Emerging scholarship on television in Eastern Europe needs to step away from the political antagonisms of the Cold War before being able to produce histories of the medium, rather than political stories of television. Starting from this premise, the article takes a longue duree perspective at the evolution of television in Romania during and after the communist regime. Making references to the development of television in other countries and placing Romanian television within the context of European televisual development, the article argues that it was only at certain stages in the development of the medium that television in Romania was predominantly characterized by its relations to politics, while at other stages it resembled and was much connected to television in other countries. Paraphrasing John Ellis's discussion of the different "eras" in television's development, the article demonstrates on the basis of a wide variety of sources-from audiovisual material, to oral interviews, to documents of the former communist secret services and written documents at the BBC archives-how Romanian television went through a model of evolution similar to what Ellis described for British television and explores how and why an exceptional, dictatorial era of Romanian television emerged in the 1980s. The article provides a conceptual framework for television history in a former communist regime and proposes a foundation for integrating such histories into broader European agendas of television history.
- European television
- television history