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

Photograph of James Walters

Department of Film and Creative Writing
Professor of Screen Aesthetics and Criticism

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, a BFI TV Classic on the series The Thick of It, and a recent monograph, Television and Repetition. I have co-edited the international collection Film Moments with Tom Brown and Television Performance with Lucy Fife Donaldson. My most recent book is Television and Repetition and I am currently completing the monograph Visions in the Frame: Mise en scene Between Film and TV

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.


Recent publications


Walters, J 2023, Television and Repetition. 1st edn, Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.

Fife Donaldson, L & Walters, J 2019, Television Performance. Red Globe Press.

Walters, J 2016, The Thick of It. TV Classics, British Film Institute, London.


Walters, J 2023, 'Finding words: Aesthetic criticism and television', Critical Studies in Television, pp. 1-19.

Walters, J 2022, 'V.F. Perkins and Television', Movie: A Journal of Film Criticism, no. 10, pp. 74-83. <>

Walters, J 2020, 'Contesting the Wheel: Hitchcock's Female Drivers', Film Studies, vol. 21, pp. 97-112.

Walters, J 2020, 'Small screen psychics: Television performance as dubious achievement', Journal of Popular Television, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 349-367.

Walters, J 2019, 'Moments Apart', Movie: A Journal of Film Criticism, no. 8, pp. 1-6. <>

Walters, J & Fife Donaldson, L 2018, 'Inter(acting): Television, performance and synthesis', Critical Studies in Television, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 352–369.

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Walters, J 2023, Storms and Teacups: Russell T Davies, the epic and the everyday. in S Cardwell, J Bignell & L Fife Donaldson (eds), Epic / Everyday: Moments in Television. The Television Series, Manchester University Press, pp. 140-162.

Walters, J 2022, Depth in Two Dimensions: Complex/Simple Moments in Rick and Morty. in S Cardwell, J Bignell & L Fife Donaldson (eds), Complexity / Simplicity: Moments in Television. The Television Series, Manchester University Press, pp. 84-103.

Walters, J 2021, Skip Intro? Sense8’s Title Sequence. in D Shaw & R Stone (eds), Sense8: Transcending Televison. 1st edn, Bloomsbury Publishing, pp. 57-70.

Walters, J 2019, The Enduring Act: Performance and Achievement in Long Television. in L Fife Donaldson & J Walters (eds), Television Performance. Red Globe Press, pp. 61-83.

Walters, J 2017, Perpetual Motion Pictures: Sisyphean Burden and the Global Screen Franchise. in R Stone, P Cooke, S Dennison & A Marlow-Mann (eds), The Routledge Companion to World Cinema. Routledge, Oxon/New York, pp. 382-392.

Other contribution

Walters, J 2022, The Snowman (Channel 4, 1982). Fantasy/ <>

View all publications in research portal