Thursday 28 February 2013

Britain is no country for old men who share not the attitudes of its young men

A King's Fund study has revealed that the attitudes of very old men of 70+ in Britain born before or during the Second World War and old men in their 60s who are the 'baby boomers' born after the War between 1945 and '64, differ considerably from those of their grandsons and sons, young men of 'Generation X' in their 30's and 40's born 1965-79 and 'Generation Y' born in the 1980s and 90s.

Take, for example, views on welfare and the question :
Should benefits for poor people should be increased, even if it leads to higher taxes ?
The table indicates clear differences between the old and young men.

Younger generations are less supportive of welfare

PercentTotal % agree government should spend more on welfarePre-war (before 1945)Baby boomers (1945-65)Generation x (1966-79)Generation y (1980-2000)1998199920002001200220032004200520062007200820090%20%40%60%80%Generation x (1966-79) 2002: 33%
Source: Chart by Ipsos MORI using British Social Attitudes data

Research suggests a more individualised view of rights and responsibilities among younger people in  Britain. Young men and women have received much less support in many areas of their lives and they have responded by expecting less. Older groups are net beneficiaries from welfare spending, but widespread support across cohorts can be maintained only if younger generations believe that a similar contract will remain in place when they are old. This seems likely to prove increasingly difficult, given that younger groups seem to have a much weaker perception of what they get out of it.

So old men of Britain who are baby boomers take heed :
As the levers of power slip from your grip and into the hands of younger men, you can expect to be the beneficiaries of harder, less charitable attitudes towards your welfare, particularly if you are destined to be poor old men.

Wednesday 27 February 2013

Britain is a country where young men live in fear of life in a care home when they are old men

A report, based on a 'YouGov' poll of 2,000 adults by the Alzheimer's Society called, 'Low Expectations' has revealed that :

* 70% of adults fear ending up in a care home amid concerns about poor treatment and abuse and would be 'fairly' or 'very scared' of going into one and in addition, 64% cent do not feel the sector is doing enough to tackle abuse in homes.

* a record 80% per cent of those living in care homes have dementia or severe memory problems, compared with previous estimates of around 62% meaning that 322,000 of 400,000 care home residents have these conditions.

 * fewer than half of dementia sufferers in care homes enjoy a good quality of life, with more than a quarter of relatives saying it is ‘poor’.

Jeremy Hughes (left) of the Alzheimer’s Society, said:
"Society has such low expectations of care homes that people are settling for average. Throughout our lives we demand the best for ourselves and our children. Why do we expect less for our parents?
We need government and care homes to work together to lift expectations so people know they have the right to demand the best."

David Rogers, of the Local Government Association, said:
"This report shows the lack of confidence in a care system buckling under the weight of rapidly growing demand and years of underfunding. Unless we see an urgent injection of money from central government to meet rising demand, alongside a major re
vision of the way social care is paid for and delivered in future, things will continue to get worse."

The Report :


Tuesday 26 February 2013

Britain is no longer a country for and says "Goodbye" to the Godfather of British animation called Bob Godfrey

Bob GodfreyBob Godfrey, a true amateur film-maker who produced, directed, animated, acted in and did the voiceovers for his films, which I watched on tv with my kids when they wee young in the 1970s, has died at the age of 91.

What you possibly didn't know about Bob, that he :

* was born in West Maitland, Australia of British parents who came to England with them as a baby, went to school in Ilford, Essex and then Leyton Art School and got his first job working at Lever Brothers as a graphic artist during the 1930s.

* was 'called up' and served in the Royal Marines during the Second World War and took part in the D-Day Landings in Normandy in June 1944.

* was taken on by the Larkins Studio in 1950 and made, in the basement of his flat, 'Big Parade' in 1952 and 'Watch the Birdie' in 1954, a film inspired by a painting by Paul Klee.

* set up the 'Biographic' studio with Keith Learner and Jeff Hale, to make commercials for the new ITV and subsequently  'Do It Yourself Cartoon Kit ' in 1961,
which satirised animation and commercial advertising with Michael Bentine as narrator.

* in 1964, started 'Bob Godfrey's Movie Emporium' and produced slightly risqué cartoons satirising British sexual habits, such as 'Henry 9 to 5', awarded a BAFTA in 1971 and the 'Kama Sutra Rides Again', initially banned and selected by Stanley Kubric for screening with the UK release of his film, 'A Clockwork Orange'.

* allowed, later animator of  'Who Framed Roger Rabbit', Richard Williams, to work in his basement and Terry Gilliam make his 'Monty Python' animations overnight in his studio.

* in 1974  presented 'Do-It Yourself Film Animation Show' on BBC1, which encouraged children to do animation, with each episode having  animators like Terry Gilliam talking about their work and different techniques and was later acknowledged by a new generation of animators, including Nick Park, as a significant influence on them making animated films.

* created for children, 'Roobarb' a green dog, who set out to achieve certain goals, meaningful to him, but considered useless by his arch-enemy, 'Custard', a pink cat and 'Noah and Nelly' with Richard Briers, who died last week, as the voice over.

* used Richard to voice over 'Henry's Cat' in 1980 whose face was made up of an 'M' for the ears, two eyes giving an 'I', an 'O' for the nose and a 'W' for the mouth, to form the word 'MIOW'.

*  produced a BAFTA and Academy award-winning short film, 'Great' in 1975, a tongue-in-cheek biography of Isambard Kingdom Brunel (left).

* was awarded an MBE in 1986 and received the newly established 'Lifetime Achievement Award' at the Bradford Animation Festival in 2007, which included a retrospective of his films.

* made later films which were social, political satires based on the work of Steve Bell like 'Beaks to the Grindstone' and 'A Journalist's Tale' and the series 'Maggie Where I am Now?' and appeared in the programmes about animation, 'The Craftsmen'
and  'Animation Nation', in 2005.

The Guardian's homage to Bob's career in clips :


So Britain's old men say :

"Bye, Bye Bob. Thanks for the pleasure you gave in your many, many animations over many, many years."

Sunday 24 February 2013

Britain is no country for old men in care homes and under a chemical cosh

Medication in hands of elderly personA study published in the Journal of the 'American Geriatrics Society' was carried out by researchers from Queen's University Belfast used information about 250,000 old people over the age of 65 drawn from the 'Northern Ireland Prescribing Database' and drew conclusions about old men and women in Britain as a whole.
It focused on of drugs prescribed to calm anxiety and sedate, as well as the antipsychotics or 'chemical cosh' drugs, which the 'Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency' warns are 'not appropriate for most people with dementia'. The sudy  found that : 

* that of among those living either in the community in their own homes or with relatives, only 1 in 100 take these drugs while of those living in care homes, 20 in 100 were on them.

* within six months of admission to a care home, 30 in 100 new residents had received at least one prescription for a antipsychotic cosh, 37 in 100 for a hypnotic and 24 in 100 for an anxiolytic.

Lead researcher Aideen Maguire,  based in the 'Centre of Excellence for Public Health Northern Ireland' said:

 "Although drug dispensing is high in older people in the community, we have found that it increases dramatically on entry to care. This study showed that the high uptake of psychotropic drugs observed in care homes in Northern Ireland cannot be explained by a continuation of drug use initiated in the community prior to entering care". It was possible that those people who moved into care either did so because of mental health problems or became anxious over the move but,  "there is probably inappropriate prescribing going on." 

So old men of Britain, beware of the cosh which awaits you as part of your programme of 'care' in your new home.

Thursday 21 February 2013

Britain is a country with a very old, irrascible Prince called Philip who has been rude about many things in many places over many years

Prince Phillip - Duke of Edinburgh (Pic: Getty Images)
Prince Philip, 91 yeas old and  husband of Queen Elizabeth since 1947, made his first engagement of 2013 on Wednesday, opening a unit at Luton and Dunstable Hospital and 'put his foot in it' and 'raised eyebrows' for the first time this year when he told a Filipino nurse that her country "must be half empty – you're all here running the National Health Service."

The old Duke is renowned for making gaffes and in the past and all over the world said to :
* at a project to protect turtle doves in Anguilla in 1965 :

*  British students during a 1986 state visit to China :
"If you stay here much longer, you'll all be slitty-eyed."

* a group of deaf youngsters and referring to a school's steel band :
"Deaf? If you are near there, no wonder you are deaf," .

* in Scotland to a driving instructor in 1995 :
 "How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to pass the test?"

* controversially in 1999 in Edinburgh when he saw an untidy fuse box during a tour of a factory :
"It looks as though it was put in by an Indian." and later backtracked with :
“I meant to say cowboys.”
Prince Phillip - Duke of Edinburgh with the Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo (Pic: PA)
* Olusegun Obasanjo, President of Nigeria, who was in national dress :
 "You look like you're ready for bed."

* of Ethiopian art that it was :
"The kind of thing my daughter would bring back from school art lessons".

* to Simon Kelner, republican editor of 'The Independent', at Windsor Castle reception:
“What are you doing here?”
“I was invited, sir.”
“Well, you didn’t have to come.”

* to expats in Abu Dhabi :
“Are you running away from something?”

* after accepting a conservation award in Thailand in 1991:
“Your country is one of the most notorious centres of trading in endangered species.”

* to multi-ethnic 'Britain’s Got Talent' 2009 winners 'Diversity':
“Are you all one family?”

* about Beijing, during a visit there in 1986:

* about on Stoke-on-Trent, during a visit in 1997:

* at Hertfordshire University in 2003:
“During the Blitz, a lot of shops had their windows blown in and put up notices saying, ‘More open than usual’. I now declare this place more open than usual.”

* to a tourist in Budapest in 1993:
“You can’t have been here long, you haven’t got a pot belly.”

* to a British trekker in Papua New Guinea, 1998:
“You managed not to get eaten then?”

* to Lockerbie residents after plane bombing, 1993:
People say after a fire it’s water damage that’s the worst. We’re still drying out Windsor Castle.”

* in Canada in 1976:
“We don’t come here for our health.”

* about his son, the Duke of York’s house in 1986:
“It looks like a tart’s bedroom.”

* in Germany while addressing the Chancellor Helmut Kohl in 1997, that he was the :
.Lord Taylor of Warwick
* at a party in 2004:
“Bugger the table plan, give me my dinner!”

* to a woman solicitor, 1987:
“I thought it was against the law for a woman to solicit.”

* to a civil servant, 1970:
“You’re just a silly little Whitehall twit: you don’t trust me and I don’t trust you.”

* about the 1981 recession:
“A few years ago, everybody was saying we must have more leisure, everyone’s working too much. Now everybody’s got more leisure time they’re complaining they’re unemployed. People don’t seem to make up their minds what they want.”

“It’s a vast waste of space.”

* to the Aircraft Research Association in 2002:
“If you travel as much as we do, you appreciate the improvements in aircraft design of less noise and more comfort – provided you don’t travel in something called economy class, which sounds ghastly.”

* about stress counselling for servicemen in 1995:
“We didn’t have counsellors rushing around every time somebody let off a gun. You just got on with it!”

* about Tom Jones in 1969:
It’s difficult to see how it’s possible to become immensely valuable by singing what are the most hideous songs.”

* on how difficult it is in Britain to get rich:
“What about Tom Jones? He’s made a million and he’s a bloody awful singer.”

* to then Paraguay dictator, General Stroessner:
“It’s a pleasure to be in a country that isn’t ruled by its people.”

* to Cayman Islanders:
“Aren’t most of you descended from pirates?”

* at a WF meeting in 1986:
“If it has four legs and it’s not a chair, if it’s got two wings and it flies but is not an aeroplane and if it swims and it’s not a submarine, the Cantonese will eat it.”

* when asked st a local airport : “What was your flight, like, Your Royal Highness?":::
said : “Have you ever flown in a plane?”
“Oh yes, sir, many times.”
“Well,” said Philip, “it was just like that.”

* to a fashion writer in 1993:
“You’re not wearing mink knickers,are you?”

* to Susan Edwards and her guide dog in 2002:
“They have eating dogs for the anorexic now.”

* when offered wine in Rome in 2000 :
“I don’t care what kind it is, just get me a beer!”

* in 1967 :
“I’d like to go to Russia very much – although the bastards murdered half my family.”

* to matron of Caribbean hospital, 1966 :
“You have mosquitoes. I have the Press.”

* at a Bangladeshi youth club in 2002:
“So who’s on drugs here?... HE looks as if he’s on drugs.”

* to a children’s band in Australia in 2002:
“You were playing your instruments? Or do you have tape recorders under your seats?”

* at Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme, 2006 :
“Young people are the same as they always were. Just as ignorant.”

* to Elton John on his gold Aston Martin in 2001:
“Oh, it’s you that owns that ghastly car, is it?”

* at a Scottish fish farm:
“Oh! You’re the people ruining the rivers.”

* after a breakfast of bacon, eggs, smoked salmon, kedgeree, croissants and pain au chocolat from Gallic chef Regis Crépy, 2002:
“The French don’t know how to cook breakfast.”

* to black politician, Lord Taylor of Warwick, 1999:
“And what exotic part of the world do you come from?”

* to Andrew Adams age 13, in 1998:
“You could do with losing a little bit of weight.”

* to the US Ambassador in 1999, when presented with a hamper of goods :
“Where’s the Southern Comfort?”

* when turning down food, 2000:
“No, I’d probably end up spitting it out over everybody.”

* in 2000 :
“People think there’s a rigid class system here, but dukes have even been known to marry chorus girls. Some have even married Americans.”

Wednesday 20 February 2013

Britain is still a country for and says "Happy Birthday" to an old film and tv director called Mike Leigh

Mike Leigh, writer, film and theatre director is 70 today and old men remember, when he and they were young men and he made them laugh and wince in the 1970's.

A 'Brummie' couple, Finger and Honky arrive on their motorbike, equipped with an army tent, football and a fondness for late-night drinking and when Finger's plans to light a fire to cook sausages, Keith objects as it contravenes the 'rules of the site' and resorts to violence in order to stop it :
The following year Mike made 'Abigail's Party' in which Beverly Moss, played by Alison Steadman who was married to Mike at the time, invites her new neighbours, Angela and Tony over for drink and also neighbour Susan, divorced for three years, whose fifteen-year-old daughter Abigail is holding a party. She serves more drinks, the alcohol takes effect, flirts more and more overtly with Tony :
Husband Laurence sits impotently by and after a tirade about art, suffers a fatal heart attack.

.What you probably didn't know about Mike, that he :

* was born in Welwyn, Hertfordshire and brought up in Salford, Lancashie where his father, Alfred Abraham was a doctor from a family of Jewish immigrant whose surname was originally 'Lieberman',  anglicised to 'Leigh' in with the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939.

* studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, the Camberwell School of Art and the Central School of Art and Design and as a cartoonist was influenced by the work of Ronald Searle.

 * is a 'northerner' who came 'south', proud and critical of his roots and Jewish background who began as a theatre director and playwright in the mid 1960's and in the 70's and 80's made films for BBC TV characterized by a gritty 'kitchen sink realism' style.

* begins his work without a script, but with a basic premise which is developed through improvisation by the actors and only after months of rehearsal, the script is finalised with almost no improvisation on camera.

* when he had arrived in London, one of the first films he had seen was 'Shadows', an 'improvised' film by John Cassavetes, in which a cast of unknowns was observed 'living, loving and bickering' on the streets of New York, and Leigh had "felt it might be possible to create complete plays from scratch with a group of actors."

* his worh in film includes 'Life is Sweet' in 1990 :

'Naked' in '93 for which he 'Best Director' award at Cannes:

'BAFTA winning 'Secrets and Lies' in '96 :

the comedy-drama 'Career Girls' in '97 :

the Gilbert and Sullivan biopic, 'Topsy-Turvey' in 97 :

 the bleak working-class drama 'All or Nothing' in  2002 :

and 'Golden Lion' winner 'Vera Drake' in 2004.

'Another Year' in 2010, with Mike talking :



Tuesday 19 February 2013

Britain is no longer a country for and says "Goodbye" to an old English actor and gentle gentleman called Richard Briers

Richard, who first came to prominence as George Starling in the tv sitcom, 'Marriage Lines' when Britain's old men were young men in the 1960's and became a household name as Tom Good in 'The Good Life' in the 70s, has died at the age of 79 and was given a tribute by the BBC :

What you possibly didn't know about Richard, that he :

* was born in Raynes Park in Surrey where his mother who was a drama and music teacher, while his father drifted between jobs and he himself left school at 16 without any formal qualifications.

* got his first job in a clerical post with a cable manufacturer in London, went to evening class to qualify in electrical engineering, but left to became a filing clerk.

* in 1952, at the age of 18, was called up for two years National Service in the Royal Air Force and met future tv comedy actor, Brian Murphy (right), who introduced him to the Dramatic Society at the Borough Polytechnic Institute where he performed in several productions.

* left the RAF in 1954 and studied for two years at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in a class with future actor stars, Peter O'Toole and Albert Finney and then worked in repertory theatre in Liverpool and Coventry before his London West End debut in Duke of York's 1959 production of 'Gilt and Gingerbread'.

* made it to tv in 1961, in the sitcom, 'Marriage Lines' with Prunella Scales as his wife, which ran until 1966 but became nationally recognisable as Tom Good in 'The Good Life' ( left)from 1975–78, a draughtsman who decides, on his 40th birthday, to give up his job and try his hand at self-sufficiency, with the support of his wife Barbara, played by Felicity Kendal.

* had sucess in the theatre in 1967 playing alongside Michael Horden and Celia Johnson in the London production of Alan Ayckbourn's 'Relatively Speaking' (left) and returned to the theatre in the 1980s when Kenneth  Branagh offered him the role of Malvolio (right), in the Renaissance Theatre Company production of 'Twelth Night' and went on to play title parts in 'King Lear' and 'Uncle Vanya'.

* was a familiar voice actor on childrens tv with the animated series 'Roobarb' in 1974 and 'Noddy' in '75 and provided the voice of 'Fiver' in the animated film adaptation of 'Watership Down' in 1978.
* starred in his last tv series as Hector in the tv series, 'Monarch of the Glen' form 2000 to 2002.

*  was a keen visitor of Britain's historic churches and visited over one hundred for his 1988 book 'English Country Churches'.

* with news of his death the BBC referred to him as "one of Britain's best-loved actors" and Kenneth Branagh said : "He was a national treasure, a great actor and a wonderful man. He was greatly loved and he will be deeply missed."

Tribute from Penelope Keith :

"He was a wonderful mentor, tutor and teacher...He was always courteous  and would speak to the crew- which was not always that common...He was a real gent- bothgentle and a gentleman."

Sunday 17 February 2013

Britain is no longer a country for and says "Goodbye" to an old and invisible photographer and cameraman called David Farrell

The photographer David FarrellDavid, celebrated for his photographic portraits of artists, actors and musicians and whose main body from the mid-1950s to the 1980s, has died at the age of 93.

What you possibly didn't know about David, that he :
* was was born in Dulwich, South London where his mother, a hospital matron,  passionate about music, took him to violin lessons from the age of three and he attended Manor House and Dulwich Schools, then won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music and studied under Max Rostal (right).

 * had his studies  interrupted by the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 and enlisted in the Royal Air Force and served as a pilot officer with Bomber Command.

* escaped injury in a German bombing raid while in a cab in London and trying to get back to his unit after seeing his family the cabbie swore at the skies and drove his car straight down the steps of Swiss Cottage tube to avoid the explosives.

* in 1942, married art, student Joyce Manning, who he had met when stationed at an airfield in Gloucestershire.and as their family grew after the War, with five children over 10 years,  decided to leave his career as a solo violinist to become a self-taught photographer.

* moved to rural Gloucestershire where, in his daughter Cassie's words, photographing "a lot of rich people's kids and the whole hunting fraternity, he became very in demand among the county set."

* had a circle of friends, which included sculptors, Lynn Chadwick and Eduardo Paolozzi, scientist and author Jacob Bronowski, economist Leopold Kohr and playwright Peter Nichols and through which he found work with the National Theatre and the Tate Gallery in London.

*  expressed no bitterness at the sacrifice of his career in music and performed informally in duets and string quartets with young people like his son-in-law, John Adams, who said that he "was no prima donna and had a human quality that meant he always played to the other musician's level, even if it was that of a 10-year-old child. His favourite form of relaxation was family concerts."

* in 1964 photographed Margot Fonteyn dancing with Rudolf Nureyev at the Bath Festival on the day her husband had been shot in Panama and in the evening he and Rudolf, who  declared himself 'in need of a drink', stopped at the Roman baths on their way to a pub and after being let in by a cleaner in return for Nureyev's signature, shot iconic images of the dancer, in available light.
Yehudi Menuhin and Margot Fonteyn by David Farrell
* was said by the violist Yehudi Menuhin whom he met at the Bath Music festival in 1955 and Margot Fonteyn, to have created the visual equivalent of his own musical achievements.

* during the 'swinging 60s', photographed popular singers, Adam Faith, Petula Clark, Helen Shapiro and Tom Jones, with a meticulous approach to his art,  believing that, after staging a photograph, taking the image was one part of the process.

* worked as a tv camera man and in 1968, shot Peter Hall's film of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' with David Warner, Diana Rigg and Helen Mirren
and in 1970, his stage version, followed by his film of 'King Lear', set in windswept Jutland, with Paul Scofield in the title role.

* through the 70s and 80s, worked on more than 100 feature films and tv dramas, for directors, Ken Loach, Blake Edwards and Michael Winner and in 1976 for Moustapha Akkad on 'Mohammad, Messenger of God', filmed in the Libyan desert with Anthony Quinn and Irene Papas.

The Rolling Stones performing 1962-3

*  took early sessions of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

* took the great French photographer, Henri Cartier-Bresson as his model Farrell and imitated his famed 'invisibility' so that Paul Scofield said he was the one photographer "who never intruded" and John Gielgud, on seeing his portrait of him, asked: "David, where were you? I didn't know you were there."

Friday 15 February 2013

Britain is a country where retired old men spend much of their time arguing with their partners about silly things

Instead of celebrating their new found freedom together, eight in 10 discover they don't share any of the same hobbies and interests while one in five bicker about a lack of money. A study by the Skipton Building Society of 660 retired old people, still in relationships, has shown that many find their 'old spark' has gone after giving up work.

It revealed that :

* eight in ten discover they don't share any of the same hobbies and interests while one in five bicker about a lack of money.

* four in ten admitted they needed to learn how to live with each other again now that the children have left home and they are no longer committed to work.

* one third of retirees spend much of their time arguing about silly things  when one, for example  :
- interferes with the other when cooking
- disagrees with the other about how long they spend on the phone
- wants to laze around while the other has lots of 'get up and go'
- likes to spend all of the spare money, while the other wants to save it for a rainy day.

* 13% admit they "irritate each other beyond belief".

* 29% were surprised to find they didn't have the same expectations for their 'golden years'.
Stacey Stothard, 'Corporate Communications Manager' at the Skipton  said:
''It is easy to believe that, when couples reach retirement, they might encounter all sorts of problems with their relationship. For the previous 30 or 40 years, they will have been set in a routine - going out to work, juggling looking after the children and pursuing their individual interests.
Day to day, they might only have had an hour or two of quality time together, with the rest of their day allocated to other commitments.
Suddenly, when faced with the prospect of spending 24 hours a day together, seven days a week, without work or the children to talk about, couples can find it hard to adjust.''

Happily, nine in 10 couples do think that eventually they will settle in to a happy retirement together.

Thursday 14 February 2013

Britain is still a country for and says "Happy Birthday" to an old film director called Alan Parker

Alan Parker, film director in British and American cinema, is 69 today.

What you possible didn't know about Alan, that he :

* was born into a working class family in Islington, North London, the son of Elsie, a dressmaker and William, a house painter.

* left school in 1962 and worked as a copywriter for advertising agencies and in the 70's and directed the award winning Cinzano Vermouth advertisements with Leonard Rossiter and Joan Collins.

* in 1970, saw his screenplay for a schoolboy romance, 'S.W.A.L.K'. ('sealed with a loving kiss'), produced by David Puttnam and released as 'Melody' : a tale of Mark Lester, a shy boy who meets and makes friends with Jack Wild and falls out when Jack falls in love with Tracy Hyde,'Melody'.

* had success with the tv play, 'The Evacuees' in 1975, about the experiences of two Jewish boys evacuated from London during the Blitz, winning the BAFTA television award for 'Best Director'.

* found the transition to feature films difficult and failed to attract financing for screenplays he described as "about things that were very close to me... very English, very London, very angry working class" but which were considered 'too parochial'.

* as a purely pragmatic exercise, wrote 'Bugsy Malone' in 1976, a children's musical set in 1920's Chicago, as a pastiche of the conventions of the American gangster movie, which although chosen with the aim of attracting American finance, was mainly funded by the National Film Finance Corporation and Rank

* collaborated in 1979 with Puttmam in a Heineken Beer tv commercial, ground breaking in its cast of a hundred and use of an elaborate film set.

* in 1982 directed 'Pink Floyd: The Wall', which received critical approval and a big audience.

* saw his 1991, 'The Commitments', an adaption of Roddy Doyle's story earn him 'Best Director' BAFTA award.

* with 'Angela's Ashes' in 1999, returned to Irish soil to direct an adaptation of Frank McCourt's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel starring Emily Watson and Robert Carlyle.

* received the BAFTA Fellowship award for 'Lifetime Achievement' at the 2013 awards ceremony, presented to him by Kevin Spacey.

Screenonline have defined Alan as :

'a deeply paradoxical figure: a film-maker committed to popular, mainstream, narrative cinema, yet whose work is often challenging in theme and distinctive in look; a persistent critic of the British film establishment, yet a man who chaired two of the establishment's major institutions; a working class 'turnip-head' who was awarded the CBE in 1995 and a knighthood in 2002. Nevertheless, he has consistently pursued his own particular vision of film and film-making, and has always been prepared to put his reputation on the line, never taking refuge in whinging from the sidelines.
A profile in The Face acutely defined him as 'an outsider with a superiority complex''.

Quotes from Alan :

"I was once described by one of my critics as an aesthetic fascist."

"I'm always afraid someone's going to tap me on the shoulder one day and say, "Back to North London"."

"Every time I've been to Cannes, I've made up my mind never to return. Every time my vanity wins over."