michael  cumming


Michael Cumming is a British director - best known for his television comedy work. His screen credits range from the controversial and inspirational Brass Eye series, to cult classics Snuff Box & Mark Thomas Product, to quality prime time series  Alistair McGowan’s Big Impression and The Omid Djalili Show. Michael’s latest series is the Matt Berry sitcom for Channel 4, Toast Of London.

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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 25 years ago at the BBC on Tomorrows World and has also directed childrens series, documentaries and entertainment shows. Michael has also worked extensively throughout North & South America and Europe on - Lonely Planet (C4), The Word (C4) and The Sunday Show (BBC 2).

Since directing the groundbreaking Brass Eye pilot & series from 1995-1997, Michael has continuously worked with the cream of British comedy and acting talent in many different styles; sketches, sitcoms, stand up, hidden camera, political satire and the simply unclassifiable. These include five series of The Mark Thomas Product; World Of Pub; Matt Lucas & David Walliams in Rock Profile; Three Non Blondes; two series of the BAFTA nominated Mark Steel Lectures; Bremner, Bird & Fortune; Jack Dee’s Full Mountie; Touch Me I’m Karen Taylor, Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle; The Peter Serafinowicz Show, Matt Berry & Rich Fulcher’s cult series Snuff Box and two series of the award winning sitcom - Toast Of London. Michael’s work has also been a fixture of mainstream comedy since 2000. He has directed two prime time series of The Lenny Henry Show (BBC1), Alistair McGowan’s Big Impression (BBC1) - which won Best Comedy Entertainment Show at the Comedy Awards 2000, The Omid Djalili Show (BBC1) and Show Me The Funny (ITV1).


Michael was born in Windermere, in the English Lake District. 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 (1981- 83), and a nomination in the very first Perrier Awards gave him his first taste for directing and for 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.

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.  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, Angers. Michael then moved to London to take a much sought after place at the Royal College of Art film school - where he studied under Prof. Dick Ross and at the Stockholm Academy of Dramatic Arts. Michael gained a Masters with Distinction in 1987 and made - with their full cooperation - short drama films based on the work of avant-garde composer John Cage and American literary giant Kurt Vonnegut. His graduation short ‘Our Father’ - starring Don Henderson - premiered at BAFTA and is part of the Vonnegut Archive left by the author to the Lilly Library at Indiana University.

In pursuit of television gold Michael has climbed on a roof with Buzz Aldrin, hugged Big Bird, kissed porn stars, been ringside for Chris Morris v Nigel Benn & Chris Eubank, taken a drive with George Best, attended Pele’s wedding and been booted off the White House lawn.

This site collates various adventures in television, film, music and art and links to thousands of clips and photographs of Michael Cumming’s work.

Pictures and Music