Dr Nigel Mather’s qualifications include an MA in the novel (East Anglia University, 1988), a PhD in Film Studies (University of Kent, 2004) and a Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education (University of Kent, 2011). He has worked for many years as an Associate Lecturer for the Film department at Kent and has convened undergraduate modules on courses examining issues of form and style in film-making, British and American cinema, film and television adaptations and the life and films of Alfred Hitchcock.
Nigel has presented papers on such topics as the cultural significance of Alf Garnett and Till Death Us Do Part in 1960s and 1970s British culture, ‘Chekhovian’ drama in the Celebrity Big Brother house, troubled relationships in Kidulthood and Adulthood and football as a ‘matter of life and death’ in The Damned United.
In 2006, Manchester University Press published his study, Tears of Laughter: Comedy-Drama in 1990s British Cinema. This book examined the complex and unpredictable effects generated by the combining of comic and dramatic modes of expression in a number of seminal British movies from the 1990s – comedies engaging with contentious issues of class and community in Brassed Off and The Full Monty; dramas exploring questions of identity and allegiance in British culture (East is East and My Son the Fanatic), and romantic comedies featuring characters searching – sometimes rather desperately – for true and lasting love (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill and Love Actually).
Nigel is currently working on a follow-up study for Manchester University Press entitled ‘Love in a Damp Climate’: Sex and Desire in British films of the 2000s. This book will explore how modern-day film-makers in Britain rose to the challenge of portraying a diverse set of characters’ personal desires and intimate encounters, past and present, during the changing social, psychological and economic landscape of the twenty-first century. The study includes chapters on the cycle of films dramatizing the live, loves and relationships of such famous and diverse writers as John Keats, Oscar Wilde, Sylvia Plath and Iris Murdoch, and an examination of the Bridget Jones film trilogy following Bridget’s progress from the ‘edge of reason’ to marriage and motherhood. The book also examines a series of narratives concerned with the pains, perils and pleasures of relationships in Western culture and British society at differing points in time (Adulthood, Closer, One Day, Ae Fond Kiss, 9 Songs, 45 Years, The Look of Love, Notes on a Scandal, God’s Own Country, Disobedience, On Chesil Beach).
The book as a whole will seek to illustrate that a focus on the themes of love and desire in British cinema during recent decades can also lead out into a consideration of a wide range of topics and concerns – the emotional connections between people and places; the spiritual and emotional health of a culture; the aesthetic, thematic and narrative accomplishments of British cinema in the 2000s. Examining the treatment of such pervasive subjects and emotions within contemporary forms of film-making also opens up possibilities for an enhanced understanding and appreciation of how we, as film spectators and viewers, currently live out our hopes, fears and aspirations in relation to sexual matters and affairs of the heart.