Directed by Mike Leigh

Directed by Mike Leigh

9 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 young woman who frequently changes her hairstyle and a young man who communicates only through one-liners.

  • High Hopes

    Episode 3

    Directed by Mike Leigh • 1988 • United Kingdom
    Starring Phil Davis, Ruth Sheen, Edna Doré

    True to its title, this slice-of-life satire is one of director Mike Leigh’s warmest and most optimistic films—though it’s still laced with more than a touch of bittersweet melancholy. Focusing on countercu...

  • 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

    Directed by Mike Leigh • 1993 • United Kingdom

    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, the volcanic Johnny hurls himself around London on a n...

  • Secrets & Lies

    Episode 7

    Directed by Mike Leigh • 1996 • United Kingdom

    Mike Leigh's Palme D'Or winning family drama concerns a working class woman who is shocked when the mixed-race daughter she gave up at birth tracks her down.

  • Career Girls

    Episode 8

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

    In Mike Leigh’s poignant, deceptively modest follow-up to his international triumph SECRETS & LIES, former college roommates Hannah (Katrin Cartlidge) and Annie (Lynda Steadman) meet again for th...

  • Topsy-Turvy

    Episode 9

    Directed by Mike Leigh • 1999 • United Kingdom
    Starring Allan Corduner, Jim Broadbent, Timothy Spall

    The world of Gilbert and Sullivan comes to vivid life in director Mike Leigh’s extraordinary dramatization of the staging of the duo’s legendary 1885 comic opera THE MIKADO. Jim Broadbent and All...