Derek Johnston

      Phone: +44 (0)28 9097 3814

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      MA in Broadcast Literacy

      Introduction to Analysing Broadcasting

      Broadcasting Genre



      BA Broadcast Production

      Broadcast Analysis I

      Broadcast Analysis II


      BA English

      Broadcasting and Identity 

      Research Statement

      The primary focus of my research is on the history of broadcast genres within their social and cultural contexts. This has been particularly developed through my doctoral thesis on the origins of British television science fiction, covering all of the productions broadcast between 1936 and the arrival of commercial television in 1955. While a number of conference presentations, book chapters and articles have drawn upon and developed this research, there is still ample material in this period and its immediate aftermath to be expanded upon to show how these broadcasts were part of cultural changes at the time. The growth of youth culture, rejection of authority, fear of Americanisation and the loss of British military and economic, and potentially cultural, power, the pleasures and perils of technological change, all are present, and negotiated both consciously and unconsciously by the BBC and its audiences. As a whole, this research looks at genre, social change, and the understanding of audiences and taste.

      I have published a monograph on seasonal horror for Palgrave entitled Haunetd Seasons: Television Ghost Stories for Christmas and Horror for Halloween. This examines why there is a tradition of Christmas ghost stories in Britain, particularly England, while in the United States such broadcasts are generally considered to be more appropriate for Halloween. While focused on broadcast seasonal horror, this research takes in the historical and literary background of these traditions, as well as examining the broader role and operation of television and radio horror. This broad approach takes in a range of programming, but culminates in an examination of key television texts in seasonal horror: the BBC Ghost Story for Christmas and The Simpsons Halloween specials.

      I am also interested in the broad field of investigating popular culture and its expressions, and how these relate to cultural change. I am particularly interested in ideas of identity, nostalgia, history, and the usefulness of genres which put some distance between the everyday and the narrative, such as science fiction, horror, and historical dramas.

      Research Interests

      Television; Radio; Film; Genre; Science fiction; Horror; Telefantasy; Historical drama; Nostalgia; Identity

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      ID: 1558446