Thick anatase films were fabricated on graphite substrates using a method of anodic aqueous electrophoretic-deposition using oxalic acid as a dispersant. Thick films were subsequently fired in air and in nitrogen at a range of temperatures. The morphology and phase composition were assessed and the photocatalytic performance was examined by the inactivation of Escherichia coli in water. It was found that the transformation of anatase to rutile is enhanced by the presence of a graphite substrate through reduction effects. The use of a nitrogen atmosphere allows higher firing temperatures, results in less cracking of the films and yields superior bactericidal performance in comparison with firing in air. The beneficial effects of a nitrogen firing atmosphere on the photocatalytic performance of the material are likely to be a result of the diffusion of nitrogen and carbon into the TiO2 lattice and the consequent creation of new valence band states.