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Film, theatre and television: Citing references

A guide to finding information in film, theatre and television. Includes links to key resources and sources of help.

General guidance

References in a thesisWhenever you refer to another person's work in your own essay, dissertation or article you must acknowledge them and give full details of your source. You risk being accused of plagiarism if you fail to do so.

For detailed information regarding the department's preferred format, consult the style sheet for referencing and citations in the Programme Handbook, available on Blackboard.

For help with citing specific types of publication contact your librarian (details below).

For general information on referencing, including an explanation of different citation systems, and guidance on citing specific types of publication, see our Citing references guide.

For advice on using references in your work, and how to use them to support your arguments, consult the guidance on the Study Advice website or make an appointment with them.

MHRA referencing for Film, Theatre and Television

Film, Theatre and Television prefers the Author-Date version of MHRA referencing.

In-text citations are brief (including author, date and page number where appropriate) and placed in brackets in the body of the text NOT in footnotes. Full details (including editions and translation details if appropriate) are listed in the Bibliography, alphabetically by author / editor's surname. 


In-text: (Author surname Year: page)

In bibliography: Author Surname, Author Firstname. Year. Title of book (Place of publication: Publisher)


In Text: (Nieland 2012: 38)
In Bibliography: Nieland, Justus. 2012. David Lynch (Urbana: University of Illinois Press)

Journal article:

In-text: (Author surname Year: page)

In bibliography: Author Surname, Author Firstname. Year. 'Title of article', Title of journal, Volume: page-page


In-text: (Rushing 2008: 162)
In Bibliography: Rushing, Robert A. 2008. 'Gentlemen prefer Hercules: desire, identification, beefcake', Camera Obscura, 69: 158-191 

Chapter in edited collection:

In-text: (Author surname Year: page)

In bibliography: Chapter Author Surname, Chapter Author Firstname. Year. 'Title of chapter', in Title of book, ed. by Editor Name Editor Surname (Place of publication: Publisher), pp. page-page


In-text: (Hark 1992: 158)
In bibliography: Hark, Ina Rae. 1992. 'Animals or Romans: Looking at masculinity in Spartacus', in Screening the Male: Exploring Masculinities in Hollywood Cinema, ed. by Steven Cohan and Ina Rae Hark (London: Routledge), pp. 151-172.


In-text: (Author surname Year)

In bibliography: Author surname, Author firstname. (Year) Title of website or webpage, <url> [accessed Date Month Year].


In-text: (Beard 2011)
In Bibliography: Beard, Mary. 2011. The Fall of the Roman Republic, <> [accessed 20 June 2012].

Multiple works by the same author in your Bibliography?
If you have more than one work by the same author, in the bibliography put the works in date order and after the first work replace the author / editor's name with 2-em dashes, eg:

Stafford, Roy. 2007. Understanding audiences and the film industry (London: British Film Institute)
—— 2014The global film book (Abingdon: Routledge)



Films should be listed separately to other references in a Filmography.

You'll probably be mentioning the name / title of the film in the text of your sentence, and in this circumstance just put the year in brackets;

In-text: (Year)

In bibliography: Title of the film, dir. by Director's name (Distributor*, Year).
*it's not always necessary to include this


In-text: Title of film in sentence (1940)
In bibliography: The Grapes of Wrath, dir. by John Ford (20th Century Fox, 1940).

Television programme:

Television programmes should be listed seperately to other references in a teleography

In-text: Programme title (Channel, Year-Year)
​In telography: 'Episode title', Programme title, Channel, Date Month Year.

On the first mention of the programme, supply in brackets the channel/network and year span of original/first airing, eg.: 
My Mad Fat Diary (E4, 2013-); Friends (NBC, 1994-2004)
Where episode titles or song titles are mentioned, use single quotation marks, eg.:
‘The One with the Embryos’; ‘You Can’t Stop the Beat’
On their first mention, episode titles should be followed by the season and episode number, e.g.: 
‘The One with the Embryos’ (4.12)



In-text: 'A study in pink', Sherlock (BBC 1, 2010-) 
In telography:  'A study in pink', Sherlock, BBC 1, 25 July 2010.


These should be listed separately to other references in a performance list.

In-text:(Author surname Year)

In bibliography: Author surname, Author firstname, Play title, Place of publication: Publisher, Year of publication of the edition used. First performance: company name, directed by Director firstname Director surname, at Venue, Date Month Year. (see the front of the printed copy for this information).


In-text:(Churchill 1979)
In bibliography: Churchill, Caryl, Cloud Nine, London: Methuen, 1979. First performance: Joint Stock Theatre Group, directed by Max Stafford-Clark, at Darlington College of Arts, 14 February 1979.

Top tip! If you are unsure of performance dates and details, try using Theatre Record to look up the play / playwright - it's an online journal that records theatre performances with review articles.


Other material types (films, music etc):

If you're citing audiovisual material (films, tweets, podcasts etc), the Learning on Screen guidance on Audiovisual Citation is essential reading. This guide will show you the key information to include in your reference, but please be aware that the examples do not correspond directly to the MHRA referencing style, so you may need to rearrange the part of the reference. For more help using the guide, please contact your Academic Liason librarian Natalie Guest

For more information (but always check your course handbook first):

Chapter 11, section 4 (for the Author-Date system), MHRA style guide (Modern Humanities Research Association) 

Get help from your librarian

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Natalie Guest
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Get my help with finding relevant books and articles for your research, help with accessing library materials and collections, referencing and reference management software.

Email me with your question or book an appointment

0118 3783415


EndNote logoWhen you do your dissertation you could consider using EndNote to manage your references. This bibliographic management package can be used to store references, and then insert the citation in your Word document, automatically building the bibliography for you in the correct style.

Find out more on our EndNote webpages:

For information on other options for electronic management of your references see our guide to Managing references: