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Abstract

Because drama is so important to the television schedules, and because television remains a ubiquitous and pervasive medium, TV drama is a constant cultural presence. Some of its stories are about politics, featuring the work of government, the contestation of elections, party rivalry and negotiation, and so on, with a cast of characters including leaders, advisors, journalists, celebrities and citizens: they echo, refract, replay, model and feed into narratives about real-world politics in a variety of ways. Dramatic stories of this kind are important for the sake of their potential contribution to what citizens believe - and feel - about politics itself. Dramatised political stories and characters appear in a wide range of genres, from factually based docudramas to situation comedy and soap opera, and have become the focus of international academic attention for a number of scholars in politics departments as well as those working from within media and cultural studies. This article looks at a range of approaches to studying political drama on television, raising questions about generic variety, the ideas and the kinds of analysis that have been applied and the varying assessments that have been put forward.