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.


Recent publications


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 2011, Fantasy Film: A Critical Introduction. Berg.

Walters, J & Brown, T (eds) 2010, Film Moments: Criticism, History, Theory. British Film Institute.

Walters, J 2008, Alternative Worlds in Hollywood Cinema. Intellect.


Walters, J 2023, 'Finding words: Aesthetic criticism and television', Critical Studies in Television, pp. 1-19. https://doi.org/10.1177/17496020231154462

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. <https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/film/movie/walters_moments_apart.pdf>

Walters, J & Fife Donaldson, L 2018, 'Inter(acting): Television, performance and synthesis', Critical Studies in Television, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 352–369. https://doi.org/10.1177/1749602018781465

Walters, J 2008, 'Making light of the dark: understanding the world of 'His Girl Friday'', Journal of Film and Video, vol. 60, no. 3-4, pp. 90-102. https://doi.org/10.2307/20688604

Walters, J 2006, '"Emotional Blood on the Undusted Carpets": The Citizen as Subject in Wife Swap', Critical Survey, vol. 18, no. 3, pp. 51-64.

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

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.

Walters, J 2008, Repeat Viewings: Television Analysis in the DVD Age. in J Bennett & T Brown (eds), Film and Television After DVD. Routledge.

Walters, J & Lee, C 2008, When People Run in Circles: Structures of Time and Memory in 'Donnie Darko'. in Violating Time: History, Memory and Nostalgia in Cinema.

View all publications in research portal