Born in Salford, Manchester, in 1943, Mike Leigh has developed a unique method of creating films through controlled improvisations. After his debut Bleak Moments (1971) he made a succession of admired TV plays, including Abigail's Party and Nuts in May. He then returned to feature films: High Hopes (1988), Life is Sweet (1990), Naked (1993). Secrets and Lies won the Palme d'Or at Cannes in 1996. Topsy-Turvy (1999) won two Oscars.