With a long track record in Specialist Factual - arts and history particularly - I’ve produced and directed films for a range of audiences, from primetime ratings winners to critically successful essays. I've made biographical profiles; one of the first top rated films for Who Do You Think You Are?; three series exploring man’s extraordinary relationship with animals; several acclaimed BBC 'Art of…' series exploring different nations' histories and identities through art; several episodes of Civilisations, the BBC's landmark art history series; and a high profile ITV1 climate change film for COP26.
I’ve worked with a wide range of excellent presenters including both authorities and personalities, from Andrew Graham-Dixon, David Olusoga, Simon Schama, Dan Cruickshank and Ian Hislop to Martin Clunes, Joanna Lumley, Clare Balding and Fiona Bruce. In 2013 I negotiated exclusive access to film the Queen in private for a biographical one-off.
I’ve also made many presenterless films including histories, biographies and polemical essays.
No matter who the audience, I believe factual films should always be intriguing yet clear, rich in content, visually fresh and creative, but above all well-crafted stories.
Art That Made Us
A landmark art history series marking the BBC’s centenary celebrates the diverse and often surprising cultural gems to have emerged from our nation’s tumultuous past. A rich cast of today’s artists, writers, designers and thinkers examine the creative treasures that have helped define us.
Islands of the Pacific
Martin Clunes journeys around the world’s largest ocean discovering the myriad peoples, cultures and creatures that make the Pacific a rich, complex universe of its own: from French Polynesia to Tonga, Fiji and Vanuatu to the legendary Galapagos, he encounters the challenges, contradictions & delights of these many far-flung specks of land.
Joanna Lumley & the Human Swan
Joanna Lumley follows Sacha Dench, latter day adventurer and climate campaigner, as she flies her eco-electric paramotor round the UK ahead of COP26; together they meet food scientists, fashion designers, urbanite radicals and Highland rewilders blazing a trail to a greener future.
“A poignant and timely watch” – Telegraph
“Enlightening and visually gorgeous” – Sun
The Cameron Years
David Cameron is held to account for his key decisions, both as leader of the opposition and as Britain’s Prime Minister, examining the road to Brexit as well as his relationship with backbenchers and LibDem coalition partners, gay marriage and the Scottish Referendum. With unprecedented in-the-room accounts from key contemporaries and critics.
Islands of America
ITV1 / PBS 2018
Martin Clunes explores a different side to the USA we think we know, through its astonishingly diverse islands: from Hawaii to the islands of Alaska, from Louisiana bayous to Puerto Rico to the sea islands of New England
“Clunes, as ever, a thoughtfully amiable guide” – Telegraph
BBC2 / PBS 2018
Inspired by Kenneth Clark’s landmark 1969 series, this epic, big budget version explores the history of the world’s civilisations and their encounters through great art. Presenters: Simon Schama, Mary Beard, David Olusoga
I directed two films with David Olusoga and edit produced
two more with Simon Schama
“spectacular and intelligent” – The Guardian
“an educative extravaganza” – FT
“Lord Reith would be proud of this epic BBC reboot for the 21st C” – Telegraph
“It’s cultural history with real sweep and insight, and it makes you think” – RT
Islands of Australia
ITV1 / Channel 7 Australia 2017
Colourful Primetime series that follows actor/broadcaster Martin Clunes as he journeys round the islands of Australia, exploring both their incredible diversity of cultures and wildlife, their history and the fascinating connections between them
Finalist, Best Factual Series, Australia's SAE Atom Awards 2018
The Art of Scandinavia
Andrew Graham-Dixon explores the history of Scandinavia through its art. I directed episode 1 which focuses on Norway, exploring the links between landscape, climate and national character, from the Vikings to Munch’s The Scream
“Authoritative ... a gripping watch” – Independent
Secrets of the Mona Lisa
High profile investigative special into new revelations about the Mona Lisa. Presented by Andrew Graham-Dixon, the film uncovered new evidence about the painting that made international headlines.
“Impressive programme making” – Telegraph
“Powerful, insightful stuff” – Independent
Shortlisted for Best Arts Documentary Grierson 2016
Perspectives: Great American Love Songs
Broadcaster & songwriter Nicky Campbell explores the world of 1920s & '30s New York, and the musical Golden Age it produced: how influences from Broadway musicals and Yiddish Theatre to Harlem jazz were expressed through the music of Rodgers & Hart, George Gershwin, Fats Waller, Cole Porter and Frank Sinatra
“Glorious” – Radio Times
The Art of Gothic : Britain's Midnight Hour
Andrew Graham-Dixon explores three centuries of Gothic revival in art, architecture & literature: from garden follies to Frankenstein, Pugin to popular culture it crystallized the radical and unspeakable. I directed episodes one (Georgian beginnings) and two (the Victorian age)
“Compelling” – Telegraph
How to Get Ahead at the Baroque Court
A how-to survival guide to life at the court of Louis XIV. Through the art and culture of 17th century Versailles, Stephen Smith draws a witty portrait of the absolute monarch and how those around him thrived
The Queen : A Passion for Horses
Clare Balding presents a Coronation anniversary special exploring the Queen’s love of all things equestrian, with exclusive access as we see her breeding, training, racing and riding horses at age 87
The High Art of the Low Countries
Through art, Andrew Graham-Dixon tells the story of the lands reclaimed from the sea. I made episode 1, focusing on the Flemish Renaissance (Van Eyck, Bosch, Bruegel) and episode 2, about the Dutch Golden Age (Rembrandt, Vermeer, Hals)
“The very exemplar of art-history documentaries” – Radio Times
Heritage! The Battle for Britain's Past
A spirited tale of Britain’s Heritage, from Stonehenge to stately homes to steelworks: how did we end up with what we have? Who decided what to save – and what got lost along the way?
“One of the most important BBC offerings of the year” - Telegraph
Long Lost Family
RTS award winning series reuniting long estranged family members
The Art of America
Andrew Graham-Dixon explores the history of America through its art. Episode 3 takes in Pop Art to Minimalism, photography to post-9/11: from Andy Warhol to Jeff Koons, from Nan Goldin to The Simpsons
The Queen's Palaces
Fiona Bruce tells the story of Britain’s key royal palaces through their architecture & art. I made Episode 1 on Buckingham Palace, and Episode 2 on Windsor Castle
The House that Made Me
Channel 4 2010
Actor Sanjeev Bhaskar revisits his childhood home to unravel his formative experiences, and remembers the big events that shaped his life
Martin Clunes : Horsepower
Martin Clunes journeys to Mongolia, the Wild West and the Arabian Desert to explore the story of the horse and how it helped to forge human civilisation as we know it
Joanna Lumley : Catwoman
Joanna Lumley journeys to Egypt, Namibia, Japan and America to find out how humans developed a love-hate relationship with cats: worshipped as gods, tortured as demons, now our intimate companion
Martin Clunes : A Man and his Dogs
Martin Clunes journeys to Australia, America and Africa to learn how the fearsome wolf evolved into man’s best friend - and to explore the rich and complex relationship between humans and dogs
Who Do You Think You Are?
Broadcaster Esther Rantzen unearths her ancestral past to find an eccentric killer, a Victorian diamond multimillionaire and a link - via London’s East End - to Russian occupied 19th century Warsaw
Channel 4 2007
British-born actress Shobna Gulati retraces her family’s footsteps back to Bombay and the Punjab, to learn how the breakup of the British Empire impacted on them and why they ended up in the UK
Big Ideas that Changed the World
Channel 5 2006
Egalitarianism: the Rev Jesse Jackson presents a film on the meaning, history and modern relevance of the Civil Rights movement. He recalls his relationship with Martin Luther King, and his bid for the US Presidential candidacy
Dan Cruickshank's Marvels of the Modern Age
What’s the future for Modernism? Is it really dead, or can it help us save the planet? Dan journeys to Dubai, Shanghai, LA and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to explore the architecture of tomorrow
Channel 4 2005
Ian Hislop presents this series examining how WW1 changed British society forever. He meets ordinary people who discover the role their ancestors – both men and women – played during and after the Great War. I directed Episode 3, focussing on the role of women, and Episode 4, focussing on the soldiers who survived and the aftermath
Who Do You Think You Are?
The first of this landmark celebrity genealogy series: this film follows newsreader Moira Stuart as she retraces her ancestry to Scotland, Victorian London, and slave era West Indies.
Series Indie award & BAFTA nominated 2005
Lost Buildings of Britain
Channel 4 / Discovery USA 2004
Simon Thurley (former Chief Executive of English Heritage) brings back to life Glastonbury Abbey and Nottingham Castle, using surviving archaeological clues, investigative architectural experiments, reconstructive stunts and CGI
Acclaimed stylish magazine series hunts down the world’s best in contemporary architecture and design
BBC2 / A&E USA 2003
Dramatised documentary thrillers telling the detective stories behind extraordinary real life art heists, filmed in the UK, New York, Germany and Egypt. “Hidden camera” style contemporary drama reconstruction
Sense and Sensation
Historian John Brewer journeys back to 18th century London, to discover why the modern arts world – with all its controversies – has a lot to thank the Georgians for. Extensive period drama reconstruction
Fascinatin' Rhythm : The Story of Tap
The story of tap from its controversial roots (Europe versus Africa), through the Cotton Club, Fred and Ginger, Shirley Temple and Bojangles, to hiphop, rap and modern fusion.
Selected for International Festival of Films on Art, Montreal 2002
Nancy Mitford : The Big Tease
Accompanying a major BBC serialization of Love in a Cold Climate, this profile of novelist Nancy Mitford asks: was she the ultimate aristocratic snob, or a subversive wit who ultimately betrayed her class?
Omnibus : Nigel Hawthorne
A profile of Oscar-nominated actor Sir Nigel Hawthorne, as he draws on “The Madness of King George” – and a return to his South African childhood – to play King Lear in Tokyo
Omnibus : Julie Walters
A profile of Oscar-nominated actress Julie Walters: Julie retraces the roots of her comedy - and grim realism - in a journey leading back to the Black Country, and her mother’s Irish childhood home