Su Holmes
  • 3.53 Arts

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Personal profile


I studied English and Media studies (BA) at the University of Sussex, then gained an MA in film from the University of Southampton. I then undertook a PhD on the subject of British film and television in the 1950s (also at the University of Southampton), specifically the early relations between the two media, in the form of the first ‘cinema programmes’ on television. In my first full-time teaching job at the Southampton Institute (now Southampton Solent University) I taught Media and Cultural studies, before moving on to teach television and film at the University of Kent. I joined UEA as Reader in Television in 2007, where I primarily teach in the areas of television history, popular television and historical/ contemporary celebrity.

My research focuses on British television history (especially the 1950s), contemporary television genres (such Reality TV and quiz shows), and the subject of celebrity. In my historical research on British television (British TV and Film in the 1950s, Entertaining TV: the BBC and Popular Programme Culture in the 1950s), I have been keen to challenge received ideas about British television history, whether with regard to its relations with the film industry in the early years, or the canonical ideas about early BBC television rejecting notions of the ‘popular’. With regard to British reality TV, I have examined aspects of historical development, issues of generic labeling and circulation, and questions of celebrity. In addition to this, my work on celebrity has aimed to contribute to historical knowledge about British television and celebrity, as well as the relationship between celebrity and femininity. I also co-edit the Routledge journal Celebrity Studies.

I am interested in supervising postgraduate research in a broad range of areas, whether popular television, the intersection between television/ film history, and issues of stardom/celebrity.

Key Research Interests and Expertise

Research interests - British television history (especially the 1950s), contemporary television genres (especially Reality TV and quiz shows), and the subject of celebrity.

External Activities

Key Responsibilities

Dr Holmes is currently the PGR (PhD) Director for FTM, and teaches on all levels of the UG degrees, and was the co-organiser (with Professor Diane Negra) of the FTV symposium: 'Going Cheap?: Female Celebrity in the Tabloid, Reality and Scandal Genres', a one-day event held at UEA on Wednesday 25th June 2008.



Professional Activities

  • Co-editor and co-founder of the Routledge journal Celebrity Studies

  • Co-editor (with Dr Deborah Jermyn) of the 'TV Genres' book series for Edinburgh University Press
  • Member of the Editorial Board for the journal Critical Studies in Television
  • External examiner for the BA (Hons) Television Studies degree at the University of Surrey,
    Roehampton (2005-8)
  • External examiner for the MA in Film and Television at the University of Warwick (2008-10)


Reality TV; quiz shows; celebrity; early British TV history (eg 1950s).

Areas Of Expertise