Directed by Mike Leigh

Directed by Mike Leigh

8 Episodes

The great prickly humanist of British cinema, Mike Leigh has forged a body of work unique in its concern for the struggles of ordinary people and the social fabric of working-class London. Famously born from a process of extensive improvisation with his powerhouse actors, Leigh’s films inhabit a register of tragicomic despair that, thanks to their unwavering compassion, never slips into miserabilism. From his early slice-of-life portraits of Thatcher-era Britain (MEANTIME, HIGH HOPES) to his award-winning international triumphs (NAKED, SECRETS & LIES), Leigh plumbs the darkest depths of the human condition without ever losing hope.

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Directed by Mike Leigh
  • Directed by Mike Leigh Teaser

    Episode 1

  • The Short and Curlies

    Episode 2

    Directed by Mike Leigh • 1987 • United Kingdom

    David Thewlis and Alison Steadman star in this 1987 short comedy by Mike Leigh about a romance between a hairdresser’s daughter and a young man who communicates only through one-liners.

  • High Hopes

    Episode 3

    Directed by Mike Leigh • 1988 • United Kingdom

    Slice-of-life look at a sweet working-class couple in London, Shirley and Cyril, his mother, who’s aging quickly and becoming forgetful, mum’s ghastly upper-middle-class neighbors, and Cyril’s pretentious sister and philandering husband. Shirley wan...

  • Meantime

    Episode 4

    Directed by Mike Leigh • 1984 • United Kingdom
    Starring Tim Roth, Phil Daniels, Gary Oldman

    A slow-burning depiction of economic degradation in Thatcher’s England, Mike Leigh’s MEANTIME is the culmination of the writer-director’s pioneering work in television. Unemployment is rampant in London’s...

  • Life Is Sweet

    Episode 5

    Directed by Mike Leigh • 1990 • United Kingdom
    Starring Claire Skinner, Jane Horrocks, Jim Broadbent

    This invigorating film from Mike Leigh was his first international sensation. Melancholy and funny by turns, it is an intimate portrait of a working-class family in a suburb just north of London—...

  • Naked
    Episode 6


    Episode 6

    Directed by Mike Leigh • 1993 • United Kingdom
    Starring David Thewlis, Lesley Sharpe, Katrin Cartlidge

    The brilliant and controversial NAKED, from director Mike Leigh, stars David Thewlis as Johnny, a charming and eloquent but relentlessly vicious drifter. Rejecting anyone who might care for him...

  • Secrets & Lies

    Episode 7

    Directed by Mike Leigh • 1996 • United Kingdom
    Starring Brenda Blethyn, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Timothy Spall

    Mike Leigh’s Palme d’Or–winning masterpiece charts the shockwaves that ripple through an already-fractured London family when Hortense (Marianne Jean-Baptiste), a successful, adopted ...

  • Career Girls

    Episode 8

    Directed by Mike Leigh • 1997 • United Kingdom
    Starring Katrin Cartlidge, Lynda Steadman

    CAREER GIRLS looks at two thirty-year-old career women who meet up after a long period apart and rediscover the relationship they enjoyed when they shared an apartment years ago. Moving, sad and funny, it’s ...