|Born||1960 (age 56–57)
Wexford, County Wexford, Ireland
|Occupation||Film and television director|
Declan Lowney (born 1960) is an Irish television and film director. After directing a short film in 1980, Lowney worked for RTÉ, and directed musical events such as the 1988 Eurovision Song Contest, and The Velvet Underground's Live MCMXCIII. In Great Britain, he became known for directing the first two series and Christmas special of Father Ted, which won him a British Academy Television Award in 1996. This got him a job directing the pilot and first two episodes of Cold Feet in 1996 and 1998. After his first attempt at a feature film debut failed in 1998, Lowney directed Wild About Harry in 2000.
Since 2000, he has directed the television series Happiness, Help, Little Britain and Married Single Other. Happiness and Little Britain each secured him another BAFTA nomination, and Help got him another win. As of 2010, Lowney is developing a film about Eddie 'the Eagle' Edwards and is also directing Channel 4 comedy shorts for Irish Comedians The Rubberbandits.
Lowney was born in Wexford in County Wexford, Ireland in 1960. At the age of 12, he began using his uncle's Super 8 camera to make short films, and became the winner of local amateur film competitions. His parents wanted him to go into a career in law, but he decided to continue making films instead. In 1977, he directed The Rose that Bloomed, a documentary film about the 25th Wexford Film Festival.
In 1980, Lowney released Wavelength, a 17-minute short subject that he directed and produced. Throughout the 1980s, he worked for Irish national broadcaster R.T.É.. He became known for directing musical concerts, including the 1988 Eurovision Song Contest, for which he won a Jacob's Award. Lowney courted controversy shortly before the contest, when he stated in an interview that Eurvision was "just an excuse for a load of TV executives to go on the piss on expenses". Into the 1990s, he directed the Bob Marley biopic Time Will Tell (1991) and The Velvet Underground's 1993 tour Live MCMXCIII.
After directing some Penn and Teller shows and the Jo Brand series Through the Cake Hole, Lowney met with writers Arthur Mathews and Graham Linehan about directing a new sitcom they had written called Paris. He did not get the job, but Matthews and Linehan remembered him when they were putting together a production team for their next sitcom, Father Ted. Lowney took input from Linehan and Matthews on set, and the three often refined the scripts during filming. One of Lowney's favourite episodes is "Song for Europe", which mocks the frequency Ireland wins the Eurovision Song Contest, and features a music video scene. For his work on two series and the Christmas special, Lowney was the co-recipient of the 1995 BAFTA Television Award for Best Comedy (Programme or Series). Lowney was met by Christine Langan, a Granada Television producer who wanted him to direct Cold Feet, an ITV Comedy Premiere. Lowney agreed and Cold Feet was filmed in 1996, though not broadcast until 1997. It was a success, winning the Golden Rose of Montreux and a British Comedy Award. Langan asked Lowney if he would like to return to direct the first two episodes of the recently commissioned series of Cold Feet. He declined the invitation because the production schedules clashed with his first feature film, Mattie. Written by Hugh Leonard, Mattie was to star Terence Stamp and Mia Farrow. Funding for the film fell through the week before principal photography was due to begin. Lowney was offered the first episodes of Cold Feet again and this time accepted. The episodes were broadcast in 1998.
After the failure of Mattie, Lowney finally got the chance to direct a debut feature with Wild About Harry (2000). The following year, he directed the first series of Paul Whitehouse's Happiness, which was nominated for a BAFTA. He returned for the second series in 2003. In 2005, he directed Whitehouse's Help, and the third series of Little Britain. Help won Lowney his second BAFTA and Little Britain secured him another nomination. In 2008, he directed a major television advertising campaign for Reveal magazine. In 2009, he directed the RTÉ sitcom Never Mind the Nursing Home and three episodes of the ITV romantic comedy Married Single Other, which were broadcast in early 2010. In 2010, Lowney directed a performance of Riverdance in Beijing in high-definition. The performance was scheduled for release on Blu-ray to mark 15 years of the troupe.
Since 2007, Lowney has been developing a biographical film about Eddie 'the Eagle' Edwards. Comedian Steve Coogan was originally selected for the role of Edwards but was replaced by Rupert Grint in 2009. The film was scheduled to begin production once Grint completed work on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 and Part 2. Lowney directed Coogan in the 2013 Alan Partridge feature film, Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa.
Lowney is married to Jenny, and they have two sons, Danny and Ted, and a daughter, Joya. Ted was named after the title character of Father Ted as a tribute to actor Dermot Morgan, who died the day after Lowney and Jenny learned she was pregnant. Danny made an appearance in the first episode of Happiness, playing Josh.
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