One of you, many of us.
The Board

Directors UK is a governed by an elected Board of Directors drawn from its membership. The current Board is comprised of the following directors:

Beryl Richards - Chair

Which project of yours are you most proud of?

Wrong Planet, a feature film I am currently working on, developed from three short films centred around my son’s story and played by him.

In TV, My Life as a Popat, a bonkers comedy series which won a BAFTA, a number of other awards and an Emmy nomination. Both times a lot of creative freedom.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

I can’t ever remember being given any… maybe I’ve never asked for it… maybe I should!

What’s your favourite film?

Changes all the time, this year I liked Force Majure, Carol and 45 Years. In the last few years I’ve loved the Australian indie film Animal Kingdom.

What’s your favourite TV show?

This year… Transparent and Undercover.

Favourite piece of dialogue/quotation?

“Well, nobody's perfect!” Last line of Some like it Hot.

If you could change one thing about the film/TV industry to make directors’ lives better, what would it be?

Taking away all the unfair practices that come from our freelance status.

What do you think is the most pressing issue facing directors?

Pay, including payment of rights, equality of opportunity, and creative freedom, sorry that’s three or four.

Which director do you most admire and why?

Lots… Jane Campion, Clare Denis, Lynne Ramsay, Almodovar, Wes Anderson, David Lynch, Todd Haynes, Scorsese, Tim Burton, Richard Linklater.

Steve Smith - Vice-Chair and Chair of the Entertainment and Multi-Camera Committee

Steve Smith

Which project of yours are you most proud of?

It’s hard to single out one project. I’m very proud of the first television programme I ever made at the age of 18 with a group of friends for the BBC Community Programmes Unit. It was part of the “Something Else” youth strand and was a documentary looking at divorce from the point of view of the kids involved. It was groundbreaking at the time back in 1979. I’m also proud of The Graham Norton Show - and for being able to deliver consistently strong, funny and entertaining shows after 17 series and still winning BAFTA awards for doing so.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

At the age of 18 by my first boss - a wonderful film editor called Kitty Wood who was in her late 50s when I became her assistant. “Always be nice to people on the way up in your career as you will meet them on the way down”. It’s not hard - be nice to the production runner - one-day they will be your boss or channel a controller (Hi Stuart Murphy at Sky).

What’s your favourite film?

The Sheltering Sky directed by Bernardo Bertolucci.

What’s your favourite TV show?

In 2014 it was The Honourable Woman directed and written by Hugo Blick.

Favourite piece of dialogue/quotation?

“Infamy, infamy, they've all got it in for me!”, by the wonderful Kenneth Williams as Julius Caesar in Carry On Cleo.

“Hey, don't knock masturbation. It's sex with someone I love” - Woody Allen in Annie Hall.

If you could change one thing about the film/TV industry to make directors’ lives better, what would it be?

To ensure we have strong creative rights agreements in place with all producers and broadcasters to safeguard the directors rights and responsibilities.

What do you think is the most pressing issue facing directors?

Directors face being excluded from so many of the key creative decisions - this marginalisation makes it harder for directors to make a full-time living in the industry. For me it’s about safeguarding rights, fighting for fair pay and ensuring a directors creative rights are protected and respected.

Which director do you most admire and why?

From the world of film - Bernardo Bertolucci. The TV director (and producer) I admired was Michael Hurll, responsible for so many great entertainment programmes from Top of the Pops to The Two Ronnies. As a young director I aspired to direct many of the shows Michael produced and directed. I worked with him briefly in 2000 when he executive produced a Cilla Black series I directed. He knew so much about the world of comedy and entertainment and was so generous with his time and advice. He was responsible for some of the nations favourite Saturday night shows. 

Tom Roberts - Vice-Chair

Which project of yours are you most proud of?

Staying Lost.

What’s the best advice you've ever been given?

Trust your instincts.

What’s your favourite film?

Casablanca.

What’s your favourite TV show?

True Detective.

Favourite piece of dialogue/quotation?

“I've got a job to do, too. Where I’m going, you can’t follow. What I’ve got to do, you can’t be any part of. Ilsa, I'm no good at being noble, but it doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you’ll understand that”, from Casablanca.

If you could change one thing about the film/TV industry to make directors’ lives better, what would it be?

Proper recognition of the essential work we do.

What do you think is the most pressing issue facing directors?

Respect and pay, or pay and respect. Either way one contributes to the other.

Which director do you most admire and why?

Michael Mann and Paul Greengrass: because they have continually pushed the boundaries of visual and technical expression while recognising the fundamental importance of sound storytelling. 

Delyth Thomas - Vice-Chair

Which project of yours are you most proud of?

I have shows of which I'm proud for all sorts of different reasons - Tati's Hotel because it was such a challenge to make, The Deal because despite hideous food poisoning in the middle of nowhere (low budget - no loos) it turned out ok, and The Story of Tracy Beaker because it's such a loved show - still.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

‘When all else fails - stay one shot ahead of the crew’.

What’s your favourite film?

ONE!????!!!!! Aliens.

What’s your favourite TV show?

The Edge of Darkness (the original).

Favourite piece of dialogue/quotation?

From Aliens: “get away from her you bitch”. Doesn't look so good in print….

If you could change one thing about the film/TV industry to make directors’ lives better, what would it be?

Realistic budgets please.

What do you think is the most pressing issue facing directors?

Not having realistic budgets so that we are working on the cusp of achievable. The knife's edge can be a painful place to be.

Which director do you most admire and why?

Again…ONE!!!?!!

Ari Folman - for Waltz with Bashir, a brave film that finds a way to say the unsayble.

And Jafar Panahi for his sheer tenacity in making This Is Not a Film, despite being banned from making films, being under house arrest, he still manages to make an amazing honest film that isn't a film which has stayed with me.

Kathyrn Bigalow - because she's bucked a trend, follows no path other than the one she wants to…and makes great films.

Bill Anderson - Chair of the TV Fiction Committee

Bill Anderson

Which project of yours are you most proud of?

Sword of Honour.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

“When reading a script, disregard all the adjectives and adverbs. Nouns and verbs are what matter – they deliver photographable action” - Paul Dickson.

What’s your favourite film?

The Red Shoes.

What’s your favourite TV show?

The Larry Sanders Show.

Favourite piece of dialogue/quotation?

“That was just talk – we’d lose the audience” - Studio Exec Monroe Stahr (Robert De Niro) to writer George Boxley (Donald Pleasance) on his dialogue heavy rewrites in The Last Tycoon (1976), Dir. Elia Kazan.

If you could change one thing about the film/TV industry to make directors’ lives better, what would it be?

Late scripts.

What do you think is the most pressing issue facing directors?

Systemic exclusion from the Producer/Writer/Director core creative team.

Which director do you most admire and why?

Michael Powell and Alejandro González Iñárritu. They both combine a voracious zest for life with compassion.

Nic Guttridge - Chair of the TV Factual Committee

Which project of yours are you most proud of?

Through A Child's Eyes.

What’s the best advice you've ever been given?

If something feels wrong, don't do it even if everyone around you says you should. Your instincts are your best friend. 

What’s your favourite film?

Some Like It Hot.

What’s your favourite TV show?

Modern Family.

Favourite piece of dialogue/quotation?

“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by” - Douglas Adams.

If you could change one thing about the film/TV industry to make directors’ lives better, what would it be?

I would make it a requirement that all commissioners had a background in programme-making.

What do you think is the most pressing issue facing directors?

The challenges that young would-be directors face in getting relevant experience these days is very concerning. The opportunities to work alongside established directors, to watch crews in action, and to shadow edits are few and far between - which makes it very difficult for people to learn the craft of directing in any structured way. 

Which director do you most admire and why?

Anyone who successfully directed more than one episode of Wife Swap is my hero. It nearly killed me!

Dan Zeff - Chair of the Distribution Committee

Which project of yours are you most proud of?

Hattie would have to be up there - a touching, thoughtful, and original drama made for BBC4 with a wonderful team and a lot of creative freedom.. And there's a special place in my heart for Sweetnightgoodheart - An early short that I wrote and directed, starring an insanely young David Tennant.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

'If you want to learn about directing, direct.'

What’s your favourite film?

Fellini's Amarcord.

What’s your favourite TV show?

Drama: The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Fargo

Comedy: Louie, Community, Veep

Favourite piece of dialogue/quotation?

‘No Matter. Try Again. Fail Again. Fail Better’.

If you could change one thing about the film/TV industry to make directors’ lives better, what would it be?

Outlaw 6 day shooting weeks. Or at least make them the rare exception rather than the norm.

What do you think is the most pressing issue facing directors?

The combination of stagnant pay and increasingly demanding working conditions and hours.

Which director do you most admire and why?

Preston Sturges - a true original and trailblazer. One of the first Hollywood writers to turn writer-director, he made genre-defying films that are still razor-fresh today, funny and sharp, touching and cynical - 'like a jab in the ribs, a sexy kiss in a church.' If rumours are to be believed, he also invented the first Kiss-Proof Lipstick.

Otto Bathurst - Nations and Regions Representative for South West England

Otto Bathurst - Nations & Regions Representative for South-West England

Which project of yours are you most proud of?

It’s hard. Apart from a pilot I shot in the US last year, I’m proud of everything that I have done in that I have given it my all and squeezed as much gold out of the opportunity as possible. But possibly Black Mirror. You don’t need big bucks to create thought provoking content.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Be everything that you are in everything that you do.

What’s your favourite film?

I don’t have one. My top 10 changes all the time. For example when I was shooting Peaky Blinders, Nikolaj Arcel’s A Royal Affair was blowing me away each time I watched it. So it changes. District 9. Ghost Dog. Hoop Dreams. The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Magnolia. The Insider. The Consequences of Love. Elephant Man…but then, if I’m with my kids, it’s all about Real Steel!

What’s your favourite TV show?

I actually watch very little TV. The little amount of time I get to spend in front of a screen is usually taken up with watching movies.

Favourite piece of dialogue/quotation?

It’s impossible for me to even begin to choose!

If you could change one thing about the film/TV industry to make directors’ lives better, what would it be?

I can’t really answer that question. Our lives are dependant on the choices that we make. I love my job and prefer to focus on appreciating that.

What do you think is the most pressing issue facing directors?

In the UK - that not enough time or money is spent on scripts, writers and script development. It is all about the script.

Which director do you most admire and why?

Much like my film list, it changes and is dependent on what I am working on and pondering. For example, I am currently greatly enjoying early Michael Mann because I’m shooting an urban thriller. I am a huge fan of Oren Moverman. Tomas Alfredson because Let the Right One In is very close to perfection. PTA - obviously. And then there are others. Gareth Edwards’ Monsters is an astonishing achievement. Neill Blomkamp’s District 9 is right up there for me, but not so much his newer stuff. Nikolaj Arcel (see above), Paolo Sorrentino….the list goes on and on. What I do know is that everyone has peaks and troughs. Which proves to me something that I have always felt - filmmaking is a massively collaborative process and no director can operate in a bubble. That is what I love about it - the other people...and the alchemy of everyone working together.

Philippa Collie Cousins - Nations and Regions Representative for Wales

Which project of yours are you most proud of?

Happy Now? a feature film with Jonathan Rhys Myers and Paddy Considine.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

“Lots of people are talented in this business but few have the true grit it takes to keep going and keep making films”, the great Alan Lewens, Arena director.

What’s your favourite film?

Lawrence of Arabia by David Lean.

What’s your favourite TV show?

The IT Crowd and Father Ted by Graham Linehan.

Favourite piece of dialogue/quotation?

“You’re Mr. Lebowski. I’m the Dude, so that’s what you call me. Or maybe His Dudeness, or Duder, or El Duderino if you’re not into the whole brevity thing”.

If you could change one thing about the film/TV industry to make directors’ lives better, what would it be?

Every good idea pitched gets made with a decent budget.

What do you think is the most pressing issue facing directors?

Most people think it’s the morning puzzle over skinny jeans and Converses or chinos and loafers? But really it’s why is my next door neighbour, Ms Producer, getting her phone number in royalty cheques when I barely get my pin number for the same amount of shows.

Which director do you most admire and why?

Alice Guy-Blaché (July 1, 1873 – March 24, 1968) pioneer director of French cinema. She saw the potential for telling stories on film and persuaded Gaumont to let her make a fiction film.

Illy Hill - Nations and Regions Representative for North West England

Which project of yours are you most proud of?

My community work, encouraging and giving disadvantaged young people a voice to express their opinions through the medium of film.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Don’t take no for an answer and always be forthright, honest and true to yourself and your beliefs.

What’s your favourite film?

Diva.

What’s your favourite TV show?

E.R.

Favourite piece of dialogue/quotation?

“Carpe Diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary”, Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society.

If you could change one thing about the film/TV industry to make directors’ lives better, what would it be?

To give them the recognition and respect that they deserve.

What do you think is the most pressing issue facing directors?

This government and its anti-culture views.

Which director do you most admire and why?

Jeremy Summers, who taught me what directing was all about.

Lotus Hannon - Associate Members’ Representative

Which project of yours are you most proud of? 

Whatever I’m currently working on, as I like to look forward and keep improving.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Don’t wait for the perfect moment, take the moment and make it perfect.

What’s your favourite film? 

I have many! A few are: Out of Sight, The Long Kiss Goodnight, In the Cut, Brothers, Tell No One, Panic Room and The Lives of Others. A recent favourite is Tangerine.

What’s your favourite TV show? 

The original Swedish The Bridge and I really liked River.

Favourite piece of dialogue/quotation?

Again I have many! Some of the most impactful dialogue that comes to mind, is in Chinatown, the scene where just 4 words, “my sister, my daughter” are repeated and punctuated with slaps. It’s disturbingly powerful.

If you could change one thing about the film/TV industry to make directors’ lives better, what would it be?

Create a level playing field for women and diverse directors, including for directors who are mothers: 5 day shooting weeks, so you can maintain continuity in the relationships with your children, at least at the weekends.

What do you think is the most pressing issue facing directors?

How to monetise our work online.

Which director do you most admire and why?

Again I admire many, including Danny Boyle, Suzanne Bier and Jane Campion, but the director I most admire is Bharat Nalluri. He was the first real film director I ever met, in my early 20s, in Newcastle. For me he made directing something within my reach rather than something remote that just happened in Hollywood. I’ve been lucky to be mentored by him and I’ve learnt and been inspired by him so much over the years. He’s an incredibly positive and very intuitive person. I really like his very open and relaxed approach. I love the slickness and sexiness of his directing style: his dynamic use of movement, his highly inventive sleek, smoke-and-mirrors visuals within his action/thriller work. And he also gets incredibly poignant performances from his actors. Tsunami: The Aftermath is so gut-wrenchingly moving.

Piers Haggard

Which project of yours are you most proud of?

Pennies from Heaven, the 1977-8 Dennis Potter scripted miniseries. It won a BAFTA.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Listen to your collaborators.

What’s your favourite film?

Sorry, I have about 10, and they keep changing!

What’s your favourite TV show?

Heimat by Edgar Reitz, the 1980 German TV series. Or latterly, any well made documentary that teaches me something important that I didn’t know. 

Favourite piece of dialogue/quotation?

“Had we but world enough and time…” - Andrew Marvell.

If you could change one thing about the film/TV industry to make directors’ lives better, what would it be?

Acknowledge the importance of directors in television, and respect their craft.

What do you think is the most pressing issue facing directors?

Retaining our artistic identity and freedom. 

Which director do you most admire and why?

Sorry, there are lots, and they change constantly. But they usually include Satyajit Ray, Orson Welles and Robert Altman.

Suri Krishnamma

Which project of yours are you most proud of?

A Respectable Trade.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

If it can go wrong, it will.

What’s your favourite film?

Blue Velvet.

What’s your favourite TV show?

Twin Peaks.

Favourite piece of dialogue/quotation?

“Where’s the goddam story?” - Ben Bradlee, All The Presidents Men.

If you could change one thing about the film/TV industry to make directors’ lives better, what would it be?

Ban ‘Video Village’ from all film and TV sets.

What do you think is the most pressing issue facing directors?

Understanding, and communicating clearly, the role of the director in the moving image process: “to complete the work of the screenwriter” (David Mamet).

Which director do you most admire and why?

Stephen Frears, because he’s so fucking prolific!

Cath Le Couteur

Cath Le Couteur

Which project of yours are you most proud of?

The current in development ones!

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Have more than one project on the go. Or you will go mad.

What’s your favourite film?

Up there, would be Apocalypse Now. I remember coming out of the cinema and feeling like I'd been run over by a bus. I was viscerally, physically affected by it. I remember too loving that particular shot with Martin Sheen in his bedroom, the fan whizzing above him...and ever so slowly the fan dissolves into the sound and vision of chopper blades, these military beasts heading towards you. Amazing film.

What’s your favourite TV show?

I'm currently addicted to Bloodline, a new Netflix TV series.

Favourite piece of dialogue/quotation?

“Open the Door!” - Ripley in Alien.

If you could change one thing about the film/TV industry to make directors’ lives better, what would it be?

A fair deal on pay.

What do you think is the most pressing issue facing directors?

A fair deal on pay.

Which director do you most admire and why?

Antonioni has a very special place in my heart. His films seem to defy any easy categorisation. The end of Zabriskie Point - repeated montage of a building being blown up in the desert as an example of 60's protest - blew me away... But I also love the way he manipulates traditional edges of cinematic structure - negative space as prominent as the positive, absence as important as presence, silence as loud as noise. I love too that he focuses on lead female characters while refusing to sentimentalize or morally judge them.

Rebecca Manley

Rebecca Manley

Which project of yours are you most proud of?

I am always most proud of my latest short film. Because it’s so difficult to get them made! So right now it’s A Mountain to Climb.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

‘There’s always going to be someone better than you’ (So don’t sweat it, just do your thing).

What’s your favourite film?

I don’t think I have one, but here are some of them - The Nightmare Before Christmas, Amélie, Moonrise Kingdom, The Goonies, The Gay Divorcee, A Single Man, The Labyrinth, Backbeat, Gravity...

What’s your favourite TV show?

Recently I have really enjoyed Mad Men and Girls. Animation-wise Adventure Time is fun and very clever. And if we’re going back in time Anne of Green Gables (with Megan Follows).

Favourite piece of dialogue/quotation?

“Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City to take back the child that you have stolen, for my will is as strong as yours, and my kingdom as great — you have no power over me”, from Labyrinth.

If you could change one thing about the film/TV industry to make directors’ lives better, what would it be?

This probably applies to most jobs in the creative industries - more respect generally for the work we do and better pay.

What do you think is the most pressing issue facing directors?

Holding on to our copyright and IP in this fast paced digital age where everyone is so hungry for content and blasé about the way in which they consume it.

Which director do you most admire and why?

Wes Anderson because he has such a unique and strong creative vision and conviction (honed since childhood). I also feel that his work is deeply personal, which I can relate to. And his characters and worlds, although hyper real, have a genuineness and authenticity to them which I find intriguing.

Richard Max

Which project of yours are you most proud of?

I am proud The Plane Crash was nominated for a BAFTA and won some awards - but I am mainly proud that nobody died in making it.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Fight to work with the best people you can, they’ll make your work better. Trust your instinct. If you enjoy it enough to stick with it, you’ll make it (even if you’re not that good!).

What’s your favourite film?

When We Were Kings.

What’s your favourite TV show?

Historically, James Burke’s Connections. Now, anything with Mary Beard in it.

Favourite piece of dialogue/quotation?

“I'm no prophet. My job is making windows where there were once walls” - Michel Foucault.

If you could change one thing about the film/TV industry to make directors’ lives better, what would it be?

Documentary is a collaborative process, but it should be normal that the director is considered to be at the heart of the creative process from the beginning to the end wherever possible, and not as an afterthought.

What do you think is the most pressing issue facing directors?

How to remain at the heart of the creative process from beginning to end.

Which director do you most admire and why?

Anyone who can make a lasting career out of being a director should be admired, but particularly Werner Herzog and Errol Morris.

Paul Unwin

Which project of yours are you most proud of?

I’m not great with my back catalogue so can only answer that I am proudest of the last thing I wrote and directed. In this case it is a two part opening of the 30th anniversary of the series I co-created with Jeremy Brock, Casualty.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

If you don’t like the writing do it yourself.

What’s your favourite film?

Bertolucci’s The Conformist.

What’s your favourite TV show?

The French cop show Spiral (Endranges).

Favourite piece of dialogue/quotation?

“It was a dark and stormy night…”.

If you could change one thing about the film/TV industry to make directors’ lives better, what would it be?

We usually work on our own. I think for us through DUK to share struggles, and triumphs, and develop professional solidarity - when often we are in competition with each other - would make us happier and we would become a force to be really reckoned with.

What do you think is the most pressing issue facing directors?

Pay.

Which director do you most admire and why?

I admire the many unsung directors who go on doing incredible work in TV, film, games, animation… The famous ones know who they are and get enough admiration already, the rest get my vote.

Susanna White

Which project of yours are you most proud of?

Generation Kill - the HBO series written by David Simon.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

“Never let the audience see any acting”, from Tony Garnet.

What’s your favourite film?

Some Like it Hot.

What’s your favourite TV show?

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy with Alec Guinness.

Favourite piece of dialogue/quotation?

“If you can't explain it simply you don't understand it well enough” - Einstein.

If you could change one thing about the film/TV industry to make directors’ lives better, what would it be?

A proper share in profit on successful work.

What do you think is the most pressing issue facing directors?

The current situation with the BBC.

Which director do you most admire and why?

Ang Lee - for his range and humanity.