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Professor John Cook is an internationally known and respected academic expert in the study of the media, with particular research specialisms in aspects of television history, media institutions, screenwriting, television drama, documentary and film.. He has a range of industrial interests and experience, having worked over the course of his career with a number of very distinguished media practitioners on various collaborative projects, both in terms of research and knowledge transfer.
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.
‘Making the Past Present: Peter Watkins’ Culloden’, chapter in international collection, Documenting the Documentary, 2nd edition, eds. Barry K Grant and Jeannette Sloniowski, Wayne State University Press, USA, 2012. (In press).
‘This is not Hollywood !: Peter Watkins and the Challenge of Amateurism to the Professional’, book chapter, Small-Gauge Storytelling, eds. Ian Craven and Ryan Shand, Edinburgh University Press, 2012 (In press).
‘Moonage Daydreams: Industrial and Cultural Memory Contexts of Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes’, co-written with Mary Irwin, book chapter in Life on Mars: From Manchester to New York eds. Stephen Lacey and Ruth McElroy, University of Wales / University of Chicago Press, 2012.
‘Don’t Forget to Look Into the Camera !: Peter Watkins’ Approach to Acting with Facts’, Studies in Documentary Film, international peer reviewed journal article in special issue: ‘Acting with Facts’, vol.4, no.3, December 2010.
'Last Exit on the Left: The Radical Exile of Peter Watkins’, journal article, The Drouth, Winter 2010/2011, Issue 38.
‘Circles of Time: Peter Watkins, August Strindberg and the Challenge to Historical Representation’, L'insurrection médiatique : Médias, histoire et documentaire dans le cinéma de Peter Watkins, eds. Sébastien Denis and Jean-Pierre Bertin-Maghit, published proceedings of When Clio Claims the Documentary international conference, University of Bordeaux Press, France, 2010.
‘No-One Will Believe Our Newsreels Anymore’, DVD booklet essay accompanying European Region 2 DVD release of Privilege (dir.: Peter Watkins, UK 1967), released by British Film Institute, 2010.
'Gaming the System: The Gladiators and Punishment Park’, international peer reviewed journal article, Journal of Science Fiction Film and Television, vol. 2, no.1, 2009.
‘The Screenwriter’, guest editor of special themed issue of international peer reviewed journal, Journal of British Cinema and Television, co-ed. Andrew Spicer, vol. 4, no.2, winter 2008-9.
'Three Ring Circus: Television Drama About, By and For Scotland', book chapter, The Media in Scotland eds. Neil Blain and David Hutchison, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2008.
'Exile from the Mainstream: Peter Watkins' Work for Scandinavian TV in the 1970s', international peer reviewed journal article, Critical Studies in Television, vol.3, no.1, spring 2008.
'The Past is Myself: Peter Watkins' Edvard Munch (1973), Critical Studies in Television, international peer reviewed journal article, vol.2 no.1, spring 2007.
British Science Fiction Television: A Hitchhiker's Guide, co-edited with Peter Wright. (London and New York: I.B. Tauris, 2005) including introduction and chapter, "The Age of Aquarius": Utopia and Anti-Utopia in Late 1960s' and Early 1970s' British Television Science Fiction.
'Between Grierson and Barnum: Sydney Newman and The Development of the Single Television Play at the BBC 1963-7', international peer reviewed journal article, Journal of British Cinema and Television, Issue 2, spring 2005.
Voice-over scholarly commentaries, scholarly research and written contributions to DVD release of Culloden (Dir.: Peter Watkins, 1964), ‘Archive Television’, British Film Institute, 2003
'The Last Battle: Peter Watkins on DVD', Film International, Vol.1 (Jan.). 2003.
'History-Makers', review essay, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol.22, No.3 (Aug.). 2002.
'After the Bomb Dropped: The Cinema Half-Life of The War Game (1965)', co-wr. with Patrick Murphy, Journal of Popular British Cinema, Issue 3: Forbidden Cinema, (Trowbridge: Flicks Books). 2000
The Passion of Dennis Potter: International Collected Essays, co-ed. with Vernon W. Gras, (New York: St. Martin's Press). 2000
'Start Big and Then Build: Sydney Newman and British Television Drama' in Mediated Drama - Dramatized Media: Contemporary Drama in English Vol.7 (Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the German Society for Contemporary Theatre and Drama in English, 17-20 June 1999), (Germany: Trier Press). 2000
'Adapting Telefantasy: The Doctor Who and the Daleks Films' in British Science Fiction Cinema,
ed. I.Q. Hunter, (London and New York:Routledge). 1999
Dennis Potter: A Life on Screen, (Manchester:
Manchester University Press; New York: St. Martin's Press) revised second edition 1998 (first edition published 1995)
'Dennis Potter', 'Kenith Trodd' and The Wednesday Play': 3 separate essays in Encyclopedia of Television, ed. Horace Newcomb, (Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn). 1997 (republ. 2005).
'Men Behaving Badly? Basil Dearden and The Persuaders!' in Liberal Directions: Basil Dearden and Post-War British Film Culture, eds.: Alan Burton, Tim O'Sullivan and Paul Wells, (Trowbridge: Flicks Books). 1997