In 1981 after graduating from the University of London LCP with a B.A. (1st Class with Hons) in Photography, Film and Television Mike joined BBC Film editing as an assistant. Work in post-production included David Attenborough’s ‘Life on Earth’, ‘The Living Planet’ and films in the BBC Forty Minutes strand and the P.B.S.NOVA/BBC Horizon documentary strand.
In 1986 Mike partnered in The Principal Film Company Ltd. Over 15 years Principal became one of the UK’s leading factual independents, with Mike producing/directing or executive producing more than 75% of Principal’s productions – over 50 hours of primetime factual programming filmed in 25 countries on every continent on earth. This included the multi award winning international climate change special ‘After the Warming‘ for PBS and Ace award winning 20 part series ‘James Burke’s-Connections2’ for DCI/The Learning Channel also films for W.G.B.H., Discovery and National Geographic TV.
In 1997/8 Mike co-devised and directed Discovery’s ‘Wildfire – Feel the Heat’, a $5 million giant screen action documentary for PLF, Principal’s large format IMAX© (70mm) feature production arm. Mike was also Principal Picture’s executive on 2 critically successful BBC TV Drama series ‘The Passion’ (Gina Mckee, Paul Nicholls) and ‘Fish’ (Paul McGann & Gemma Redgrave).
In 1999 Mike became Co-Chairman and Creative Director of Principal Media Group and Executive Produced Principal Picture’s ratings hit Edwardian comedy film ‘Gentleman’s Relish’ for BBC/ICON starring Billy Connolly and Sarah Lancashire. Mike also produced and directed a number of factual projects for international networks including Discovery, National Geographic, Le Cinqueme, Channel Four, ITV, C5, ABC, TLC.
In 2000/1 Mike co-wrote and directed PLF’s groundbreaking large format period ghost story ‘ The Legend of Loch Lomond’.
2002/3 Mike wrote and directed the multi award winning giant screen 3D movie ‘BUGS!’. This $9 million IMAX 3D natural history drama narrated by Judi Dench has, as of 2009 grossed over $37 million at the international box office and was a semi finalist in the 2004 Oscars.
2004/5 Mike wrote, produced and directed 2 films for National Geographic Television in the hit series ‘Megastructures’ – Golden Gate and North Sea Wall
Mike also co-wrote and directed a cinema feature on the plight of the Asian elephant – ‘The Elephant’s Story’. It was filmed across India in High Definition for WCCE/ORTV.
2005 Mike produced a popular Science History event for ITV 1 – ‘The Gunpowder Plot – Exploding the Legend’ presented by Richard Hammond. The 90 minute special was also written and directed by Mike for Darlow Smithson Productions. It was an ITV Network ratings success, became a global news story and was shortlisted for a specialist factual BAFTA. It was also very loud!
2005/2006 Mike produced and directed ‘Icestorm’ for Impossible Pictures. A documentary drama set in a near future when a freak icestorm shuts down Montreal, Canada. Part of the Emmy nominated series ‘Perfect Disaster’
2006 Mike wrote, produced and directed ‘Ice King’ – a film in the BBC drama documentary series‘Voyages of Discovery’. British Explorer Paul Rose journeys to the Arctic to tell the extraordinary story of Fridjtof Nansen and his bizarre, epic attempt to conquer the North Pole in 1895.
2007 – Mike co-directed ‘Meerkat Manor -The Story Begins’ a 90 minute feature film shot on location in Africa’s Kalahari desert. Along with co-director Chris Barker Mike reveals story behind the world’s most famous Meerkat, Flower. Told by Whoopi Goldberg, the story follows Flower and her family, The Whiskers. Selected for 2008 Tribeca Film Festival Spotlight.
2008 – Mike was in Taiwan directing “Taipei Tower” revealing the unusual stories behind the world’s tallest building. Hosted by Richard Hammond and produced by DarlowSmithson/IMG for National Geo TVand BBC2 its one episode in science/history series “Engineering Connections”.
2008 also saw Mike producing and directing “Life from Mars” the season finale of “Josh Bernstein’s – Journey’s into the Unknown” exploring how life on earth may have begun.
2009 Mike completed two one hour films in the BBC Worldwide/Channel Five UK series “Charlotte Ulhenbroek – Among the Apes”. “Orangutan” and “Gorilla“ filmed in Borneo and Uganda respectively the shows reveal the secret lives of these special primates.
2009/10 Mike was Series Director on Discovery’s new look “ATLAS 4D”. Shooting for DarlowSmithson on location across East Africa for “The Great Rift Valley” and around Europe and the Middle East for “The Mediterranean”.
Mike also began testing on the feature film based on the new book “A VILLAGE LOST and FOUND” by Elena Vidal and Queen’s Brian May, the IMAX 3D follow up to “BUGS! 3D” “FLIGHT of the BUTTERFLIES 3D” and the big screen thriller “GHOSTS of LONDON 3D”.
2011/12 Mike has completed a BBC film on brain injury with Sir Stirling Moss and Richard Hammond, an Explorer film for National Geographic US telling the surprising story of the discovery in Antarctica of “SHACKLETON’S WHISKY” Mike has also directed rock legend Brian May, actress Virginia McKenna and singer Kerry Ellis in a BORN FREE – Save the wild Lion Promo and Samuel L Jackson in the Discovery Curiosity investigation asking the intriguing question “HOW WILL THE WORLD END”.
2013 saw the release of the wildlife drama “Flight of the Butterflies 3D“ and that same year it won 7 awards (an unprecedented clean slate) in the Giant Screen Cinema Association film festival. It has also received universal critical and consumer acclaim.
In 2014 Mike completed 3 films: the 90-minute science fiction feature for eOne “The Great Martian War“ (Mark Strong) Then for National Geographic Studios the science fact IMAX 3D movie “Robots“ (Simon Pegg) and for BBC Earth the wildlife 3D IMAX “Wild Africa“ (Helena Bonham Carter).
2015 saw Mike complete, as writer director, the Ultra HD natural history feature film “Colombia – Magia Salvaje“and as executive producer for National Geographic the 3 part TV series “Colombia – Wild Magic” The feature has recently broken box office records to become the most watched film in the history of Colombian cinema.
Also in 2015 Mike directed & executive produced for Smithsonian/History Channel/Shaw Media/Yesterday UK the genre busting archaeology/animation series “Mummies Alive“ bringing to life the ancient dead.
2016 Mike produced & directed “Drain the Ocean WWII” for National Geographic by exposing 6 of the greatest war wreck sites in full 3D computer generated imagery a new vision of WWII events was revealed.
2017 “Amazon Adventure” was released across the Giant Screen Cinema Network. It’s a 3D IMAX wildlife drama telling the story of an amazing scientific discovery. In 1852 young Henry Walter Bates found the beautiful proof to back up Darwin’s extraordinary theory of natural selection. The film won multiple giant screen awards including, Best Picture, Photography, Sound, Score and Best Film for Lifelong Learning. Spectacular…A large screen triumph – Variety Review.
*Directors Guild of America *Directors Guild of Great Britain *BAFTA *DIRECTORS UK * Hostile Environment trained * IVisa *Blue Peter Badge (1969!)