Philip Gillett was among the first students of the Open University, where he was introduced to the uses of film in historical studies and where he gained a taste for historical research. This led to further study at what is now Liverpool John Moores University. His interests then took him into the disparate fields of town planning and herbal medicine. After working for an environmental pressure group over several years and both teaching and practising herbal medicine, he returned to his earlier academic enthusiasms, completing a PhD at London Metropolitan University in 2000.
His thesis was published as The British Working Class in Postwar Film (2003). Since then, he has written three books including Film and Morality (2012) and Forgotten British Film: Value and the Ephemeral in Postwar Cinema (2017), both published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing. In addition he has been a regular contributor to the online film journal Offscreen. He is currently completing a book on film as historical source, examining what can be gleaned from a range of British postwar films. His wide-ranging academic interests include the relationship between film and philosophy, how films are evaluated, the history of cinema buildings and Enid Blyton’s uncertain place in British literature.