DO you have a favourite film genre? Sometimes I think mine is horror or maybe science fiction but then I recall cherished movies like Stand By Me, The Breakfast Club and Quadrophenia and realise it's probably the 'Coming of Age' films I saw as a teenager that had the most impact on me.

Luckily renowned film expert Mark Kermode feels the same and made the genre the latest subject of his excellent five-part documentary series, Secrets of Cinema in which he presents a very personal look at the art of film making by examining the techniques and conventions behind some classic genres: romcoms, heist movies, coming-of-age stories, science fiction and horror. So far in each episode, Kermode has uncovered the ingredients needed to make a great genre film and keep audiences coming back for more.

Kermode is not to everyone's taste and when he starts his exploration with an analysis of obscure 70s flick Jeremy there is a sense that he's trying to be wilfully obscure, but as always with the be-quiffed critic he wins you over with his passion and knowledge. He describes Jeremy as "a film that touched his soul and broke his heart" and soon he is exploring a number of more well-known films that capture the joy and pain of growing up.

What quickly becomes clear is that these films are often the most autobiographical and personal for the film-maker who usually bases them on his own teenage experiences: think Cameron Crowe with Almost Famous or George Lucas with American Graffiti.

Kermode explains how film-makers across the world repeatedly return to core themes such as first love, breaking away from small-town life and grown-ups who don't understand. And wherever and whenever they are set, these stories are vividly brought to life using techniques such as casting non-professional actors, camerawork that captures a child's-eye view and nostalgic pop soundtracks.

Of course the biggest treat is seeing the clips that illustrate these points. Rebel Without A Cause reminded me of James Dean's astonishing acting ability while my watching wife was able to recite every line spoken by Alicia Silverstone in Clueless. It's funny too especially when Kermode ruminates on quite why he likes Boyz n the Hood so much when he grew up in Finchley rather than South Central LA.

Films as seemingly diverse as Kes and Pretty In Pink also featured with Kermode sifting through their scenes and revealing recurring sequences like the makeover and the group singalong, and characters like the gang and mentor figure, who have helped create some of the most moving and resonant films in cinema. If you love movies you'll love this programme.

Mark Kermode’s Secrets of Cinema is available to watch on BBC iPlayer now.