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Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Gothic / horror, science fiction, fantasy in and across media and literature.
Representations of history in media.
History of media, particularly in the UK.


Research activity per year

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Personal profile


MA in Media and Broadcast Production



BA Broadcast Production

Broadcast Analysis I

Popular Genres

Media and Time 

Independent Study


Contributing to:

History and Its Audiences (MA Public History)

Research Statement

My research focuses on the history of genres within their industrial, social and cultural contexts, particularly concentrating on fantastic genres such as science fiction and horror as represented on television. My doctoral thesis examined the origins of British television science fiction, covering all of the productions broadcast between 1936 and the arrival of commercial television in 1955. I moved on to exploring the links between genres and seasonality, and between television and the seasons, leading to my monograph on seasonal horror for Palgrave entitled Haunted Seasons: Television Ghost Stories for Christmas and Horror for Halloween, a special issue of the Journal of Popular Television on television seasonality, and a dossier for the same journal specifically on Christmas television. 

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. In addition to an edited collection on Nigel Kneale and Horror, I am developing research considering the different modes of historical drama, with an initial focus on the Gothic mode.

Research Interests

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



Centre for Public History, Queen's University Belfast - https://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/CentreforPublicHistory/

British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies (BAFTSS) - https://www.baftss.org/

Founder Member of the BAFTSS Horror Studies Special Interest Group - https://www.baftss.org/copy-of-horror-studies

International Gothic Association

International Association for Media and History

Society of Authors


Research Opportunities

Gothic / horror, science fiction, fantasy in and across media and literature.

Representations of history in media and literature.

History of media, particularly in the UK.

Previous Doctoral Supervisions

Dr Portia Ellis-Woods, ‘BBC Northern Ireland Drama and Features Programming 1924-1956: Development, Identity, and Cultural History’, 2014-2018

Dr Aislinn Clarke, 'Crouching at the door: The Devil's Doorway and firsts in Northern Irish and female horror filmmaking', 2022-23 (PhD by prior publication, second supervisor)

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


Dive into the research topics where Derek Johnston is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • 1 Similar Profiles
  • Eaton Fellowship 2015/16

    Johnston, Derek (Recipient), 01 Jan 2016

    Prize: Fellowship awarded competitively