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Justin Smith - Principal Investigator


Tel: +44 (0)2932 845734

Ieuan Franklin - Research Assistant


Tel: +44 (0)2932 845734

Twitter @channel4project


University of Portsmouth

School of Creative Arts, Film and Media

St Georges Building

141 High Street

Old Portsmouth



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Justin Smith – Principal Investigator

Justin SmithJustin Smith is a Principal Lecturer and Subject Leader for Film Studies at the University of Portsmouth, UK, where he is also Post-Graduate Tutor in the School of Creative Arts, Film and Media. A cultural historian with a special interest in British cinema, his research interests embrace production, reception and exhibition practices, film fandom, and issues of cultural identity and popular memory. He has published articles in The Journal of British Cinema and Television and Fashion Theory, and his work on web ethnography appeared in The New Film History (Basingstoke: Palgrave/Macmillan, 2007). His monograph, Withnail and Us: Cult Films and Film Cults in British Cinema, 1968-86 was published by I. B. Tauris in 2010. His latest book (co-authored with Sue Harper) is British Film Culture in the 1970s: The Boundaries of Pleasure (forthcoming, Edinburgh University Press, 2011). He was a Co-investigator on the successful AHRC-funded project 1970s British Cinema, Film and Video Art: Mainstream and Counter-Culture (2006-2009).

I grew up with Channel 4 (I was seventeen in 1982), and its eclectic diet was a formative part of my film education in my undergraduate days at Kent when I was still astonished to find that Film Studies could be an academic subject! Channel 4 transformed my understanding of film culture by the sheer breadth of its provision. And, of course, Film on Four quickly established itself as the home of new British cinema. I’m now delighted, with the support of the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the expertise of the British Universities Film and Video Council, and the assistance of a first-rate team of researchers, to be leading a four-year project which will map the scale of Channel 4’s considerable contribution to British film culture.

The University of Portsmouth's Channel 4 project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and run in partnership with the British Universities Film and Video Council.
University of Portsmouth British Universities Film and Video Council Arts and Humanities Research Council

…Film on Four had established itself as an exceptionally imaginative and influential patron. Its copious litter included a fair share of runts and mutants, but also any number of hits and critical darlings. — Kevin Jackson, “Modest Proposals and Large Returns”, The Independent, 17th January 1994 (p. 21).