Academic to be ‘Prime Suspect’ on new Melvyn Bragg TV series

Reader in Film and TV, Dr Deborah Jermyn, is to feature in Lord Melvyn Bragg's new South Bank Show Originals series, in an episode dedicated to British screenwriter and novelist Lynda La Plante.

Posted: 26 November 2014

image for news story Academic to be ‘Prime Suspect’ on new Melvyn Bragg TV series
Dr Deborah Jermyn, Reader in Film and TV
The new series revisits subjects previously covered in the South Bank Show and examines them again against a backdrop of contemporary culture. The original programme on Lynda La Plante aired in 1993 and focused on her successful crime writing career.

Dr Jermyn was invited on to the programme to speak about two of La Plante’s television series, Widows and Prime Suspect. She is due to discuss the importance of both television programmes leading the way in placing women in lead characters and in positions of authority.

Widows, which first aired in 1983, centred on three women who, after the murders of their armed robber husbands, decided to carry out the trio’s next planned raid themselves.

Dr Jermyn will explain how, prior to Widows, women were more usually cast in soaps and sitcoms. This show was pioneering not only for casting women as the key protagonists in crime drama, but it was also produced and written by women.

Prime Suspect was another turning point for the representation of women in crime drama, and police shows more broadly. The Emmy award winning show is a British drama about the Metropolitan Police Service. The show starred Dame Helen Mirren as Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison, one of the senior women detectives to head a murder enquiry. The show tackled issues such as sexism in the workplace. Prime Suspect ran for 15 years and was also successful in America.

Dr Jermyn was invited to contribute to the programme as the author of the volume on Prime Suspect, published by the BFI TV Classics series. She is also an expert in women in media, television and film; contemporary television drama; representations of crime on film and TV; and feminism and popular culture. At Roehampton she teaches modules including ‘Screen Women’, ‘Contemporary Hollywood Cinema’ and ‘Cult and Quality Television’.

The new South Bank Show Originals series is a TV arts magazine show that is written and presented by Lord Bragg and aims to bring art and popular culture to a wider audience.

The show featuring Dr Jermyn will be broadcasted on Sky Arts in the New Year.

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