Dr Joseph Oldham

Teaching Fellow

Faculty of Arts, Cultures and Education


+44 (0)1482 346311

Joseph Oldham's research focuses on cold war culture, intelligence history and British television drama, with a strong interdisciplinary emphasis on connecting television studies with intelligence studies.

He published the monograph, Paranoid Visions: Spies, Conspiracies and the Secret State in British Television Drama, in 2017.

This provides a history of spy and conspiracy-themed drama programmes on British television, encompassing cold war spy dramas such as Callan (1967-72), classic spy novel adaptations such as Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1979), topical conspiracy thrillers such as Edge of Darkness (1985), and ‘war on terror’ spy procedurals such as Spooks (2002-11).


Research Interests

  • The cold war
  • Conspiracy
  • Intelligence
  • British television drama
  • John le Carré


Oldham J, Paranoid Visions: Spies, Conspiracies and the Secret State in British Television Drama, Manchester University Press (2017)

Oldham J, ‘From “Pop” Nostalgia to Surveillance Culture: Bugs (1995-99) as an “Avengers for the 90s”’, Journal of Popular Television, 6:3 (2018)

Oldham J, ‘“The trouble with treachery nowadays”: Revisiting the Age of Treason in Philby, Burgess and Maclean (ITV, 1977) and Blunt (BBC 2, 1987)’, Journal of British Cinema and Television, 15:3, special issue: ‘Spies on British Screens’ (2013).

Oldham J, ‘The Man Behind the Desk and Other Bureaucracies: Portrayals of Intelligence Leadership in British Television Spy Series’, in Moran C, Stout M and Iordanou I (eds), Spy Chiefs 1: Intelligence Leaders in the United States and United Kingdom, Georgetown University Press (2018)

Oldham J, ‘From Reverential to “Radical” Adaptation: Reframing John le Carré as “Quality” Television Brand from A Perfect Spy (1987) to The Night Manager (2016)’, The Journal of Literature on Screen Studies, 10:3 (2017)



Programmes taught on (2019)

Modules list

  • Cold War Culture
  • Conspiracy: The Paranoid Style in American Politics, Culture and Society
  • American History: Birth of a Nation
  • Contemporary America in Context
  • Television, Radio and the Everyday (2016-17)
  • Landmarks of World Cinema (2016-17)
  • Screen Nations (2016-17)

Professional highlights

Academic qualifications

  • PhD Film and Television Studies, University of Warwick
  • MA for Research in Film and Television Studies, University of Warwick
  • BA Film with Television Studies, University of Warwick

Partnerships and collaborations

  • Contributed articles to print publications including Doctor Who Magazine and Infinity.
  • Gave a public talk at Edinburgh Spy Week as part of an afternoon discussion about Spies on TV (22 April 2017)

Awards and accolades

  • Early Career Fellowship, Institute of Advanced Study, University of Warwick (2014-15)
  • Doctoral Award, Arts and Humanities Research Council (2010-13)
  • Master’s Award, Arts and Humanities Research Council (2009-10)

Professional highlights

  • Co-organised the conference, 'Spying on Spies: Popular Representations of Spies and Espionage', in collaboration with Toby Manning (Open University), The Shard, London (3-5 September 2015)