Photograph of Professor Matt Hills.Professor Matt Hills

Professor of Film & TV Studies
BA (Sussex), MA (Goldsmiths), PhD (Sussex)


Office: FS 3, Parry Williams Building
Phone: 01970 621594
Fax: 01970 622831


Leader of Film & TV Research Group


After completing his PhD at Sussex, Matt started work as a lecturer at the University of Central England before then moving to Cardiff University in 2000. He joined Aberystwyth University as Professor of Film & TV Studies in October 2012.


Media audiences and fandom; Doctor Who; Torchwood; Sherlock; cult film and TV more generally; digital culture.

Additional Information

I was awarded a £72,795 ‘BBC/AHRC Knowledge Transfer’ grant in 2007. This project, ‘Listener online engagement with BBC radio programming’, ran for one year, and I had a part-time Research Associate working with me. Acting as a co-investigator with colleagues based at Birmingham City University and London Metropolitan, my strand of the research involved studying online fan cultures in relation to celebrity DJs such as Terry Wogan. As well as reporting back to BBC Future Media and Technology and BBC Audio and Music, I published a journal article based on this research in a special issue of The Radio Journal.

I have also been the recipient of a £48,000 ‘Innovation Award’ Grant by the AHRB in 2002.  This project, on which I was sole investigator, was entitled ‘Reconceptualising the unconscious in qualitative audience research’, and ran for one year. I appointed a Research Associate, Dr. Jamie Sexton, to work with me on the project. Research outcomes included article for the US journal American Behavioral Scientist and for the USC journal Spectator (both special issues on media fandom that I was invited to write for).

I have also benefitted from a British Academy Small Grant which was awarded to support the establishment of a cross-institutional study group on Transitional Phenomena and Cultural Experience (TPACE), led by Professor Annette Kuhn. Research outcomes are forthcoming from this work, including a chapter in an edited collection on Winnicottian theory and film studies. 


Sole-authored books:

Cultographies: Blade Runner (Wallflower, 2011). This book specifically theorises Blade Runner’s cult status and engages with scholarly debates surrounding cult film and fandom. 


Triumph of a Time Lord: Regenerating Doctor Who in the 21st Century (IB Tauris, 2010); a book aimed at both scholars and fans, this developed ideas initially set out in Fan Cultures and was positively reviewed in magazines such as SFX and Doctor Who Magazine.


The Pleasures of Horror (2005) Continuum, London and New York – a more wide-ranging study of the horror genre than is usual, taking in horror on TV, in news reportage, and within cultural theory itself as well as examining the ‘field of horror’ fictions across film and literature (and using a Bourdieuian approach to textual analysis).


 Doing Things With Cultural Theory (2005) Hodder-Arnold, London – a deliberately polemical book which explores performative approaches to academic work and cultural identities.



Fan Cultures (2002) Routledge – published as part of the ‘Sussex Studies in Culture and Communication’ series and described by Henry Jenkins as “dynamite – and it’s going to blast a hole throughsome of the roadblocks and dead-ends in previous theories of fandom” (back-cover blurb).


Journal articles:

'Listening from behind the sofa? The (un)earthly roles of sound in BBC Wales' Doctor Who' (2011) in New Review of Film and Television Studies 9.1

'Television Aesthetics: A Pre-structuralist danger?' (2011) in Journal of British Cinema and Television 8.1

'BBC Wales' Torchwood as TV I, II and III: Changes in Television Horror' (2010) in Cinephile: the University of British Columbia's Film Journal 6.2

'When Television Doesn't Overflow 'Beyond the Box': The Invisibility of “Momentary” Fandom' (2010) in Critical Studies in Television 5.1

'From BBC radio personality to online audience personae: the relevance of fan studies to Terry Wogan and the TOGs' (2009) in The Radio Journal: International Studies in Broadcast & Audio Media 7.1

'The dispersible television text: theorising moments of the new Doctor Who' (2008) in Journal of Science Fiction Film and Television 1.1

'Restricted confessions? Blogging, subcultural celebrity and the management of producer–fan proximity' (with Bertha Chin; 2008) in Social Semiotics 18(1)

'“Gothic” Body Parts in a “Postmodern” Body of Work? The Hinchcliffe/Holmes Era of Doctor Who (1975—77)' (2007) in Intensities Four, available online at

‘Michael Jackson Fans on Trial? "Documenting" Emotivism and Fandom in Wacko About Jacko’ (2007) in Social Semiotics 17 (4)

‘From the Box in the Corner to the Box Set on the Shelf: The Textual Valorisations of Television on DVD’ (2007) in New Review of Film & TV Studies 5.1

‘Essential Tensions: Winnicottian Object-Relations in the Media Sociology of Roger Silverstone’ (2006) in the International Journal of Communication, Issue 1.

Doctor Who Discovers… Cardiff: Investigating trans-generational audiences and trans-national fans of the BBC Wales Production’ (2006) in Wales Media Journal Issue 3

‘“It’s All My Interpretation”: Reading Spike Through the Subcultural Celebrity of James Marsters’ (with Rebecca Williams; 2005) in European Journal of Cultural Studies Vol. 8, No. 3

‘From “Get a Life” to “Everyone Has To Be a Fan of Something”: Returning to Hegemony Theory in Fan Studies’ (2005) in Spectator: The University of South California Journal of Film and TV, special issue on media fandom

‘Patterns of Surprise: The “Aleatory Object” in Psychoanalytic Ethnography and Cyclical Fandom’ (2005) in American Behavioral Scientist Vol. 48, No. 7, special issue on fan studies

‘Strategies, Tactics and the Question of Un Lieu Propre: What/Where is “Media Theory”?’ in (2004) Social Semiotics Volume 14, Number 2

‘“Subcultural celebrity” and cult TV fan cultures’ (2003) in Mediactive Issue 2

‘Counterfictions in the Work of Kim Newman: Rewriting Gothic SF as “Alternate Story Stories”’ (2003) in Science Fiction Studies Volume 30, Part 3

‘Media fandom, neoreligiosity, and cult(ural) studies’ (2000) in The Velvet Light Trap: A Critical Journal of Film and Television No. 46

‘The common sense of Cultural Studies: Qualitative Audience Research and the role of theory in(-)determining method’ (1999) in Diegesis: The Journal of the Association for Research into Popular Fictions No. 5

Chapters in edited collections:

'Transmedia Torchwood: Investigating a Television Spin-off's Tie-in Novels and Audio Adventures' (forthcoming) in Williams, R. (ed) Torchwood Declassified: Investigating Mainstream Cult Television IB Tauris, London and New York.

'Cult movies with and without cult stars: differentiating discourses of stardom' (forthcoming) in Egan, K. and Thomas, S. (eds) Cult Film Stardom: Offbeat Attractions and Processes of 'Cultification' Palgrave-Macmillan, Basingstoke. 

'Media Users' and 'Blade Runner and Inception’s recoded transitional objects and fans’ repeat viewings' (forthcoming) in Kuhn, A. (ed) Little Madnesses: Winnicottian Film Studies IB Tauris, London and New York.

'Torchwood and counter-authorship' (forthcoming) in Gray, J. and Johnson, D. (eds) Companion to Media Authorship Blackwells, Oxford.

'From Fan Tourists to Fan Residents: Revisiting Cardiff's Cult Geography' (forthcoming) in Mellor, D. and Hills, M. (eds) New Dimensions of Doctor Who IB Tauris, London and New York.

'Hyping Who and Marketing the Moffat Era: The Role of “Prior Paratexts”' (forthcoming) in O'Day, A. (ed) Eleventh Hour: Critical Approaches to the Steven Moffat and Matt Smith Era of Doctor Who IB Tauris, London and New York.

'Cult TV Remakes: The Prisoner Miniseries as Neo-cult' (forthcoming) in Mittell, J. and Thompson, E. (eds) How to Watch Television: Media Criticism in Practice Oxford University Press, New York.

'The Medium is the Monster... or the World? Discourses of Uncanny “Old Media” and Immersive “New Media” in Life on Mars' (2012) in Lacey, S. and McElroy, R. (eds) Life on Mars: From Manchester to New York University of Wales Press, Cardiff.

'”Twilight” Fans Represented in Commercial Paratexts and Inter-Fandoms: Resisting and Repurposing Negative Fan Stereotypes' (2012) in Morey, A. (ed) Genre, Reception, and Adaptation in the 'Twilight' Series Ashgate, Aldershot.

'Whatever Happened to the Time Lord? Mythology and Fandom in Neil Gaiman's Contributions to Unfolding Texts' (2012) in Burdge, A. and Burke, J. Mythological Dimensions of Neil Gaiman Kitsune Books, Crawfordville, Florida.

'“Proper distance” in the ethical positioning of scholar-fandoms: Between academics' and fans' moral economies?' (2012) in Larsen, K. and Zubernis, L. (eds) Fan Culture: Theory/Practice Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle.

'Sherlock's Epistemological Economy and the Value of “Fan” Knowledge: How Producer-Fans Play the (Great) Game of Fandom' (2012) in Busse, K. and Stein, L.E. (eds) Sherlock and Transmedia Fandom: Essays on the BBC Series McFarland, Jefferson, North Carolina and London.

'Psychoanalysis and digital fandom: Theorizing spoilers and fans’ self-narratives' (2012) in Lind, R.A. (ed) Produsing Theory Peter Lang, New York.

'Cutting into Concepts of "Reflectionist" Cinema? The Saw Franchise and Puzzles of Post-9/11 Horror' (2011) in Briefel, A. and Miller, S. J. (eds) Horror After 9/11: World of Fear, Cinema of Terror University of Texas Press, Austin.

‘Attending horror film festivals and conventions: Liveness, subcultural capital and “flesh-and-blood genre communities”’ (2010) in Conrich, I. (ed) Horror Zone I.B. Tauris, London and New York.

'Making Sense of M. Night Shyamalan: Signs of a Popular Auteur in the “Field of Horror”'' (2010) in Weinstock, J. (ed) Spoiler Warnings: Critical Approaches to the Films of M. Night Shyamalan Palgrave-Macmillan, London.

'“Mythology Makes You Feel Something”: The Russell T. Davies Era as Sentimental Journey' in Burdge, A., Burke, J. and Larsen, K. (2010) (eds) The Mythological Dimensions of Doctor Who Kitsune Books, Crawfordville, Florida.

'Afterword: Scholar-Fandom's Different Incarnations' (2010) in Garner, R., Beattie, M. and McCormack, U. (eds) Impossible Worlds, Impossible Things: Cultural Perspectives on Doctor Who, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle Upon Tyne.    

'Subcultural Celebrity' and 'Mainstream Cult' (2010) in Abbott, S. (ed) The Cult TV Book IB Tauris, London and New York.  

'Doctor Who' and 'Torchwood' (2010) in Lavery, D. (ed) The Essential Cult TV Reader University of Kansas Press, Kansas.

‘Variations on a narrative theme, implied story arcs, and absent epics: Doctor Who (2005—) as mainstreamed cult TV’ (2009) in Harrigan, P. (ed) Third Person: Authoring and Exploring Vast Narratives MIT Press, Boston.

‘Singularity or Multiplicity in Explanations of Cult Media: Toward “Residual” and “Emergent” Cults’ (2009) in Rautavuoma, V, Kovala, U. and Haaverin, E. (eds) Cult and Community University of Jyvaskyla Press, Finland

'Participatory Culture: Mobility, interactivity and identity' (2009) in Creeber, G. and Martin, R. (eds) Digital Cultures: Understanding New Media Open University Press, Maidenhead.

'Les Diaboliques' and 'Tesis' in Schneider, S. J. (2008) (ed) 100 European Horror Films BFI Publishing, London.

‘Media academics as media audiences’ (2007) in Gray, J., Harrington, C. L., Sandvoss, C. (eds) Fandom New York University Press, New York

‘Televisuality without television? The Big Finish audios and discourses of ‘tele-centric’ Doctor Who’ (2007) in Butler, D. (ed) Time and Relative Dissertations in Space: Critical Perspectives on Doctor Who Manchester University Press, Manchester.

‘The Question of Genre in Cult Film and Fandom: Between Contract and Discourse’ (2007) in Donald, J. and Renov, M. (eds) Sage Handbook of Film Studies Sage, London.

‘Investigating CSI Television Fandom and Fans’ Textual Paths through the Franchise’ (with Amy Luther, 2007) in Allen, M. (ed) Reading CSI IB Tauris, London.

'Para-Paracinema: The Friday the 13th Film Series as Other to Trash and Legitimate Film Cultures' (2007) in Sconce, J. (ed) Sleaze Artists: Cinema at the Margins of Taste, Style and Politics Duke University Press, Durham and London.  

‘Academic Textual Poachers: Blade Runner as Cult Canonical Movie’ (2006) in Brooker, W. (ed) The Blade Runner Experience Wallflower Press

‘Not just another “powerless elite”? When fans become subcultural celebrities’ (2006) in Holmes, S. and Redmond, S. (eds) Framing Celebrity Routledge

‘“The Devil made me do it!” Articulating Evil in the Supernatural Serial Killer Film’ (with Steven Jay Schneider; 2006) in Norden, M. (ed) Changing Faces of Evil Rodopi

‘Realising the cult blockbuster: LOTR fandom and residual/emergent cult status in the mainstream’ in Mathijs, E. (ed) (2006) The Lord of the Rings in Popular Culture Wallflower Press, London.

‘Audiences’ and ‘Fandom’ (2006) in Creeber, G. (ed) Tele-Vision: Introduction to Studying Television, BFI.

‘Ringing the changes: cult distinctions and cultural differences in US fans’ readings of Japanese horror cinema’ (2005) in McRoy, J. (ed) Japanese Horror Cinema, EUP

‘Superintending Seriality: Cult TV, Quality and the Role of the Episode/Programme Guide’ (2005) in Hammond, M. and Mazdon, L. (eds) Previously On: Approaches to Contemporary TV Seriality, EUP

‘Who wants to be a fan of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’ (2005) in Johnson, C. and Turnock, R. (eds) ITV Cultures, Open University Press

Angel’s Monstrous Mothers and Vampires with Souls: Investigating the Abject in ‘Television Horror’’ (with Rebecca Williams; 2005) in Abbott, S. (ed) Reading Angel I.B. Tauris 

‘Defining Cult TV’ (2004) in Allen, R.C. and Hill, A. (eds) The TV Studies Reader, Routledge

‘Doing Things with Theory: From Freud’s Worst Nightmare to Disciplinary Dreams of Horror’s Cultural Value’ (2004) in Schneider, S. (ed) Psychoanalysis and the Horror Film: Freud’s Worst Nightmares Cambridge University Press

Dawson's Creek: ‘Quality Teen TV’ and ‘Mainstream Cult’?’ (2004) in Davis, G. and Dickinson, K. (eds) Teen TV: Genre, Consumption and Identity, BFI

Doctor Who, The Prisoner, Star Trek, and Twilight Zone (2004) in Creeber, G. (ed) Fifty Key TV Programmes, Arnold

Star Wars in Fandom, Film Theory and the Museum: The Cultural Status of the Cult Blockbuster’ (2003) in Stringer, J. (ed) Movie Blockbusters, Routledge

‘Putting away childish things: Jar Jar Binks and the virtual star as object of fan loathing’ (2003) in Austin, T. and Barker, M. (eds) New Approaches to Movie Stardom, Arnold

‘An event-based definition of “art-horror”’ (2003) in Schneider, S. and Shaw, Daniel (eds) Dark Thoughts: Philosophical Reflections on Horror, Scarecrow Press, Maryland

‘Substituting fandom for academia’ (2002) in Lavery, D. and Hague, J. (eds) Teleparody: Predicting/Preventing the Future Discourses of TV Studies, Columbia University Press

‘Virtually out there: Strategies, tactics and affective spaces in online fandom’ (2001) in Munt, S. (ed) Technospaces: Inside the New Media, Continuum

'In the Company of Strangers: The Mobile Phone and Everyday Life' (2001: co-authored as part of the Sussex Technology Group) in Munt, S. (ed) Technospaces: Inside the New Media, Continuum

'Mapping Pratchett: Hyper-diegesis and Fantasy' in James, E. and Mendlesohn, F. (eds) (1999) Terry Pratchett: Guilty of literature, Foundation Studies in Science Fiction

'The (dis)pleasures of consuming: Extrapolations of consumer society in the science fiction of Michael Marshall Smith' (1999) p.64-77 in Moody, N. (ed) Consuming for Pleasure, Liverpool John Moores Press

Encyclopaedia/Dictionary Entries:

Entry on ‘Fans and Fandom’ (2006) for Schirmer Encyclopedia of Film, Thomson Publishing

Entry on ‘Fans and Fan Culture’ (2006) for International Encyclopaedia of Sociology, Blackwells Publishing

Entries on ‘Fandom’ and ‘Cultural Reproduction’ (2001) in Pearson, R.E. and Simpson, P. (eds) The Critical Dictionary of Film and Television Theory, Routledge   

Reprinted/Anthologised Work:

'Media Fandom, Neo-Religiosity and Cult(ural) Studies'  (2008, originally 2002) in Mathijs, E. and Mendik, X. (eds) The Cult Film Reader Open University Press, Maidenhead.

'Fan Cultures: Between 'Fantasy' and 'Reality' (2008, originally 2002) in Ryan, M. (ed) Cultural Studies: An Anthology Wiley-Blackwell.