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Shelly Anne Galpin

PhD by Research

Shelly Galpin


The People No-One Imagines Anything Of:' Teenage Responses to British Period Drama

My thesis brings together the study of film and television period drama and audience research, looking at how teenagers from across England respond to recent examples of British period drama. The original audience research produced a wealth of primary data, including surveys and interviews, drawn from close to 100 participants.
The main chapters consider the key themes that emerge from this data, including responses to the representation of women and minority groups in period drama; the complex ways in which audiences engage with characters and the values they represent; debates around the relationship between period drama and ‘real history’; and young people’s reactions to period dramas they perceive as more authentic or truthful.
The information gathered paints a portrait of 16-19 year olds in England in 2017/18, shedding light on their engagement with media, their consumption of historical sources and their lifestyle and attitudes more generally.



Having previously gained a BA in English and an MA in Victorian Studies, I spent several years working as a teacher of English in a Further Education college. During this time I studied for my second BA in Film and Media, and this led me to pursue a PhD in this discipline. I focus primarily on the period drama genre, and the ways in which we use contemporary representations of the past to enhance our understanding of history.
My PhD study utilises audience research methodologies, and alongside this I have also published on the subject of adaptation from literature to film, the representation of war on film, and the ways in which we conceptualise the period drama genre more generally.
Whilst studying at York I have continued my teaching work by undertaking GTA work on the Cinema:History and Analysis module.


Research Interests

My research interests focus on the period drama genre, the historical representation on film, adaptation studies and the representation of gender.

External Activity

External Activity

I was co-organiser of Across the Live / Mediatised Divide: A Cross-Disciplinary Audience Research Conference.

I have also presented the following conference papers:

‘Belle and the Subversive Potential of Period Drama’, Herstory Conference, Kings College, London, December 2019.

‘Teenage Responses to Far from the Madding Crowd (2015)’, Far from the Madding Crowd Study Day, Thomas Hardy Society, April 2019.

‘Teenage Responses to Period Drama’, SCMS, Seattle, March 2019.

‘“200 Miles Outside London”: The Enduring Landscapes of Englishness in Transnational Heritage Adaptations’, Adaptation and Nation Symposium, Queen Margaret University, June 2017.

‘Heritage Drama and Youth Audiences’, Edinburgh International Film Audiences Conferences, Queen Margaret University, March 2017.

‘Harry Potter and Beyond’, Consuming Heritage Conference, University of Leeds, September 2016.



‘‘200 Miles Outside London’: The Tourist Gaze of Far from the Madding Crowd’ in Intercultural Screen Adaptation: British and Global Case Studies, eds. Michael Stewart and Robert Munro, (Edinburgh University Press, forthcoming 2020).

‘Harry Potter and the Hidden Heritage Film: Genre Hybridity and the Power of the Past in the Harry Potter Film Cycle’, The Journal of British Cinema and Television, Vol. 13, issue 3, 2016.

‘Symbols of Nation? Women and the European War Film’, Studies in European Cinema, Vol. 11, issue 1, 2014.

‘Auteurs and Authenticity: Adapting the Brontës in the Twenty-First Century’, The Journal of British Cinema and Television, Vol. 11, issue 1, 2014.

Contact details

Shelly Anne Galpin
PhD by Research
Department of Theatre, Film, Television and Interactive Media