Mark Herman was born in Bridlington in Yorkshire in 1954. He studied at art college in Hull before first becoming involved in film while studying Graphic Design in Leeds, going on to the National Film School as an animator. The story goes that he was a contemporary of Wallace & Gromit creator Nick Park's and decided, rather than compete with such a talent, to give up animation completely and move into live action. The graduation film he then created, See You at Wembley, Frankie Walsh, won a Student Oscar. He followed this in 1987 with another short film, Unusual Ground Floor Conversion, and then, after a period of diversion writing lyrics for the popular 80s band The Christians, most notably ‘Ideal World’ and ‘Hooverville’, he made his feature length debut with the 1992 comedy Blame it on the Bellboy, starring Dudley Moore. Not a great critical success, Mark had to wait until 1996 for his first major success, which came in the shape of Brassed Off, which he both wrote and directed. Avoiding the pitfalls of sentimentalism, the piece was driven by realistic characterisation and smart dialogue and set in a non-cosmopolitan Britain, which Mark portrays in a sensitive but not overwhelming way. The beautifully shot landscape comes over as more than a backdrop for the action and, featuring a stunning cast including Ewan McGregor, Tara Fitzgerald, Pete Postlethwaite and Stephen Tompkinson, the film was an outstanding success. Next for Mark was a film adaptation of Jim Cartwright’s The Rise and Fall of Little Voice in 1998, not long after he had offered his sympathy to anyone faced with the challenge of adapting this very dynamic live show for the cinema. However, he rose to the challenge and managed to capture the spirit of the stage production while at the same time creating an original film. In 2000 Mark took Jonathan Tulloch’s novel The Season Ticket, the story of two teenage boys trying to get enough money together to buy season tickets for Newcastle United and created the film Purely Belter. He then wrote and directed Hope Springs, starring Colin Firth before, most recently, writing and directing the very successful film adaptation of John Boyne’s children’s book about the Holocaust, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, with a cast including David Thewlis, Vera Farmiga and Sheila Hancock. Mark is currently adapting Brian Lavery’s The Headscarf Revolutionaries for the BBC. It’s the compelling story of four women’s tenacious fight for more safety at sea for their loved ones after three Hull trawlers sank in as many weeks in 1968 with the loss of 58 men, a campaign that became global news.