Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Media and Society in Twentieth Century Britain
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Due to Covid-19 students should refer to the module Blackboard pages for assessment details

Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 2,500 word essay  50%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   2 hour exam  50%
Supplementary Assessment 2,500 word essay  50%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   2 hour exam  50%

Learning Outcomes

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

Demonstrate an understanding of the historiographical debates relating to the role and function of the mass media in twentieth century British history.

Demonstrate an understanding of the development of the mass media in twentieth century British history.

Identify and evaluate a wide range of relevant primary and secondary material.

Demonstrate an ability to analyse and deploy relevant historical evidence to produce appropriate arguments.


This module offers students an exploration of the role and function of the mass media in twentieth-century Britain, set within a wider exploration of key themes and events in modern British history. It complements the department’s wider offerings in the field of modern and contemporary history, as well as linking to wider departmental research interests in this relatively new field of historical enquiry.

Brief description

This module introduces students to the history of the mass media (the newspaper press, cinema and broadcasting) in twentieth-century Britain, and to a range of issues and debates relating both to the mass media themselves and the social, cultural and political histories of Britain which they form a part. Over the course of the module, through a series of broadly chronological lectures and topic-based seminars, students will be learning about the structural development of the media over the course of the century and the impact of both technology (i.e., changing means of media production and distribution) and competition (i.e., other media) on their character and role. They will consider the relationship between media and audience and the importance of the media as providers of information, education and entertainment to the British people. They will also assess the influence of the mass media on twentieth-century British social and cultural values; the function of the mass media in projecting images of national identity and national unity; and the complex interrelation between politics, the media and the electorate.


1. Introduction: history and the media
2. Birth of the ‘mass media’, c.1896-1914
3. The British media and the first world war
4. Rise of the popular press, c.1918-39
5. BBC: private company to public corporation, 1922-39
6. Cinema and society, c.1918-39
7. Media and politics in inter-war Britain
8. Media and nation in inter-war Britain
9. Media and the second world war: propaganda, censorship and morale
10. Media and the second world war: entertaining the nation
11. The television age: the BBC and ITV
12. Suez and after: media and politics in 1950s/60s Britain
13. Media and the ‘permissive society’
14. ‘The world in one’s living room’
15. An ‘enemy within’? Broadcasting and government, c.1970-90
16. The newspaper industry and the ‘Wapping revolution’
17. The British media and deregulation in the 1990s
18. Towards the 21st century: Britain and the ‘new media’

1. Introduction: history and media history in 20th century Britain
2. Media and news values (rise of the popular press 1900s)
3. Media and escapism (cinema and society in the 1930s)
4. Media and nation (WW2)
5. Media and morality (the 1960s and the ‘permissive society’)
6. Media and power (1980s and overview)

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number NA
Communication Written communication skills will be developed through the coursework and written examination; skills in oral presentation will be developed in seminars but are not formally assessed.
Improving own Learning and Performance Students will be advised on how to improve research and communication skills through the individual tutorial providing feedback on submitted coursework.
Information Technology Students will be encouraged to locate suitable material on the web and to apply it appropriately to their own work. Students will also be expected to word-process their work and make use of Blackboard. These skills will not be formally assessed.
Personal Development and Career planning Students will develop a range of transferable skills, including time management and communication skills, which may help them identify their personal strengths as they consider potential career paths
Problem solving Students are expected to note and respond to historical problems which arise as part of the study of this subject area and to undertake suitable research for seminars and essays.
Research skills Students will develop their research skills by reading a range of texts and evaluating their usefulness in preparation for the coursework and the written examination
Subject Specific Skills Students will develop knowledge of sources and historical literature relating to the history, role and function of the mass media in twentieth century British life.
Team work Students will be expected to play an active part in group activities (e.g. short group presentations in seminars) and to learn to evaluate their own contribution to such activities.


This module is at CQFW Level 5