Dr James Walters BA (Kent), MA, PhD (Warwick)

Photograph of Dr James Walters

Department of Film and Creative Writing
Reader in Film and Television Studies

Contact details

University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I research and teach film and television aesthetics. My work involves close reading and, particularly, I am interested in the relationship between this critical practice and questions of value and achievement.




I completed my PhD at Warwick University before spending a year as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Westminster. I joined the University of Birmingham in 2007 and was Head of American and Canadian Studies before becoming Founding Head of Film and Creative Writing in 2014.


At Birmingham, I have taught classes on film performance, Hollywood cinema, fantasy film, filmmaking practices, documentary, and television aesthetics. 

Postgraduate supervision

I welcome postgraduate applications in the areas of film and television studies.

Find out more - our PhD Film Studies  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


My work is divided between film and television studies. I have written two monographs on aspects of screen fantasy, Alternative Worlds in Hollywood Cinema and Fantasy Film, and a third monograph on the television series The Thick of It. I have co-edited the international collection Film Moments with Tom Brown and Television Performance with Lucy Fife Donaldson.

Other activities

I have acted as external examiner for courses at King’s College London, University of Bedfordshire and Bath Spa University. I have delivered keynote addresses at University of Lisbon, King’s College London and University of St Andrews.



  • Television Performance (co-edited with Lucy Fife Donaldson), Palgrave, 2019
  • The Thick of It, British Film Institute/Palgrave, 2016
  • Film Moments: Criticism, History, Theory (Chinese edition), Beijing World Publishing Corporation, 2015
  • Fantasy Film: A Critical Introduction, Berg/Bloomsbury, 2011
  • Film Moments: Criticism, History, Theory (co-edited with Tom Brown), British Film Institute/Palgrave, 2010
  • Alternative Worlds in Hollywood Cinema, Intellect/ Chicago University Press, 2008


  • The Enduring Act: Performance and Achievement in Serial Television, Lucy Fife Donaldson and James Walters (eds.) Television Performance, Palgrave, 2019
  • Perpetual Motion Pictures: Sisyphean Burden and the Global Screen Franchise, Rob Stone et al (eds.) The Routledge Companion to World Cinema, Routledge, 2017
  • Film Analysis, Fabienne Darling-Wolf (ed.) The International Encyclopaedia of Media Studies vol. 7, Wiley-Blackwell, 2014
  • Better or Differently: Style and Repetition in The Trip, Jason Jacobs and Steven Peacock (eds.) Television Aesthetics and Style Bloomsbury/Continuum, 2013
  • Ambiguity and Achievement: Alec Guinness’ Ealing Performances, Melanie Williams et al (eds.) Ealing Revisited Palgrave Macmillan, 2012
  • Sense and Sensibilities: The Value of Coherence in the Contemporary Twist Film, Laura Hubner (ed.) Valuing Films Palgrave Macmillan, 2011
  • Style and Sincerity in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill vol. 2, Tom Brown and James Walters (eds.) Film Moments British Film Institute, 2010
  • The Bigger Picture: Preschool Television in its Critical and Aesthetic Contexts (co-authored), Jeanette Steemers Creating Preschool Television Palgrave Macmillan, 2010
  • When People Run in Circles: Structures of Time and Memory in Donnie Darko, Christina Lee (ed.) Violating Time: History, Memory and Nostalgia in Cinema Continuum, 2008
  • Repeat Viewings: Television Analysis in the DVD Age, James Bennett & Tom Brown (eds.) Film and Television After DVD Routledge, 2008


  • Moments Apart, Movie: A Journal of Film Criticism (forthcoming)
  • (Inter)Acting: Television, Performance, Synthesis, Critical Studies in Television, Volume. 13, Issue 3,  2018 (co-authored with Lucy Fife Donaldson)
  • Making Light of the Dark: Understanding the World of His Girl Friday, Journal of Film and Video, Volume 60, Number 3-4, 2008
  • ‘Emotional Blood on the Undusted Carpets:’ The Citizen as Subject in Wife Swap, Critical Survey, Volume 18, Number 3, 2006
  • Saving Face: Inflections of Character Role-play in Shameless, Journal of British Cinema and Television, Volume 3, Number 1, June 2006


  • ‘Some people are disappointed to only get the film:’ What is a DVD?, Screen, Volume 46, Number 4, Winter 2005


  • Timotheus Vermeulen, Scenes from the Suburbs, Critical Studies in Television, vol. 10, no. 1, March 2015
  • John Gibbs and Douglas Pye (eds.) Style and Meaning: Studies in the detailed analysis of film, Scope: An Online Journal of Film Studies, issue 6, October 2006

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