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Professor in Media, Glasgow Caledonian University

Professor John Cook is a highly experienced and internationally known academic expert specializing in research into media and culture, including media institutions, television drama, science fiction, screenwriting, 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 well known as the author of two successful editions of the first full-length academic study of the plays and films of the late distinguished TV screenwriter, Dennis Potter (Dennis Potter: A Life on Screen, 1995; 1998). This secured the unique co-operation of Potter himself, including a rare personal interview with the writer, extracts of which were published in 'The Guardian' newspaper and later released in full by the ‘Official Dennis Potter website’.

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 and witnessing in Paris the film shoot of Watkins’ last major production (the acclaimed La Commune, 2000). Cook has provided research and voice commentaries on BFI DVD releases of Watkins' films and a 2015 BBC Radio 4 'Archive on 4' programme was based around his research into the notorious TV banning of 'The War Game' in 1965. (

Cook has published numerous international academic journal articles and chapters not only on Watkins but other aspects of film and TV, including Scottish TV drama. He 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 writing both courses and leading to successful founding 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 (GCU) in 2008-9.

Cook has extensive experience of research leadership, successfully leading GCU's Media and Communication submission for REF 2021. This scored its best ever results in REF, including being joint no.1 for research impact in Scotland. Cook currently leads the Media and Culture Research Group at GCU.


  • –present
    Professor in Media, Glasgow Caledonian University