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28 October 2014

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Stephen Poliakoff Profile

Stephen Poliakoff

Born in London in 1952, Stephen Poliakoff dropped out of his degree at Cambridge University in order to write play scripts.

After a writing several successful plays for the stage he got his first break into television in 1977 when he wrote a BBC Play for Today called Stronger Than the Sun. More TV plays were to follow with Bloody Kids and Caught on a Train, which starred Peggy Ashcroft and won Poliakoff his first BAFTA.

His first feature film was Hidden City which he directed himself. The film featured Charles Dance and told the story of a woman uncovering past secrets in a film archive. His second feature film starred Clive Owen with Alan Rickman and Saskia Reeves. Close My Eyes was a dark tale of incest.

Poliakoff continued directing his own work when he worked with Charles Dance and Clive Owen again in Century, and then he followed it up with Food of Love in which Richard E Grant took the lead. Around this time he also had a huge hit with the play Blinded by the Sun which was produced at the National Theatre, it won several awards including an Olivier for the Best New Play.

Poliakoff then returned to focus on writing and directing television dramas, attracting some of the countries best actors to work with him. Shooting the Past starred Timothy Spall and Lindsay Duncan and returned to the themes of secrets and archives that had interested Poliakoff earlier in his career, and won two RTS awards as well as a Prix Italia and a BAFTA nomination. In the Emmy-nominated Perfect Strangers, starring Michael Gambon and Matthew Macfadyen, he once again explored the tensions within families.

The next drama was The Lost Prince, which told the true story of Prince John who was diagnosed as an epileptic, and suffered from autistic-like learning difficulties. The drama was hugely successful and won many awards. Poliakoff returns to the BBC in 2006 with Friends and Crocodiles and Gideon's Daughter.

Caught on a Train, She's Been Away, Perfect Strangers, Shooting the Past, Close My Eyes, and a documentary about the writer all featured in the Poliakoff season on BBC Four in 2006.

More on Poliakoff

Gideon's Daughter

Natasha (Emily Blunt)

A story of grief and celebrity.

Friends and Crocodiles

Paul (Damian Lewis)

A tale of society in the grip of change.

The Lost Prince

Prince John (Daniel Williams)

The prince that history forgot.

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