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From EastEnders to Hollywood: Antonia Bird

The British director Antonia Bird blazed a trail from the radical hotbed of the Royal Court Theatre in the 1970s, via the ground-breaking early days of EastEnders and Casualty in the 80s, all the way to Hollywood in the 90s.

She won four Baftas, nurtured some of our greatest actors, and became the first British woman to direct a Hollywood movie. Yet, less than three years after her early death in 2013, her name is little known, and her work largely forgotten.

This documentary aims to put that right - the first to examine her legacy and to place Antonia Bird where she belongs, among the most important British directors of the past 40 years. Filmmaker Susan Kemp reveals the secrets behind Antonia's greatest films - such as Safe, Priest, Face, Ravenous, The Hamburg Cell and Care - through intimate interviews many of her closest collaborators, including actors Robert Carlyle, Anita Dobson, Kate Hardie and Steven Mackintosh, and writers Irvine Welsh, Ronan Bennett and Kay Mellor.

Antonia's career was a long fight to get her voice heard, and to give voice to the powerless and the abused, the misfits and outcasts left behind our society and let down by its institutions - homeless teenagers, kids in care, criminal addicts in recovery, priests struggling with their sexuality, even the 9/11 hijackers and cannibals in the Old West.

Yet her politics and her gender meant she was often blocked. This documentary brings to life the battles - the victories and defeats - of this shy but passionate woman.

This is also the story of Britain over the past 40 years, a period of convulsive and painful transformation.

Release date:

1 hour, 30 minutes

Last on

Thu 26 May 2016 01:00


Role Contributor
Production CompanyBofA Productions
DirectorSusan Kemp
Camera OperatorSusan Kemp
EditorSusan Kemp
ProducerMary Bell
ProducerAdam Dawtrey
Executive ProducerMark Cousins
Executive ProducerMark Bell
ParticipantKay Mellor
ParticipantKate Hardie
ParticipantMark Cousins
ParticipantRobert Carlyle
ParticipantGeorge Faber
ParticipantAnita Dobson
ParticipantDavid Thompson
ParticipantSteven Mackintosh
ParticipantCaroline Oulton
ParticipantPaul Unwin
ParticipantJane Sillars
ParticipantJonathan Powell
ParticipantPippa Harris
ParticipantRuth Caleb
ParticipantSt John O'Rorke
ParticipantIrvine Welsh
ParticipantFlorian Hoffmeister
ParticipantAdrian Corker
ParticipantSusan Wilkins
ParticipantAndy Roberts
ParticipantPaul Turp
ParticipantRonan Bennett
ParticipantFinola Dwyer