A journey through memory : audience respone to reeling in the years
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BA (Hons) in Film, Literature and Drama
Dublin Business School
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This Final Year Project sets out to explore why Reeling in the Years, one of RTÉ’s most successful archive programmes, is such a popular programme. As it is an archive programme, the project aims to uncover how Reeling in the Years connects people to past events, using a combination of responses to an online questionnaire, collective viewing, observation and discussion of the case study selected: Reeling in the Years 1981. Following on from the introduction which explains the motivation for the study, the literature review begins with an examination of television theory and how audiences engage with and derive meaning and/or pleasure from watching television. It continues with a brief investigation into current academic methodologies for studying audiences before delving into the specific areas of individual and collective memories and how television programmes such as Reeling in the Years use memory and nostalgia to fulfill gratification needs of their viewers. Chapter three accounts for the methodology behind the research project, drawing on antecedent empirical studies highlighted in the literature review in order to make a case for the direction the researcher undertook to achieve the research objective. An analysis of the questionnaire and the interview sessions undertaken by five groups of individuals is studied in the following chapter, drawing the conclusion that Reeling in the Years reflects individual and collective memories and constructs collective memories. It will also confirm that there is little distinction between events as they are shown on screen and the respondents’ recollections of those events and also verify that although individuals actively engaged with the programme, they were not nostalgic for 1981. The final chapter provides a succinct summarisation of the overall project before re-establishing the conclusions drawn from the preceding analysis. Remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were. Marcel Proust