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Friday 20 April 2018

Director Antonia Bird dies at 62

Antonia Bird, pictured with Robert Carlyle
Antonia Bird, pictured with Robert Carlyle

Antonia Bird, one of Britain's leading female film and TV directors, has died of cancer aged 62.

She was known for 1990s films including Priest, Face and Ravenous, all starring actor Robert Carlyle.

Robert wrote on Twitter: "Such a sad day today. RIP Antonia Bird. Farewell my beautiful friend."

Novelist Irvine Welsh, who was a partner with Bird in the British film production company 4Way Pictures alongside Carlyle and film maker Mark Cousins, paid tribute to "our top Bird" and said she made "amazing films".

Mark commented: "So touching to see all the tributes to director Antonia Bird. The thing now is to make her work available and get it seen."

Her partner gave a statement to the BBC which said she died on Thursday after a seven-month struggle with the rare anaplastic thyroid cancer. She had an operation to remove a large tumour in April, it said.

"Despite a determined fight, she had come to terms with the inevitable in the last few weeks and died peacefully in her sleep," the statement added.

Antonia's TV credits included Spooks, Cracker, the first series of EastEnders in 1985 and this year's BBC One drama The Village.

Born in London, she started her career in professional theatre just after her 17th birthday in 1968 and took on various roles in regional theatres including directing, acting, stage management and publicity.

She became a resident director at London's Royal Court Theatre in 1978, before switching to TV in the mid-1980s.

Antonia won best single drama awards at the TV Baftas for 1993's Safe, a BBC Two drama about homeless teenagers, and 2000's Care, which focused on sexual abuse in children's homes.

She also won a Bafta Children's Award in 2009 for poetry documentary Off By Heart.

Actor Nico Mirallegro, who worked alongside Bird on The Village, wrote: "I'm so pleased that I got the chance to learn from and work with such an inspirational person. Loved everything about her."

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