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The Writer in Television History
A ScreenLit Sub-Project
  • The Writer in Australian Television History : The Crawfords Archive

    About the Project

    The Writer in Australian Television History collection is a research outcome of Dr Catriona Mills's 2012 AFI Research Collection (AFIRC) Research Fellowship.

    The project is a collection of AustLit records based on the content of the Crawford Collection at the AFI Research Collection (AFIRC) at RMIT. A subset of the AFIRC’s main collection, the Crawford Collection contains scripts and ancillary material relating to Australian radio and television production company Crawford Productions, from the radio serials of the 1940s and 1950s to the demolition of the Box Hill studios in 2006. The Writer in Australian Television History is a collection of records for 318 episodes of Crawfords’ radio dramas and television series, spanning the period from 1953 to 1977.

  • Introduction to the Content

    The research collects material on Crawfords’ crime and espionage programs, starting with the true-crime radio serial The Crime Club, which aired in 1953 and 1954 on Melbourne radio station 3DB. The main focus, however, is the crime dramas through which Crawfords dominated early Australian television. The dataset includes records of 318 scripts for episodes of the following eight programs: The Crime Club (1953-1954), Homicide (1964-1977), Hunter (1967-1969), Division 4 (1969-1975), Matlock Police (1970-1975), Ryan (1973-1974), Solo One (1976), and Bluey (1976-1977).

    The programs were chosen to reflect Crawfords' dominance in the genre of crime dramas: the scripts themselves represent the entirety of the Crawford Collection's holdings for these programs.

    In some cases (Solo One, Ryan, and Bluey), the records cover the whole or the majority of the series.

    In others (Homicide and Division 4), the records are a sampling of a much longer-running program.

  • Using the Data

    The content of The Writer in Australian Television History can be accessed through a number of searches, from broad to targeted.

    For the broadest search, this link will take you a page showing all of the individual records that have been entered into AustLit as part of this project. This search has been set up to default to the works, but from this page, you can manipulate the search results to show a number of different facets of the content.

    The three tabs along the top of the results allow you to filter by ‘All’, ‘Works’, and ‘People/Organisations’. By clicking ‘People/Organisations’, for example, you can see a list of the script-writers whose work is the focus of this project. ‘By clicking ‘Works’, you can see a list of the scripts themselves.

    The tabs in the right-hand column allow you to filter the results in the following ways:

    By clicking ‘Topic’, you can narrow the results by the work’s subject: for example, the eighteen scripts that have the subject-concept ‘Sex workers’.

    By clicking ‘Form’, you can narrow the results to either television or radio.

    By clicking ‘Author of Work’, you can narrow the results by specific authors: for example, the twenty scripts written or co-written by Terry Stapleton.

    By clicking ‘Year’, you can narrow the results by the year of publication: for example, the thirty-three scripts for episodes broadcast in 1974.

    By clicking ‘Genre’, you can narrow the results by genre: for example, the single episode of Homicide written as a comedy episode.

    By clicking ‘Type’, you can see which results are single works and which are publisher series.

    Any search can be manipulated in this fashion from the results page. But you can also narrow the results from the main search page.

    To demonstrate how focused the searches of this content can be, clicking on this link will take you to the AustLit search page, where a specific search has already been set up: this searches for works in the Writer in Early Australian Television dataset where the episode was broadcast in 1974, was written by a male script-writer, and where the subject is ‘Murder & manslaughter.’

    Click ‘Search’ to see how many scripts meet those specific criteria.

    From this main search page, using the above search parameters as a template, you can search The Writer in Australian Television History dataset as broadly or as narrowly as you like.

  • Acknowledgements

    The archival research for this project was funded by the 2012 AFI Research Collection (AFIRC) Research Fellowship. I am particularly grateful to all the assistance offered by the archivists at the AFI Research Collection.

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