Mike Leigh trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, at Camberwell and Central Art Schools in London, and at the London Film School.
He has written and directed over twenty stage plays. These include Babies Grow Old (1974), Abigail's Party (1977), Ecstasy (1979), Goose-Pimples (1981), Smelling A Rat (1988), Greek Tragedy (1989), It's A Great Big Shame! (1993), Two Thousand Years (2005) and Grief (2011).
His first feature film was Bleak Moments (1971). This was followed by the full-length television films, Hard Labour (1973), Nuts In May (1975), The Kiss of Death (1976), Who's Who (1978), Grown-Ups (1980), Home Sweet Home (1982), Meantime (1983) and Four Days In July (1984).
Other feature films are High Hopes (1988), Life Is Sweet (1990), Naked (1993),
Secrets & Lies (1996), Career Girls (1997), Topsy-Turvy (1999), All Or Nothing (2002), Vera Drake (2004), Happy-Go-Lucky (2008), Another Year (2010) and Mr. Turner (2014).