He was born in Liverpool, Merseyside, and attended New Heys Comprehensive School from 1973 to 1980. From film school, he joined Cinequip subsidiary Percival Smith Associates with Tony Smith, respected commercials producer to become a highly successful Commercials director. He has directed Pleasureland, North and South, ShakespeaRe-Told (Much Ado About Nothing), (for which he won his second Bafta), The Ruby in the Smoke and The Old Curiosity Shop.
Since 2010 he has directed seven episodes of the ITV British period drama, Downton Abbey. For his work on the show he won the 2010 BAFTA Craft award for Best Fiction Director and the 2011 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special. In 2012, he was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for "Episode 7". He also directed the 2013 film, The Book Thief.
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