Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Appears in Collections:Communications, Media and Culture Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Drama as Science Documentary: The Ethics of Making and 'Banning' The Black Pool
Author(s): Rolinson, David
Contact Email:
Issue Date: 2017
Citation: Rolinson D (2017) Drama as Science Documentary: The Ethics of Making and 'Banning' The Black Pool, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, 37 (1), pp. 96-112.
Abstract: This article explores ‘The Black Pool’, a docudrama which was made for the BBC’s science documentary series Horizon (BBC2, 1964-present) but never transmitted. Aiming to provide a case history of paranoid schizophrenia, Horizon commissioned Alan Plater to dramatise an ‘autobiographical document’ by a doctor who murdered three children in 1972. Its makers debated the most appropriate form and style, raising issues which are relevant to current documentary scholarship in ethics and affect. Similar issues were raised by BBC executives who decided not to broadcast the completed programme. This period produced several programmes which were banned, delayed or not completed, but ‘The Black Pool’ and the circumstances behind it are not well-known. This article draws from a range of sources, including a new interview with director Simon Campbell-Jones, previously-unseen archival documents and a viewing of the untransmitted programme, not merely to uncover a ‘banning’ but to reflect on ethical and affective questions in current scholarship and to address the nature of science documentary and science docudrama. The article contributes to studies of ‘forgotten drama’ both in terms of this unseen and largely undiscussed programme and in terms of a neglected, specialised culture of drama in documentary strands in general and science documentary strands in particular.
DOI Link:
Rights: This item has been embargoed for a period. During the embargo please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television on 19 Apr 2017, available online:

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Drama as science documentary.pdf618.96 kBAdobe PDFView/Open

This item is protected by original copyright

Items in the Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.

If you believe that any material held in STORRE infringes copyright, please contact providing details and we will remove the Work from public display in STORRE and investigate your claim.