this approach distinctive from other mediums? How has television narrative been theorised within academia?Through a series of ten one-hour seminars, students will consider these questions and critical approaches by analysing set television texts and academic writing. They will then put these principles into practice by workshopping their own television story ideas. For assessment, students then have a choice: write a critical essay on television narrative, or write an original pilot script for their own television programme.


On completion of this module, students should be able to:

1. To introduce students to contemporary practical and critical debates about television narratives.
2. To understand the organising structures of television narratives.
3. To understand academic methods of analysing television narrative
4. To understand practical methods of creating television stories and writing television scripts.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate knowledge of a range of organising structures and practices of television narrative.
2. Demonstrate an understanding of research methods appropriate to the study of television narrative.
3a. EITHER: Apply knowledge and understanding in order to apply critical and theoretical models to the study of television narrative (essay assessment choice)
3b. OR: Apply knowledge and understanding in order to initiate, write and submit a screenplay: a pilot episode of an original television series (script assessment choice)
4. Demonstrate the ability to present work to a high professional and academic standard.

Skills outcomes
1. How to use screenwriting software (e.g. Final Draft, CeltX).


Weekly lectures may include discussions of character, dialogue, plot and structure. Weekly seminars discuss the points arising from the lecture and the set reading and viewing, and then apply the critical knowledge through practical story development exercises. Each week, students undertake both critical and creative activities, ensuring they are fully prepared for whichever assessment they choose to take.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours30.00
Private study hours250.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

Independent online learning:
3 hours of guided online television viewing (via Box of Broadcasts, iPlayer, All4 etc) per week, across ten weeks.

Private study during the teaching term includes: reading critical work on television narrative, reading television screenplays, and reading craft materials on constructing television narrative (weekly set reading); making notes on and analysing the online viewing; undertaking set creative activities to share in class the following week (e.g. moodboards, preparing pitches), and practicing using screenwriting software e.g. CeltX.

Beyond this, students will also spend time reading and researching for their assessment (essay or script), then drafting, writing and rewriting their assessment (essay or script).

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Opportunities for formative feedback:
Week 7 is dedicated to pitching. Students will be given 3 minutes to verbally pitch their script idea or their response to their chosen essay question. They will receive structured written feedback from a selection of their peers, based on the SMaC PG Marking Criteria for Creative Practice or PG Written work, dependent on their topic. The focus here will be how the student’s idea can be further developed for assessment. Each student will also receive individual verbal feedback from the tutor.

Students who appear to be failing, or are not engaging, are asked to attend an individual tutorial. Attendance is monitored formally using the standard procedure. Students may request an individual tutorial in any case, and the weekly office hours will be regularly publicised.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
AssignmentEITHER: A. 1 x 5,000 - 6,000 word Essay. OR: B. 25 - 45 page Screenplay: a pilot episode of an original television series (approx 4,500 - 8,100 words)100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Students will be encouraged to choose between writing an essay or a script by Week 7, in time for the pitching exercise. This is to ensure they receive relevant and useful feedback for development. These are 100% each. Resit information: Students can resit by writing a new essay (assessment choice A) or producing a new, original script (assessment choice B)

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 14/08/2019


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