As one of Britain's foremost film-makers and dramatists, Mike Leigh has enthralled, disturbed and provoked theatre, television and movie audiences for over 40 years. His first film, Bleak Moments premiered in 1971 to great critical acclaim, but he was not able to direct another feature film for 17 years. Instead he honed his skills on television, leaving an unrivalled legacy – from acclaimed five minute shorts to classic plays. In his television work, Mike Leigh created the style that would make him unique among film-makers. The way he deals with issues of class, race, politics and sexuality in both poignant and comic terms; his working methods of evolving films from intense improvising rehearsals, and his collaboration with great actors – including Alison Steadman, Liz Smith, Lesley Manville, Phil Davis, David Threlfall, Brenda Blethyn and Stephen Rea – make his work instantly recognisable.