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Professor Steve Chibnall

Job: Professor of British Cinema and Director of the Cinema and Television History Centre (CATH)

Faculty: Computing, Engineering and Media

School/department: Leicester Media School

Research group(s): Cinema and Television History Centre (CATH)

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, UK, LE1 9BH

T: +44 (0)116 257 7320




Personal profile

Steve is believed to be the only Professor of British Cinema in the world, and is one of the UK’s senior film historians.  He is director of DMU’s Cinema and Television History (CATH) Research Centre and curator of the Hammer Script Archive, the Jimmy Sangster Collection, the Francis Searle Archive and the Roy Ward Baker Bequest (all lodged with the CATH Centre).  He is also owner of the Steve Chibnall Archive, a private collection of tens of thousands of pieces of British film and popular culture memorabilia which postgraduate students in the CATH Centre may draw upon in their research.  He has written or edited ten books, published dozens of articles and book chapters, featured on television and radio over a long career and currently contributes sleeve notes and commentary moderations to DVD releases by Odeon Entertainment and the BFI.  He is Visiting Professor at The Cinema Museum in London, where he organises frequent on-stage events, co-series editor for Routledge’s British Popular Cinema series, and a board member of the Journal of British Cinema and Television (EUP).  Steve’s main responsibilities at DMU are research student supervision, and research group leadership.

Research group affiliations

  • Cinema and Television History (CATH) Research Centre

Key research outputs

Co-authored book: The British ‘B’ Film, (with Brian McFarlane), BFI/Palgrave, 2009, Pb 978-1-84457-319-6; Hb 978-1-84457-320-2; 356 pp.

Monograph: Quota Quickies: The Birth of the British B Film, BFI, 2006; Pb 1-84457-155-6; Hb 1-84457-154-8; pages 314 

Monograph: Brighton Rock, I.B.Tauris, 2004; Pb 1-85043-400-X; pages 128

Monograph: Get Carter, I.B.Tauris, 2003; Pb 1-86064-910-6; pages 136

Monograph: Law -and Order News: Crime Reporting in the British Press, Originally published by Tavistock 1977, republished in 2001 in Tavistock Classics series by Taylor and Francis; 2001; Hb 0415-264-081

Edited Book: British Horror Cinema (ed with Julian Petley), Routledge; 2001; Hb 0-415-23003-9; Pb 0-415-23004-7 Pages 256.

Edited Book: Sim Branaghan, The British Film Poster, BFI, 2006. Pages 304, illustrations 350.

Edited Journal: Journal of British Cinema and Television, 7:3 Special issue on Continental Connections, co-ed with James Chapman. EUP 2010

Edited Journal: Journal of British Cinema and Television, 4:2 Special Issue on Space and Place in British Cinema and Television (ed. with Julian Petley). EUP, 2007 

Exhibition Catalogue: Kiss and Kill: Film Visions of Brighton, Royal Pavilion Museums and Galleries, Brighton and Hove, 2002 (joint-authored with Frank Gray and Andy Medhurst); ISBN 0 948723-49-1 pages 84.

Research interests/expertise

  • British cinema past and present especially: History of British B Movies, Censorship and stardom 1945-60, British film poster design, British widescreen films, Anglo-Italian Co-productions, Adelphi Films. 
  • Crime in film, literature and news. 
  • The history of graphic illustration for books and posters.
  • Sociology of collecting.

Areas of teaching

  • British cinema
  • Sociology of collecting


BA Hons Sociology, MA Sociology, PhD (all University of Essex)

Courses taught

Research student supervision

Honours and awards

Honorary Visiting Professor, The Cinema Museum, London, UK. 2012


Forthcoming events

Cine Sisters Week, The Cinema Museum, London, 13-19 October 2012. Including the following live events:

  • 13 Oct. An evening with Eunice Gayson
  • 18 Oct. An evening with Liz Frazer
  • 19 Oct. Joanna Scanlan and Vicki Pepperdine in conversation

Cine Sisters at Christmas, The Cinema Museum, London, 13 and 20 December, comprising:

  • 13 Dec. Cine Sister Hyde: a 40th anniversary screening of Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde (1972) with the film’s writer and stars in aid of the Ralph Bates Cancer Research Fund.
  • 20 Dec. Funny Women: female comics from yesterday and today.
Guest at the Queen of Horror Festival, Hastings, UK. 26-28 October 2012
Launch of Behind the Scenes at the BBFC: Film classification from the silver screen to the digital age, Edward Lamberti (ed.) to which Steve has contributed a chapter, BFI Southbank, 14 November 2012

Recent research outputs

‘The Lonely Passion of Kate Hudson: Filming and Falling in the Venetian Summertime’, David Lean Centenary Conference, University of London, July 2008. 

‘Nowhere Else to Go: The death of the Travelogue’, British Culture and Society in the 1970s Conference, University of Portsmouth, July 2008 (invited). 

‘Coronation Blues’, Social Fears and Moral Panics, IAMHIST international conference, University of Aberystwyth, July 2009 (invited).

‘A Family Film Business: The Adelphi Archives’, Archives and Auteurs international conference, University of Stirling, September 2009.

‘From English Rose to Italian Diva: the tragic, glamorous trajectory of Belinda Lee’ (with Sandra Frost), Desiring Divas conference, Downing College, University of Cambridge, September 2011.

Conferences organised:

International Conference: A Century of Cinema Exhibition at Phoenix Square, Leicester, in partnership with the Cinema Exhibitors’ Association and the Cinema Theatre Association, 10 and 11 July 2010.

International Conference: Romcom Actually: Romantic Comedy on Film and Television, DMU, 2-3 March, joint with the University of East Anglia.

International Conference: Bloodlines: British Horror Past and Present, DMU and Phoenix Square, Leicester, 4 and 5 March 2010.

Symposia organised: 

New Television History (7 papers, 40 delegates), at DMU in association with the University of East Anglia and the University of Warwick, 10 September 2010.

Symposium: Associate Research Fellows’ Day. Presentations by six CATH Associate Research Fellows and by guest speaker, James Patterson (MACE Archive), 16 Feb 2011.

Symposium: Cine Sisters: Histories of women in the film and television industries (11 papers. 50 delegates), The Women’s Library, London, 17 July 2011.
Symposium: Associate Research Fellows’ Day. Presentations by four CATH Associate Research Fellows and by guest speakers, Dr Sharon Lockyer (Brunel) and Professor Stephen Gundle (Warwick), DMU, Feb 2012.
Symposium: Cuts and Categories: 100 Years of the BBFC, DMU, 21 March 2012.
Public Event: Ken Loach in Conversation, DMU, March 2010. Part of Cultural Exchanges.
Public Event: Honor Blackman in Conversation: Celebrating 50 Years of The Avengers, DMU, 2 March 2011. Part of Cultural Exchanges.
Public Event: An Evening with Carol Cleveland, The Cinema Museum, London, March 2012.
Public Event: An Evening with Vera Day, The Cinema Museum, London, April 2012.

Film Festival: 14th British Silent Film Festival, The Barbican, London, April 2011. Associate Producer.

Film Festival: 15th British Silent Film Festival, Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge, April 2012. Associate Producer.

Film Festival: Hammer Has Risen From the Grave, Phoenix Square, Leicester, July 2012. Director.

Key articles information

[Add key research outputs information here] 

e.g ‘Outputs, e.g. selected publications’ produced since January 2008

Consultancy work

British Cinema History: currently available

  • Consultant: Oxford University Press, Manchester University Press, Edinburgh University Press, Routledge, Palgrave, Wallflower Press, BFI Publishing. 
  • Consultant and interviewee, Reel Histories, BBC Radio 4, 2004.
  • Consultant and interviewee, Spivs, Television documentary, BBC Four / BBC Two, October 2005. 
  • Consultant and Interviewee, The Strange World of Planet UK: British Science Fiction Films, Television Documentary, BBC Four, November 2006. 
  • Consultant and Interviewee, In the Can: The Prison Film, Television Documentary, BBC Four, December 2006. 
  • Interviewee and advisor, Truly, Madly, Cheaply: The British B Film, BBC4, 2008. 
  • Interviewee and advisor, Telly Savalas and the Quota Quickies, BBC Radio Four, 2008.
  • Interviewed with phone-in on latest publications by John Florance, BBC Radio Leicester, 2007.
  • Consultant BFI/National Film Archive ‘Quota Quickies’ Film Season at NFT, London, 2007, British B Film season, BFI Southbank, London Nov-Dec 2009. 
  • Consultant to AHRC-funded project, Screen culture in 1970s Britain, at University of Portsmouth. 
  • Consultant to the ‘Best of British’ DVD series, Odeon Entertainment, 2008- 
  • Academic consultant, Volkswagen’s ‘See Film Differently’ location screenings 2010-
  • Academic consultant, elevenfiftyfive (marketing company).
  • Interviewee and advisor, The Film Programme, BBC Radio 4, 2010 and 2011.
  • Interviewee on Get Carter, BBC Radio Newcastle, BBC Scotland, 2011.
  • Interviewee and advisor, Tom Chantrell Documentary (working title) d. Jonson D’Angelo for broadcast 2012.
  • Consultant, BBC 2 Television Reel History of Britain, 2011.
  • Curator: The Steve Chibnall Archive (supplying images for publication to academic publishers and for BFI and Odeon Entertainment DVD releases).

Current research students

First supervisor for 

  • Alex Rock (PhD)
  • Jonathan Walker (PhD) 
  • Susan Porter (PhD)

Second supervisor for

  • Laura Mee (PhD)
  • Cat Mahony (PhD)
  • Caitlin Shaw (PhD)
  • Vivien Chadder (PhD) 

Externally funded research grants information

AHRC Study Leave 2004


Internally funded research project information

RIF Project funding:  Jan 210 – July 2010 The Establishment And Launch Of A New Research Centre For Cinema And Television History In The Faculty Of Humanities. Role: PI. Collaborators: Laraine Porter, Dr. Ian Hunter, Stuart Hanson.

RIF Project funding: Oct 2010 – July 2011 Partnerships with impact: investing in projects associated with the digital economy and the dissemination of the UK’s screen heritage. Role: PI. Collaborators: Laraine Porter, Dr. Ian Hunter, Dr. Helen Wood, Prof. Robert Murphy.

RIF Project funding:  Jan-July 2012 Hammer Has Risen from the Grave film festival at Phoenix Square, Leicester. PI.

Professional esteem indicators

Editorial Board: Journal of British Cinema and Television 

Editorial Advisory Board: Intensitites, and Journal of Crime Conflict and the Media 

Series Editor (joint): British Popular Cinema, Routledge.

Journal Refereeing information:
  • Journal of British Cinema and Television.
  • Music, Sound and the Moving Image.

Other Reviewing Activities:

  • Palgrave
  • BFI-Palgrave
  • Routledge

Case studies

Steve Chibnall, Get Carter, London: I.B.Tauris, 2003 (GC).

Steve Chibnall, Quota Quickies: The Birth of the British B Film, London: British Film Institute, 2007 (QQ).

Steve Chibnall and Brian McFarlane, The British B Film, London: Palgrave/BFI, 2009 (BBF).

GC and QQ were part of De Montfort University’ submission to UoA 65 at RAE 2008.  36% of outputs were rated 4*.  BBF is part of the present submission.  All monographs have received highly favourable reviews in academic journals (including Screen, Journal of British Cinema and Television, Screening the Past and the Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television) and in other publications (including The Times, The TLS, The Veteran (for retired members of the film and television industries) and Sight and Sound).

Both QQ and BBF were given book launches and accompanying film seasons at BFI Southbank (January 2007 and December 2009).  Chibnall wrote programme notes for the screenings and introduced two of them (in the case of BBF, with co-author Brian McFarlane).  The introductions were followed by book signing sessions outside the BFI bookshop, where the majority of purchasers were not academics.  The BBF book and film season were the subject of articles in The Independent (Geoffrey Macnab, 11/12/09) and Sight & Sound (Andrew Roberts, Jan 2010).  BBF was reviewed by the TLS (described as ‘admirable’) alongside the new Sherlock Holmes (d Guy Richie) movie in January 2010.  British B Film seasons inspired by the book took place at Phoenix Square, Leicester (Dec 2009) and The Duke of York’s, Brighton (Mar 2010).  Chibnall was an invited speaker at both of these.  The BBC interviewed him for a Television documentary on the British ‘B’ Film on BBC Four (…09), and for two Radio 4 programmes on small British film studios and the work of short-film producer, Harold Baim (26/04/08).  All programmes were inspired in whole or in part by the book.  The publication of the book was the subject of an internet chat room on, which currently has over 100 postings, the vast majority from non-academics.  It was the best-selling book on British Cinema on in December 2009, and Chibnall received a number of emails and phone calls from members of the public saying how much they have enjoyed reading it and asking further questions.  He received a personal letter from film producer/distributor Richard Gordon in New York, congratulating him on the research.  The book sold out its first print run inside a year and a revised version has been re-printed. 

Chibnall’s expertise on low-budget British films in particular and British cinema more generally, has also been in considerable demand from DVD releasing companies.  He supplied sleeve notes to the best-selling release on the BFI’s ‘Flipside’ label, Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush (released 2010), as well as over 20 releases by Odeon Entertainment in it’s ‘Best of British’ series.  In 2012, he has moderated cast and crew commentaries for three Odeon DVD releases.  He also supplied images from his archive for sleeve art and stills galleries for most of these releases and others in the Flipside and Best of British series.  Typical sales for a disc in the Best of British series are 5,000 copies.

The impact of Chibnall’s monograph on Get Carter has built steadily since its release in 2003.  It was initially described in a review in The Times as ‘a model of the genre’ (monographs on single films), ‘brilliant’ and ‘illuminating’ (25/03/04).  The author was given the opportunity to interview director Mike Hodges for an article in Sight and Sound (Sept 2003) on his new film (I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead) and was invited to the cast and crew preview at BAFTA. GC was quoted in the UK Film Council’s Stories We Tell Ourselves: The Cultural Impact of UK Film (2009), and one of that report’s authors told the author that he regarded the monograph as ‘a model of cultural impact research’, that had influenced the methodology of the report.  Consequently, the UK Film Council agreed to DMU hosting a conference on the Cultural Impact of UK Film and to partnering a DMU studentship on the dissemination and cultural impact of UK screen heritage.  Unfortunately, the UKFC was abolished before these plans could come to fruition.  However, in October 2010 Chibnall was contacted by a commercial company, elevenfiftyfive, organisers of one-off cinema events to promote Volkwagen cars, to act as a consultant on their ‘See Film Differently’ screening of Get Carter at Newcastle Racecourse (02/12/10).  Chibnall curated a 100-piece exhibition (largely drawn from his own archive) at the Racecourse, introduced the screening, gave an interview to BBC Radio Newcastle (02/12/10), and did a book signing.  He was retained as consultant for subsequent Volkswagen screenings of Trainspotting (1996) in Edinburgh in February 2011, and A Clockwork Orange at Brunel University, Uxbridge in June 2011, supplying captions for the accompanying exhibitions.  A total of over 23,000 people applied on-line for tickets to these screenings.

The 40th anniversary of Get Carter in 2011 aroused considerable media interest, and Chibnall gave interviews about the film to Radio 4’s The PM Programme, BBC Radio Scotland, and two newspaper journalists.  He was a guest of honour at the Newcastle celebrations of the film in March, supplying an exhibition, conducting a Get Carter master class with the film’s director Mike Hodges for 100  ‘A’ Level Film Studies students, signing books and contributing commentary to the special VIP locations bus tour.  At a wine reception, the film’s director declared publicly that Get Carter would not have generated so much attention without Chibnall’s book, which demonstrated why the film should be taken seriously.  In 2013, Chibnall has been invited to give a talk at Gateshead public library, introducing other Tyneside crime films.

Further recent evidence of impact from Chibnall’s published research since 1995 has included an invitation from the Graham Greene Festival to give a talk on film adaptations of Brighton Rock at Berkhampsted School, where Green was brought up.  The invitation was recognition of Chibnall’s monograph on the 1947 film of Brighton Rock (I.B. Tauris, 2005) on the occasion of the release of a new adaptation of the novel.  The director of the new film, Rowan Joffe, told Chibnall that his monograph had been an important reference source during the scripting process.  The monograph is also used during the regular guided tours of Brighton Rock’s locations.

Chibnall’s editing of Sim Branagan’s British Film Posters (BFI, 2007), to which he also contributed research findings on poster campaigns between the world wars, led to an interview by a journalist from the Financial Times (published as part of an article on contemporary trends in poster design, spring 2011), and to an invitation from the estate of the leading poster artist, Tom Chantrell, to write a book on the artist and contribute to a television documentary on him being made by an independent production company.  An interview for inclusion was filmed in April 2011.
Steve Chibnall