Skip to main content

Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

Turn Up the Contrast

CBC Television Drama since 1952

From Shakespeare to cop shows, sitcoms to docudramas, for over three decades the CBC has presented viewers with every variety of television drama and has become Canada’s closest equivalent to a national theatre. Turn Up the Contrast is the first book to explore the content of Canadian television drama and is both a critical analysis and a survey history of how Canadians have used the medium to tell themselves their own stories.

As a part of her research, Mary Jane Miller watched thousands of hours of television, sampling series and viewing in their entirety shorter programs such as movies and mini-series. Asking a variety of questions, she selected a number of programs for detailed analysis, and devotees of The Beachcombers, King of Kensington, Seeing Things, Cariboo Country, Wojeck or A Gift to Last will be pleased to find their favourites among those discussed at length.

A University of British Columbia Press / CBC Enterprises Co-Publication.

434 pages

Table of Contents



I. Introduction

1. The Flowering of CBC Drama

II. Genres

2. Copshows and Mysteries: "Check your guns at the border"

3. Family Adventure: "In every box, a prize!"

4. Sitcoms and Domestic Comedy: "But it's too cold to be a melting pot, mama!"

5. Other Series and Miniseries: "The best of tries and the worst of tries!"

III. The CBC (Proudly) Presents

6. Anthology to 1968: "Window on the world as the world looks in"

7. Anthology: 1968 to the present: "The focus narrows"

8. Docudrama: "To be seen is to seed"

IV. The Peripheral Is Central

9. Experimental: "The Seedbed"

10. Regional or "What Toronto doesn't know"

V. Conclusions

11. Wrapup: The View from Within -- Interviews with John Kennedy

12. The Harvest: The View from Outside


A. Chronology of Series and Anthologies

B. Where to Find Material and a Cautionary Note

C. A Checklist of Programmes



Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press