Writing

BOOKS

Coming Soon

 

Essay in accompanying booklet to the the 40th Anniversary BFI release of Hair

Published

WJEC EDUQAS Film Studies for A Level and AS
Illuminate Publishing. June 2018.

Part of a small writing team on the textbook for the new WJEC EDUQAS Film Studies syllabus. Chapters on Film Form, Institutional Contexts (Case study films: The Arbor and Dil Se),
Global Filmmaking (Case study films: Mustang Taxi Tehran) and German Expressionism (Case study film: Sunrise).


More information.

In the Scene: Jane Campion

Supernova Books.  May 2018.

A film by film look at this astonishing and groundbreaking filmmaker from her early shorts to her recent TV success with Top of the Lake.

More information.

Electric Pictures: A Guide to Films, Filmmakers and Cinemas of Worthing and Shoreham
Co-written with James Clarke

The History Press. March 2017.

Celebrating the breadth and historical significance of filmmaking and cinemagoing in Worthing and Shoreham, West Sussex.

"I am appalled by my ignorance. Having devoted most of my life to working in the film and television industry, I discover I have been ignorant of a significant portion of British cinematic history. That is, until I read this thoroughly entertaining book, Electric Pictures." David Leland, director of Wish You Were Here

More information.
 

Silent Women: Pioneers of Cinema

Supernova Books. March 2016.

Edited by Melody Bridges and Cheryl Robson this book explores the incredible contribution of women at the dawn of cinema when, surprisingly, more women were employed across the board in the film industry than they are now. 

“Inspirational and informative, Silent Women will challenge many people's ideas about the beginnings of film history. This fascinating book roams widely across the era and the diverse achievements and voices of women in the film industry. These are the stories of pioneers, trailblazers and collaborators - hugely enjoyable to read and vitally important to publish.” Pamela Hutchinson, Silent London

More information about Silent Women: Pioneers of Cinema

Counterculture UK – a celebration

Supernova Books. October 2015.

Edited by Cheryl Robson and Rebecca Gillieron this is first comprehensive exploration of counterculture in the UK – from illegal raves to street art, subversive comedy and agit theatre to LGBT clubs, pop-up galleries, guerilla gigs, flash dance, digital publishing, disability arts and much more, including my chapter on film - Beyond the Mainstream.

"A wonderfully scholarly, readable and useful treat into on the perils of labelling culture." 
Helen Lederer, Actress, Writer, Comedienne


More information on Counterculture UK - a celebration


 

The Charlie Chaplin Archives ​

Taschen. August 2015.​

Edited by Paul Duncan, The Charlie Chaplin Archives celebrates Chaplin's life through his movies. I wrote chapters on his childhood and theatre career, his first year in Hollywood at Keystone, and his move to Essanay Studios.  The book offers a comprehensive overview to Chaplin's film career and is beautifully illustrated with rare finds from the archives.

 

"The most un-put-downable movie book of the season is also the most un-pick-uppable one: The Charlie Chaplin Archives (Taschen), which is the size of a small suitcase and weighs in at fourteen pounds, packed tightly with five hundred and sixty pages’ worth of thick and glossy paper bearing a treasure trove of superbly printed images alongside a relentlessly fascinating collage-like textual biography of Chaplin. It’s an apt tribute to the filmmaker, whose artistry transcends the cinema and spans world-historical dimensions." Richard Brody, The New Yorker, September 2015  Read full review here


"Published in its customary lavish ‘coffee-table’ style — i.e. roughly the size and shape of a coffee table — Taschen’s latest treasure trove trawls the Chaplin family archives, and Chaplin’s own extensive writings, in an unprecedented attempt to assemble the entire Chaplin history in words and pictures (900 of them). It’s an astounding piece of work, even by Taschen’s lofty standards."  ***** David Hughes, Empire Magazine, July 2015   Read full review here

More information about The Charlie Chaplin Archives


 

Bio-Pics: a life in pictures

Wallflower Press/Columbia University Press. January 2015.

Bio-pics: A Life in Pictures offers a series of case studies which throw light on this most unique of genres. Is the bio-pic a genre in its own right? Or are such films merely footnotes in other more traditional genres such as the western or costume drama, depending on the historical figure under scrutiny. Unlike other genre forms bio-pics seemingly share no familiar iconography, codes or conventions. They can be set anywhere and at any time. What links them is quite simply that the films depict the life of an ‘important’ person. Through a carefully selected range of thematically linked (English-language) bio-pics released since 1990 this book explores key issues surrounding their resurgence, narrative structure, production, subject representation or misrepresentation, and critical response. The films under discussion are grouped around a profession allowing for comparisons to be drawn in approaches to similar subject matter.


More information about Bio-Pics: a life in pictures


 

The James Bond Archives ​

Taschen. October 2012.

​Edited by Paul Duncan, The James Bond Archives celebrates 50 years of Bond movies. A chapter by chapter behind the scenes glimpse of how the Bond movies are made - with plenty of fabulous photos.

I wrote chapters on The Living Daylights, Licence to Kill and Quantum of Solace.  From a plethora of  treatments, scripts, production reports and interviews, I then had the overwhelming task of assembling these to tell how the films were made through first-hand accounts of the people that created the Bond movie magic.

​​

"The James Bond Archives is a must for 007 fanatics. Taking each film in turn, actors, directors, producers and other crew members give their take on each production and a picture forms quickly of a team of creative individuals determined to make the best films they can. Where the book is strongest is at the beginning and end of each chapter with the producers and actors talking of the expectations on them, how they are finding their footing on the shifting sands of cultural and societal concerns, and their hopes for the next film. The chapter [written by Ellen Cheshire] on Licence to Kill (and in fact the whole saga of Timothy Dalton) makes for fascinating reading. Telling how Dalton’s take on Bond helped to resurrect the character from parody only to fall foul of an undetermined production process and a rapid rethinking of the tone and violence inherent in the stories he led, there is a philosophical touch to the views made in hindsight. The book is richly illustrated with hundreds of production stills and posters… [is] a fine tribute to the man so good he names himself twice."  Jon Lyus, heyuguys.co.uk


More information about The James Bond Archives


 

Under Fire: a century of war movies​​

Ian Allan Publishing.  September 2009.​

​Edited by Jay Slater, unlike the majority of popular and academic books on war movies, this volume covers many aspects of the war cinema genre. As well as examining movies focussing upon specific conflicts, it also places each work within a wider social context, exploring related themes and issues of the time.  

I wrote a chapter on German Cinema of WWII entitled "Don't Come To Me with Polticial Material".

"Under Fire is simply a must-have for people seriously interested in war movies or even movies in general. This is really something to sink your teeth into. This is not a movie guide as such. It is not recommending or rating anything. Under Fire provides criticism and analysis for those who like to interpret not only the apparent but also the subtext. This book is really worth having and I am quite excited about this find that manages so well to show the variety, the depth and the virtuosity of war movies." allaboutwarmovies.com


 

Audrey Hepburn Audiobook

Summersdale Publishers. January 2009.

Unabridged recording narrated by Joy Gerladi.

As well as an introductory essay, the Pocket Essential Audrey Hepburn has at its core Audrey the film star and each of her films (and the re-makes) is reviewed and analysed, including background information and trivia.

Pocket Essentials​

Oldcastle Books.

Almost everything you want to know about film directors, stars and genres: critical insights. introductory essays by experts; detailed biographies; plot summaries; bibliographies; essential trivia ...​

I wrote the following Pocket Essentials...

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The Coen Brothers [revised 3rd Edition] (Co-author), Pocket Essentials, October 2004​

The Coen Brothers [revised 2nd Edition] (Co-author), Pocket Essentials, June 2002

​The Coen Brothers  (Co-author with John Ashbrook), Pocket Essentials, April 2000

“The Pocket Essentials Film books are a revelation.  Slender enough to fit in a pocket (hence the name), informative, authoritative, amusingly written … whatever criteria the authors hit upon for their decisions obviously worked well, because what is here paints a complete picture in the Coen Brothers …the films themselves are intelligently dissected.  The analysis is never over wordy or pretentious, opting more sensibly to pitch the books at film fans that may want to know that little bit more.” 6degrees.co.uk

 

Audrey Hepburn, Pocket Essentials, January 2004

As with others in the series, it’s a book to dip into rather than read from cover to cover. Strong on fact and trivia.” Empire, April 2004

 

“Audrey Hepburn is an inescapable screen legend, but one who is sadly more often remembered for a handful of films.  Ellen Cheshire’s affectionate homage goes some way to remedying this, recounting the life of the Hollywood great in a light-hearted and accessible tone that puts it alongside the other worthy entries in the Pocket Essentials series.”​Kamera.co.uk, April 2004

Ang Lee, Pocket Essentials, November 2001

“A solid introduction to the very private filmmaker.” NAATA, February 2003

“As the label ‘Pocket Essentials’ indicates, this book covers all you really need to know about someone who is rapidly becoming one of the major directors at work nowadays.” Dowse.com, January 2002

​​Jane Campion, Pocket Essentials, September 2000

“Those in search of a more evenly weighted work [on Jane Campion] are directed to Ellen Cheshire’s equally accomplished book on the director in the Pocket Essentials series.”​ Kamera.co.uk from a review on the BFI Publishing book on Jane Campion by Dana Polan

“Altogether, anyone interested in exploring Campion’s work might find more factual material, and more judgments to engage with, in Ellen Cheshire’s rather cheaper Pocket Essential Jane Campion.”​ Philip Kemp, Times Higher Education Supplement, 25 October 2003 from a review on the BFI Publishing book on Jane Campion by Dana Polan

Science Fiction World's Top 100 Box Office Fantasy Films​​
Science Fiction World.  August 2000.

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Contributor for all the Walt Disney film entries.

“Audrey Hepburn is an inescapable screen legend, but one who is sadly more often remembered for a handful of films.  Ellen Cheshire’s affectionate homage goes some way to remedying this, recounting the life of the Hollywood great in a light-hearted and accessible tone that puts it alongside the other worthy entries in the Pocket Essentials series.”​

Kamera.co.uk

 

"The chapter [written by Ellen Cheshire] on Licence to Kill (and in fact the whole saga of Timothy Dalton) makes for fascinating reading. Telling how Dalton’s take on Bond helped to resurrect the character from parody only to fall foul of an undetermined production process and a rapid rethinking of the tone and violence inherent in the stories he led, there is a philosophical touch to the views made in hindsight."

Jon Lyus, heyuguys.co.uk

 

“I was very impressed in Silent Women to see how much more you were able 
to find out about Jessica Borthwick than I did.” Kevin Brownlow

"Ellen's copy was delivered on schedule, it was well written and thoroughly researched. Her chapter had a particular 'voice', identity and clarity that attracted me. Her work would appeal to the academic as well as the mainstream reader due to its accessibility. As editor, I have no reservation in asking Ellen to write for future projects as it has been a professional joy to work with her."  

Jay Slater, editor Under Fire: a century of war movies

 

"I have found Ellen to always be extremely enthusiastic about each task I have asked her to carry out, even when outside her comfort zone, and have found her willing to persevere and go the extra mile when plans go awry. I have no hesitation in recommending her." 

Paul Duncan, Film Book Editor, Taschen Books

MAGAZINES
REVIEWS

I have written Film and Literature features and reviews for a number of publications including Sight & Sound, The Iris Murdoch Review, Sussex Life, Chichester Observer, South Coast Magazine, GScene, Classic Television, Desi, Crime Time, Movie Memories, kamera.co.uk, Science Fiction World and Matrix.

Research

With a specialism in film and local history I have carried out research on behalf of Book Publishers and TV Production Companies including BBC, Carlton Television, Aurora Metro Books and Taschen Books.

 

I have worked as a researcher on Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) projects for Worthing WOW and History People UK.

 

 

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