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
Head of Department of Film and Creative Writing

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