Beasts from the East: Fantasies of Eastern Europeanness in Brexit-era BBC Drama

Julia Eva Havas, Anna Mártonfi, Gábor Gergely

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article interrogates the figure of the Eastern European itinerant in contemporary prestige BBC drama to highlight the figure’s role in mobilising ideas of nationhood and foreignness in Brexit-era Britain. Our critical analyses of Dracula (BBC1, 2020), Killing Eve (BBC America, 2018-), and Call the Midwife (BBC1, 2012-) show that programming that putatively celebrates British multiculturalism and diversity configures the Eastern European foreigner as a threat to idea(l)s of Britishness, by deploying this figure in strikingly similar imaginaries of contagion, deviance, and savagery. Such treatment embeds these portrayals in discourses of white nationalism that seek to manage national belonging by articulating the limits and rules of the national community as implicitly racialized terms of culture and space.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-63
Number of pages16
JournalVIEW: Journal of European Television History and Culture
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • BBC drama
  • Killing Eve
  • Call the Midwife
  • Dracula
  • gender
  • Eastern Europe

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