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The story of the Peterloo massacre, a defining moment in the history of British democracy, told with passion and authority.
'A superb account of one of the defining moments in modern British history' Tristram Hunt.
'Peterloo is one of the greatest scandals of British political history ... Jacqueline Riding tells this tragic story with mesmerising skill' John Bew.
'Fast-paced and full of fascinating detail' Tim Clayton.
On a hot late summer's day, a crowd of 60,000 gathered in St Peter's Field. They came from all over Lancashire – ordinary working-class men, women and children – walking to the sound of hymns and folk songs, wearing their best clothes and holding silk banners aloft. Their mood was happy, their purpose wholly serious: to demand fundamental reform of a corrupt electoral system.
By the end of the day fifteen people, including two women and a child, were dead or dying and 650 injured, hacked down by drunken yeomanry after local magistrates panicked at the size of the crowd. Four years after defeating the 'tyrant' Bonaparte at Waterloo, the British state had turned its forces against its own people as they peaceably exercised their time-honoured liberties. As well as describing the events of 16 August in shattering detail, Jacqueline Riding evokes the febrile state of England in the late 1810s, paints a memorable portrait of the reform movement and its charismatic leaders, and assesses the political legacy of the massacre to the present day.
As fast-paced and powerful as it is rigorously researched, Peterloo: The Story of the Manchester Massacre adds significantly to our understanding of a tragic staging-post on Britain's journey to full democracy.
Mike Leigh writes and directs this Academy Award-nominated biographical drama about British artist J.M.W. Turner, who is here portrayed by Timothy Spall. The film explores the last 25 years or so of Turner's life in which he suffers greatly after the loss of his beloved father William (Paul Jesson) and has relations with his housekeeper Hannah Danby (Dorothy Atkinson) and, later, landlady Sophia Booth (Marion Bailey), who he lives with in Chelsea until his death. During this time he refuses to acknowledge the existence of his two illegitimate daughters Evelina (Sandy Foster) and Georgiana (Amy Dawson) and develops his painting style, which is often both praised and criticised. The cast also includes Lesley Manville, Karl Johnson and Ruth Sheen.
1957. War widow Dorothy lives in a London suburb with her 15-year-old daughter Victoria and her older bachelor brother Edwin. More and more isolated from her married friends with their successful children, Dorothy tries to cope with Victoria's increasingly hostile behaviour. But is she doing her best, as she thinks, or is she in fact responsible for what threatens to become an unendurable situation? 'A exquisitely observed, profoundly quiet slice of 1950s suburban life.' The Sunday Times 'Meticulously evocative' Independent 'Manville is magnificent in this broodingly muted family drama.' Sunday Express 'Leigh makes you laugh and laugh - until you cry.' Time Out 'A haunting portrait of loss and loneliness, exquisitely acted throughout and led by a riveting performance by Manville.' Financial Times 'Leigh's meticulous production potently captures the pain that lurked behind stiff upper lips in the England of the Fifties.' Daily Telegraph 'Nobody gets more truthful performances from actors than Mike Leigh.' The Times 'The acting is superb.' Guardian 'Leigh directs with sensitivity.' Evening Standard 'Extraordinarily poignant' Independent on Sunday
A sherry-sipping typist, a tongue-tied schoolteacher and a would-be pop star are among the sad cases trapped in suburban South London in the debut film from director Mike Leigh, later known for 'Abigail's Party' and 'High Hopes'. Cast includes Liz Smith, Sarah Stevenson and Mike Bradwell.
Tensions abound and the music swells in the story about the famous musical team of Gilbert and Sullivan. The two men, who were extremely different in size and stature, were even more different in temperament and style. Yet, they still managed to create memorable theater. This is the story of the making of one of their most famous collaborations, The Mikado.
Three screenplays by Mike Leigh. Naked presents a bleak picture of urban society, Life is Sweet is a gentle comedy in which the pain of everyday life is borne with a wry smile, and High Hopes is a comedy of class-ridden life in contemporary Britain.
Mike Leigh writes and directs this observational comedy drama depicting a year in the life of a contented middle-aged London couple. Medical counsellor Gerri (Ruth Sheen) is happily married to Tom (Jim Broadbent). The film follows Gerri over the course of the year as she opens her home and heart to her emotionally needy colleague Mary (Lesley Manville), counsels a chronic insomniac (Imelda Staunton), spends time on her allotment with Tom and plays host to their 30-year-old lawyer son Joe (Oliver Maltman) and his wife and baby.
Six-volume set featuring the acclaimed director's TV plays and dramas for the BBC. Leigh's best-known works during this productive period were the award-winning 'Abigail's Party' (1977), a satirical glimpse at middle-class values in the 1970s, and 'Nuts in May' (1976), the adventures of a self-righteous vegetarian couple trying, and failing, to enjoy the tranquility of Dorset on a camping holiday. Other dramas featured in the set include: 'Hard Labour', 'The Permissive Society', 'The Kiss of Death', 'Who's Who', 'Grown-Ups', 'Home Sweet Home', 'Four Days in July' and 'Five-Minute Films', a collection of five short films - 'Afternoon', 'Birth of the Goalie', 'Old Chums', 'A Light Snack' and 'Probation' - each lasting five minutes.
Mike Leigh's violent and disturbing look at the milieu inhabited by London's homeless. David Thewlis is the motor-mouthed protagonist; bitter, cynical and on the run from Manchester after raping a woman. He arrives in London, shacking up with his ex-girlfriend and her gothic flatmate, before drifting onto the streets - undergoing a series of encounters which convince him of the spiritual emptiness of modern life. As with many of Leigh's films, the dialogue was often improvised by the cast.
Mike Leigh's life-affirming comedy follows the fortunes of an ever-optimistic school teacher in North London. Poppy (Sally Hawkins) is the salt of the earth. Working in a primary school, she loves her job, shares a flat with her best friend, and lives her life with a smile on her face. When her bike is stolen one day, she decides she needs to learn to drive and registers at the local 'Axle School of Motoring' where she meets dour, harrassed instructor, Scott (Eddie Marsan), who seems to be Poppy's exact opposite. Tagging along with her friend Heather (Sylvestra Le Touzel) to the weekly tango class, Poppy unexpectedly hits it off with social worker Tim (Samuel Roukin). But it soon becomes clear that Scott, who up till now has shown no interest, carries a secret torch for Poppy and is extremely jealous of her new conquest.
Director Mike Leigh takes a satirical look at middle-class values in the 70s. Upwardly mobile couple Beverley and Laurence host an informal drinks evening when their neighbour's teenage daughter, Abigail, throws a party. Tensions arise as bored, bitchy housewife Beverley (Alison Steadman) flirts with her new neighbour, patronises his wife, embarasses Abigail's mother Sue and drives her over-stressed husband to the point of no return.
40th anniversary edition with a new introduction by Mike Leigh. Forty years on from its first performance at the Hampstead Theatre and original screening on BBC1 soon after, Mike Leigh's Abigail's Party - telling of two marriages spectacularly unravelling at an awkward neighbourhood drinks party - remains a pinnacle of British theatre. Here is the original script, complete with a new introduction by Mike Leigh describing the play's unlikely genesis, how it came to be made and where he believes it fits within his oeuvre as one of the country's leading writers and directors. 'The play came from my intuitive sense of the spirit and the flavour of the times, and from a growing personal fear of, and frustration with the suburban existence' Mike Leigh, from his new introduction 'Leigh's play isn't simply about marriage and Essex, but also about the unhappy state of the realm' Guardian
Mike Leigh writes and directs this class struggle comedy drama which portrays the intertwined lives of an extended working class family in London during the Thatcher years. The story follows left-wing bike messenger Cyril Bender (Philip Davis), his girlfriend Shirley (Ruth Sheen) and Cyril's conservative mother (Edna Dore), who lives in the last council house on her street next to the appallingly upper class Boothe-Braines (Lesley Manville and David Bamber). Cyril's consumerist sister Valerie (Heather Tobias) and her car salesman husband Martin (Philip Jackson) join the family to throw a surprise 70th birthday party for Mrs. Bender but, despite their best intentions, the event descends into disaster.
Jean works in a garage and consoles herself with drink and perfunctory sex. Jean's insistent neighbour, Dawn, and Dawn's Irish labourer husband, Mick, and Mick's spineless mucker, Len, all join her in a funny, drunken, sad celebration of their mutual affection and bleak lives.
Mike Leigh's film explores the changing face of friendship as times goes by. Hannah (Katrin Cartlidge) and Annie (Lynda Steadman) shared a flat together at college, but have not seen each other for six years. They meet up for the weekend, reminiscing about their student days and the characters they used to know. These include their flatmate Claire, Adrian Spinks (with whom they both had flings), and Ricky, Annie's unstable would-be suitor.
East London, the early 1980s. Frank Pollack (Jeff Robert) and his sons Mark and Colin (Phil Daniels and Tim Roth) are all unemployed. The situation seems hopeless, and things are made worse when Colin's Auntie Barbara (Marion Bailey) tries to help out by offering him some decorating work, an act which arouses Mark's jealousy and ultimately effects everyone in the family. Directed by Mike Leigh and also featuring Gary Oldman as Colin's skinhead mate Coxy.
In a film rich with complex and engaging characters, the foremost are Gilbert, childlessly married to a devoted wife, and Sullivan, the brothel-hopping bon viveur with an American mistress. Surrounding them are the performers, musicians, and costumiers of the Savoy Theatre, plus the producer D'Oyly Carte and his team.
Mike Leigh's 1970s classic play `Abigail's Party' focuses on an evening of domestic hell in the guise of a suburban drinks soiree. While teenager Abigail parties a few doors away, the pretentious Beverly and her estate agent husband, Laurence, entertain their neighbours - Abigail's mother, Susan, ex-footballer, Tony, and his wife, Angela. But as the alcohol flows, tensions in the hosts' barely functional marriage emerge and their obsessions, prejudices and petty competitiveness are ruthlessly, and hilariously, exposed. `Goose-Pimples', meanwhile, is easily as sharp and uncompromising. This time, the action focuses on ambitious casino croupier, Jackie, and Saudi businessman, Muhammad, who meet - and misunderstand - one another spectacularly.
The smash-hit National Theatre play by Mike Leigh, one of Britain's great creative directors for both stage and screen. Two Thousand Years, Leigh's first devised stage play for over a decade, follows a fractious Jewish family in contemporary London and has toured nationwide and played in an extended run at the National Theatre.
Secrets & Lies was awarded the Palme d'Or for Best Film at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival. It tells the story of Hortense, a young black Londoner who goes in search of her birth mother. Hortense's voyage of discovery leads her to Cynthia - a depressed, unmarried, white woman who has uneasy relationships with both her second daughter and her brother. Hortense's attempt to uncover the hidden, almost forgotten, world of her parents fundamentally affects each of the characters. The film culminates in a lunch party at which the characters reveal the secrets that have blighted their lives, and with this outpouring of truth comes the possibility of renewal.
Returning home unexpectedly from holiday, Rex Weasel, owner of the Vermination Pest Control Company, hides in a wardrobe when he hears intruders. It's his employee Vic Maggot with his wife out on a spree, but they also have to hide when Weasel's gormless son turns up with his garrulous girlfriend.
Andrew Goodman tells the story of the most astonishing partnership in the history of British musical entertainment, and unfolds it against the authentic background of the city and era in which they flourished. With much original research and many hitherto unpublished illustrations, Goodman makes an invaluable contribution to our knowledge, understanding and appreciation of Gilbert and Sullivan in this handsome volume, already a classic of its kind. He summons up a bygone era in a predominantly celebratory tone: recalling the lost grandeur of the city's great entertainment palaces, its atmospheric streetlife and nightlife, its splendour and its squalor. Mike Leigh, director of Topsy Turvy, a film about Gilbert and Sullivan's collaboration on The Mikado, provides a new foreword.
Jean works in a garage and consoles herself with drink and perfunctory sex. Jean's insistent neighbour Dawn and Dawn's Irish labourer husband, Mick, and Mick's spineless mucker, Len, all join her in a funny, drunken, sad celebration of their mutual affection and bleak lives. Through a wealth of casually dispensed personal detail and characterisation of astonishing intensity and nuance, "Ecstasy" cheerily bares the soul of a society on a precipice. This is vintage Leigh and Ecstasy is at times as screamingly funny as Abigail's Party, at others as touching and true as Secrets and Lies and Vera Drake.
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