Antonia Bird

Antonia Bird

Highest Rated: 70% Priest (1994)

Lowest Rated: 28% Mad Love (1995)

Birthday: May 27, 1951

Birthplace: London, England, UK

This British-born director had already amassed an impressive resume of stage and TV credits when her first feature film brought her both a fame and notoriety neither she nor the studio had expected. The daughter of a failed actor, Bird ran away at 16 and got her start acting (and being Jill-of-all-trades) for a repertory company. She eventually distinguished herself, spending eight years directing productions on the "legitimate" English stage, notably at London's Royal Court Theater, before shifting to helming TV shows for the BBC (including much of the first season of the popular series "EastEnders" (BBC, 1985- ). Bird gained some measure of international acclaim with "Safe" (1993), a hard-hitting BBC telefilm about homeless teens on the streets of London. Winner of the 1993 British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Award for Best Single Drama, the movie was also a hit on the festival circuit; Bird garnered a Best New Director Award from the Edinburgh International Film Festival. Among her other TV dramas was the "Inspector Morse" detective mystery "Absolute Conviction," which was shown in the United States on PBS in 1995. Bird courted controversy with her provocative feature debut ,"Priest" (1994). Scripted by acclaimed British TV writer Jimmy McGovern, the film told the story of a young, covertly gay priest (Linus Roache) whose ongoing crisis of faith and conscience deepens when he learns in confession that a teen parishioner is suffering molestation at the hands of her father. Vocally attacked by the religious right as anti-Catholic, "Priest" was defended by its director as an expose of intolerance and hypocrisy within the church and society at large. Bird followed up with her first Hollywood project, "Mad Love" (1995), starring Drew Barrymore and Chris O'Donnell as troubled young lovers on the road. Although the movie met with a mixed reception, it raised her visibility outside of England. Returning to her homeland, she next unveiled "Face" (1997), a moody crime drama starring Robert Carlyle, who had also appeared in "Priest." She subsequently took over the reins on the period cannibal thriller "Ravenous" (1999) at the suggestion of Carlyle, who co-starred in the atmospheric horror film with Guy Pearce. Though the film was not a financial success, it later gained a sizable cult following. Bird went on to work primarily in British television, notably helming a 2006 TV movie revival of the popular series "Cracker" (ITV), a production that reunited her with McGovern and starred Robbie Coltrane as an eccentric criminal psychologist. In 2013, as she was directing episodes of the BBC period drama "The Village," Bird was diagnosed with a rare form of thyroid cancer. She died that fall, remembered fondly by her various fans and colleagues, including her occasional collaborator Carlyle.

Photos

Filmography

Movies

Credit
No Score Yet No Score Yet Oi For England's Green and Pleasant Land Executive Producer - 2021
No Score Yet 64% The Hamburg Cell Director - 2004
No Score Yet No Score Yet Care Director - 2000
49% 78% Ravenous Director $2.1M 1999
38% 71% Face Director - 1997
28% 49% Mad Love Director $15.5M 1995
70% 83% Priest Director $3.8M 1994
No Score Yet No Score Yet Safe Director - 1993
No Score Yet No Score Yet Inspector Morse: Absolute Conviction Director - 1992
No Score Yet No Score Yet A Masculine Ending Director - 1992

TV

Credit
No Score Yet No Score Yet Spooks Director 2005
No Score Yet No Score Yet Inspector Morse Director 1992
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Bill Director 1989
No Score Yet No Score Yet EastEnders Director 1986

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