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Volume 6, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1759-7137
  • E-ISSN: 1759-7145



Discussion of Jimmy McGovern’s screenwriting tends to focus on the dimensions of politics, class, gender and religion in his work. While none of these concepts should be divorced from a discussion of ethics, what is missing is analysis of McGovern’s writing that ventures to consider it a kind of ‘ethical philosophy’ in its own right. While McGovern has a lot to say about religion and morality, I want to suggest that McGovern is more than a critic of religion, and that his work can be seen in relation to secular ethics. This research proposes an ethical analysis of McGovern’s screenwriting. It suggests that through actions and situations the narrative engages in ethical ‘work’. I explore McGovern’s work in terms of some key ethical concepts such as how we treat others, form judgements, how we balance loyalties and roles and the interrelationship between deception and decency. The focus is on scenes or episodes from the series Cracker (ITV, 1993–2007), Hearts and Minds (Channel 4, 1995) and Accused (BBC, 2010–2012).


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): ethics; Jimmy McGovern; morality; narrative; screenwriting; social realism
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