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"In the doc": Acting Processes in Brian Hill's docudrama, Consent

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Publication details

JournalJournal of British Cinema and Television
DateAccepted/In press - 1 Apr 2016
DateE-pub ahead of print - 30 Jun 2016
DatePublished (current) - Jul 2016
Issue number3
Number of pages17
Pages (from-to)351-367
Early online date30/06/16
Original languageEnglish


This article explores Brian Hill’s award-winning docudrama, Consent, from the point of view of the actor. Consideration of actors’ processes has remained conspicuously absent in analyses of docudrama or documentary television. To redress this balance, this article is based on new interview material with Anna Madeley, one of the two leading actors in the piece. A complex blend of fact and fiction, Consent follows a fictional rape trial from the rape itself, the reporting of the attack with the police, the victim’s visit to a doctor, and through to the court case, the jury’s deliberations, and the judge’s verdict. Actors Anna Madeley and Daniel Mays played the victim and perpetrator, but all of the professionals with whom they came into contact – the police, medical professionals, lawyers, judge, court staff and jury members – were played by real people in their professional capacity. To facilitate a consideration of the actor’s perspective, Anna Madeley’s acting processes are explored in detail, with particular focus on her use of memory and recollection, and on her experience of improvisation and the question of agency that the project prompts. This approach demonstrates the value of placing actors’ experiences at the heart of research into television performance, as well as raising searching questions about the way that we understand and codify performance in docudrama.

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    Research areas

  • Docudrama, Acting Processes, Improvisation, Television Documentary, Anna Madeley, Brian Hill, Emotion Memory, Television Acting

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