Biography

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filmography

Since directing the Brass Eye series and pilots from 1995-1997, Michael has continuously worked with the cream of comedy and acting talent in many different styles; sitcoms, comedy drama, sketches, political satire and the simply unclassifiable. These include five series of The Mark Thomas Product; Matt Lucas & David Walliams in Rock Profile; Three Non Blondes; Mark Steel Lectures; Bremner, Bird & Fortune; World Of Pub; Jack Dee’s Full Mountie; The Lenny Henry Show; Alistair McGowan’s Big Impression; The Peter Serafinowicz Show; Snuff Box; The Omid Djalili Show; Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle; Going Forward - starring Jo Brand and three series of Matt Berry’s BAFTA winning sitcom Toast Of London. His feature-documentary & Q&A - Oxide Ghosts: The Brass Eye Tapes played 60 shows in cinemas up and down the country in 2017 and has continued to sell out cinemas, comedy clubs and festivals ever since.

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Michael has directed a hugely diverse range of work; television, commercials and short films, shooting on location and in the studio, on single and multi camera. He started his professional directing career at the BBC in 1987, producing & directing short films for the flagship science series Tomorrows World and has also directed childrens TV series, documentaries and entertainment shows, including Lonely Planet; The Word and The Sunday Show.

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backstory

Michael was born in Windermere, in the English Lake District. He made his first films aged 13 in the school ciné club. A semi-professional musician at fourteen, playing for ten pounds a night in a local cabaret duo, he spent the next ten years in and out of various bands playing punk, post-punk, jazz, pop and experimental music. Performing in bands for comedy revues at the Edinburgh festival  and a nomination in the very first Perrier Awards gave him his first taste for directing comedy. Michael continues to be involved in music - as Play And Record he co-wrote, performed & produced the songs for the comedy drama for children – ‘Hounded’ that was broadcast in 2010 on BBC1 and CBBC.

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As a video artist and painter in the mid 1980s, Michael exhibited his work at galleries up and down the country, including the Whitworth Young Contemporaries in Manchester and the Bracknell, Brighton and Sheffield Video Festivals. A collection of his video art work is held in the BFI archive and his current and 1980’s films are regularly broadcast on the experimental American cable TV show Here Comes Everyone.  He gained an Honours degree in Fine Art in 1985, studying under film maker Guy Sherwin at the University of Wolverhampton and at L’Ecole Des Beaux Arts in Angers, France. Michael then moved to London to take a much sought after place at the Royal College of Art film school and later at the Stockholm Academy of Dramatic Arts. Michael gained his Masters in Film, with Distinction, in 1987 and made - with their full cooperation - film dramas based on the work of avant-garde composer John Cage and American literary giant Kurt Vonnegut. His graduation short ‘Our Father’, starring Don Henderson, is part of the Vonnegut Archive left by the author to the Lilly Library at Indiana University. Michael continues to produce independent films, paintings and multimedia artworks today.

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In pursuit of television gold Michael has climbed on a roof with Buzz Aldrin, hugged Big Bird, canoodled with porn stars, been ringside for Chris Morris v Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank. He’s taken a drive with George Best, attended Pele’s wedding, conducted the last major interviews with both Rik Mayall and Ken Dodd and been unceremoniously booted out of the White House. 

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In 2017 Michael was awarded an honorary doctorate for his outstanding contribution to television & filmmaking.

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television comedy directing credits

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Going Forward - (Series) 2016 BBC4

Improvised comedy drama series staring Jo Brand

Toast Of London - (Series 3) 2015 C4

Toast Of London - (Series 2) 2014 C4 

Winner, best comedy actor - Matt Berry BAFTA 2015

Toast Of London - (Series 1) 2013 C4 

Winner, best sitcom - Rose d’Or & British Comedy Awards

Gittins - 2012 C4

Broadcast pilot starring David Earl

The Unspeakable Play - 2012 C4

Toast Of London broadcast pilot

Mark Steel’s In... Leith - 2012 BBC 

Multi-camera director

Show Me The Funny - (Series) 2011 ITV 1

Multi-camera director

Stewart Lee 41st Best Stand Up Ever - 2010 Comedy Central 

Multi-camera director

The Omid Djalili Show - (Series 2) 2009 BBC1

Location & studio director/co-writer 

Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle - 2008/9 BBC 2 

Location & studio director - pilot/parts show 1&2

The Omid Djalili Show -(Series 1)2007 BBC 1

Location & studio director - pilot & series 1

The Peter Serafinowicz Show - 2007 BBC2

Pilot/parts of series 

Lenny Henry: So Much Things To Say - 2007 BBC1

Multi-camera director

Touch Me I’m Karen Taylor - 2006 BBC3

Location & studio director - pilot/special

Snuff Box - (Series) 2006 BBC3

Matt Berry & Rich Fulcher’s cult comedy

Lenny Henry Show - (Series 2) 2005 BBC1

Location & studio director

Mark Steel Lectures - (Series 2) 2005 BBC4/2 

BAFTA nominated

Lenny Henry Show - (Series 1) 2004 BBC1

Location & studio director

Mark Steel Lectures - (Series 1) 2004 BBC4/2

Comedy & documentary combines

Three Non Blondes - (Series 1) 2003 BBC3/2

Hidden camera show

The Secret Map Of Britain - 2002 C4

Mark Thomas 60min special. Co-director

Mark Thomas Product - (Series 5) 2002 C4

Location & studio director

World Of Pub - (Series) 2001 BBC2

Sitcom starring Peter Serafinowicz, Kevin Eldon and Phil Cornwell

Bremner, Bird & Fortune’s Exit Poll - 2001 C4 

Location director

Jack Dee’s Full Mountie - (Series) 2000 BBC1

Location & multi-camera director

Alistair McGowan’s Big Impression - (Series 1) 2000 BBC1 

Location & studio director. Winner, British Comedy Awards

Mark Thomas Product - (Series 3) 2000 C4

Location & studio director

Rock Profile - (Series 1) 1999 BBC2

Matt Lucas & David Walliams star 

Mark Thomas Product - (Series 2) 1999 C4

Location & studio director

Shadows Of Reflection - 1999 C4

Kevin Eldon’s Comedy Lab

Mark Thomas Asylum Bill - 1998 C4

60min special

Rory Bremner: From Blair To Here - 1998 

C4 Location director

The Mark Thomas Comedy Product - (Series 1) 1998 C4 

Location & studio director

Brass Eye - (Series)1996-97 C4

Location & studio director - series and 2 pilots

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other television screen credits  

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Hounded - (Series) 2010 BBC1

Music composer/performer/producer 

Down The Line: Behind The Microphone – 2006 BBC Red Button 

Whitehouse & Higson documentary.  Director/producer/camera

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang - (Series) 1999 C4

Cinema Series with Charlie Higson. Series Director 

National Football Awards - 2001 ITV

Location director

The Sunday Show - (Series 2) 1996 BBC2

USA location producer/director/writer

The Word - (Series 5) -1995 C4 

USA & UK location producer/director/writer

Lonely Planet: Brazil - 1994 C4

Also, 60 min version for National Geographic channel & DVD

Over The Moon -1994 C4 

Director/co-producer/writer

An Afternoon On The Moon - 1994 BBC1

Co-producer/location director/co-writer

TVFM - (Series)1993 TCC

Studio & location director 

The Edge - (Series) 1993 ITV

Location director 

Secret Lives - (Series) ITV 1993 

Documentary Series. Director/producer

The TCC Club - (Series) 1992 TCC

Studio & locations director

Roustabout - (Series)1991 TCC

Studio & locations director

The Steve & Danny Show - (Series)1990 

TCC Studio director

Eric Wallace’s Ghost Stories - ITV 1989 

Director/producer/writer

Tomorrows World - (Series) BBC1 1988 

Location film director/producer/writer

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commercials, corporate & etc.

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Cravendale: The Moonicow - 2017

Commercial.  Agency: Wieden & Kennedy

Pilgrims Choice - 2016

Commercial. Agency: Kamarama 

Alan Davies: Life Is Pain - 2012  

Hammersmith Apollo show stand up DVD

Mintacular - 2012

Commercial.  Agency: Wieden + Kennedy 

Oddka - 2012

Commercial.  Agency: Euro RSCG/Aardman 

Cracking Ideas - 2010

Short film to promote Aardman Animation competition 

Stewart Lee: 41st Best Stand Up Ever

2009 The Stand, Glasgow show stand up DVD

Snuff Box DVD Launch - 2008

Live show producer/director 

Mark Thomas: Serious Organised Criminal -  2007 

Tricycle Theatre, London show stand up DVD 

Lenny Henry: So Much Things To Say - 2006 

Hackney Empire show stand up DVD

GLC: Anti Litter - 2002

Cinema Commercial 

Motorola : V Box - 2001

Commercial 

The Gill & Mark Story - 1991

Eastenders spin-off educational video

Various corporate films -1988 -1990

Including: Trusthouse Forte, British Gas, Walkers Crisps, British Rail, 

Fiat, Citroen, Royal Life, Du Pont, The National Lottery

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films and video art 

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Blackpool Rock: The Comedy Carpet - Currently in post production

Feature length, cinema only release, documentary. Director & editor

Oxide Ghosts: The Brass Eye Tapes - 2017

Cinema only release.  Director/producer/editor/narrator

Sixteen Music Films For Matt Berry - 2015/16 

Projected live to accompany songs at gigs. Director/producer/camera/editor

Across A Lake, Below The Hill - 2015 

Film to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of The Lakes School. Shown as part of ‘The Less Familiar:How Artists Work With Buildings’. Kings College 2016

Producer/director/editor/super 8 camera/co-writer

Video In/Audio Out - 2014

5 video shorts. Producer/director/camera/editor/composer

The Assisted Reality Trilogy (260 Feet Deep) - 2010 

Three video shorts. Producer/director/writer/camera/edit/narrator/composer

At Coniston 12/9/2001 

Video short. Producer/director/camera/edit

Beachcomber - 1989 

Arts Council funded short film with artist Kevin Carr. Producer/director/co-writer

4’33” - 1987 

Short film based on an idea by, and with the permission of, John Cage. 

Director/co-producer/writer/editor

Our Father -1987 

Short film based on an idea by, and with the permission of, Kurt Vonnegut. 

Stars Don Henderson.Director/co-producer/writer/editor

The One & Only - 1986 

BAFTA nominated short film. Stars Eric Wallace. 

Co-producer/director/writer

The Rich Baron - 1986 

Arts Council financed. Director/camera/editor

Episodes From A Life - 1984-86

Series of shorts. Director/camera/editor/performer

Various film & video art shorts - 1984-86 

Held in the BFI Archives. Producer/director/writer/camera/editor/performer

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