Michael "Mike" Leigh, OBE (born 20 February 1943) is a British writer and director of film and theatre. He studied theatre at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and studied further at the Camberwell School of Art and the Central School of Art and Design. He began as a theatre director and playwright in the mid 1960s. In the 1970s and 1980s his career moved between work for the theatre and making films for BBC Television, many of which were characterized by a gritty "kitchen sink realism" style. His well-known films include Life is Sweet (1990), the comedy-drama Career Girls (1997), the Gilbert and Sullivan biopic Topsy Turvy (1999), and the bleak working-class drama All or Nothing (2002). His most notable works are arguably Naked (1993) for which he won the Best Director Award at Cannes, the BAFTA-winning (and Oscar-nominated) Palme d'Or winner Secrets & Lies (1996) and Golden Lion winner Vera Drake (2004).
His films and stage plays, according to the critic Michael Coveney, "comprise