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Swashbucklers is the first study of one of the most popular and enduring genres in television history - the costume adventure series. James Chapman explores the history of swashbuckling television from its origins in the 1950s to the present day. He maps the major production cycles of the Anglophone swashbuckler both in Britain and in the United States and places the genre in its historical, cultural and institutional contexts. He shows how the success of The Adventures of Robin Hood in the 1950s established a template for a genre that has been one of the most successful of British television exports. And he considers how America responded to this 'British invasion' with its own swashbuckling heroes such as Zorro. Chapman also analyses the cultural politics of the swashbuckler, considering how it has been a vehicle for the representation of ideologies of class, gender and nationhood. While some swashbucklers have promoted consensual politics, others such as Dick Turpin and Robin of Sherwood have presented us with heroes on the margins of society who challenge its inequities and injustices. The relationship of the televisions swashbuckler to the founding myths of the genre is discussed, along with how the genre has responded to the changing cultural and ideological contexts in which it is produced. What emerges is a picture of a genre that has proved remarkably flexible in adapting its form and style to match the popular tastes of audiences. Swashbucklers is intended for students and teachers of popular television drama as well as for adventure-lovers everywhere.

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