Professor Cook's main research and teaching interests lie in television, cinema and related topics in media studies. He is an internationally known academic expert in television drama studies and his past publications include his work as the author of two successful editions of the first academic study of the plays and films of the late distinguished TV screenwriter , Dennis Potter (Dennis Potter: A Life on Screen, 1995; 1998). In the course of this work, he managed to secure the unique co-operation of Potter himself, including a rare personal interview which has since been released by the ‘Official Dennis Potter website’(http://intranet.yorksj.ac.uk/potter/interv_main.htm).
Professor Cook has also done intensive research into the work of the international film and TV director Peter Watkins (The War Game 1965; Edvard Munch 1973) having gained unique negotiated access to the director’s personal archives, then housed in Lithuania.. At the special invitation of the director, he witnessed in Paris the film shoot of Watkins’ last major production (the acclaimed La Commune, 2000) and also at Watkins’ invitation, wrote and provided voice-over commentaries for the DVD release of Watkins' 1964 Culloden film. His work on the commentaries has been particularly singled out for international review praise (including reviews in prominent US journals such as Variety and Films in Review). He also contributed an essay to the BFI’s 2010 DVD release of the Peter Watkins film Privilege (1967) which has received very good reviews. He has published numerous international academic journal articles not only on Watkins but other aspects of film and TV history, in addition to having written and edited academic works on TV & film science fiction and screenwriting. He has made a unique contribution to screenwriting education in the UK by developing and innovating with the active help of the TV industry, as well as leading to successful validation, Britain’s first postgraduate MAs wholly devoted to the teaching of television scriptwriting – first at De Montfort University, Leicester in 1999-2000 and then at Glasgow Caledonian University in 2008-9. Both MAs have gone on to be successful and prestigious degree offerings for their respective universities