Tim Sullivan (British filmmaker)

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Tim Sullivan
Born (1958-02-21) 21 February 1958 (age 58)
Occupation Film and television director, screenwriter
Years active 1981–present

Tim Sullivan (born 21 February 1958) is a British film and television director and screenwriter, known for his work with Granada Television and his feature film Jack and Sarah (1995).


Tim Sullivan was born in Germany, where his father was stationed with the Royal Air Force. He attended Clifton College in Bristol, England before gaining an exhibition scholarship to read English and Law at the University of Cambridge.[1] While at Cambridge, Sullivan was a member of the Cambridge University Amateur Dramatic Club, and partnered with writer Richard Maher on the play Klev, which ran at the Crown Theatre, Hill Place in 1978.[2] He also supplied extras to Chariots of Fire (1981) and became acquainted with director Hugh Hudson, hoping to find a way into the film industry. It came to nothing, and after leaving Cambridge Sullivan began claiming unemployment benefits, before taking a summer job as a chauffeur to Anthony Andrews on the production of Brideshead Revisited. The producer Derek Granger learned that Sullivan was writing a screenplay with Derek Jarman, and encouraged him to get a job as a researcher with Granada Television.[1]


After working as a researcher on the first series of Alfresco, Sullivan and Richard Maher partnered to write their first television series, a sitcom entitled The Train Now Leaving, set in the dining carriage of an InterCity train running between London and Manchester. Granada commissioned seven 30-minute scripts for development.[3]

Sullivan stayed at Granada for several more years, directing episodes of series such as Busman's Holiday, Stop That Laughing at the Back, Coronation Street and The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes, as well as adapting A Handful of Dust for television (1988) and directing Thatcher: The Final Days (1991).[1][4] In 1995, Sullivan wrote and directed his first feature film, Jack and Sarah, starring Richard E. Grant and Samantha Mathis. The film, which took Sullivan four years to develop, was inspired by the attention a male colleague at Granada received when his childcare arrangements broke down and he had to bring his child into work.[1]

Into the 2000s, Sullivan worked freelance on many television and film projects, including directing the final episode of Cold Feet for Granada, and the one-off comedy drama Catwalk Dogs for Shed Productions.[4] In 2005, Sullivan was hired by DreamWorks to write an initial script draft for Shrek 4,[5] though his script was abandoned by the time production on the film began.

Sullivan wrote the film Letters to Juliet, starring Amanda Seyfried, which was released in the United States in 2010, and has been developing a film based on the London Marathon.[4]


Year(s) Title Role Description
1985 Wild Winter Director 1 episode of television series
1985 Hank Wangford at Strangeways Director Television special
1985 Our Backyard Director 26 episodes of television series
1985 TX Director 4 episodes of television series
1985 Hold Tight Director 1 series of television game show
1986 I Feel Fine Director 6 episodes of television series
1986 Busman's Holiday Director 14 episodes of television game show
1987 Stop That Laughing at the Back Director 5 episodes of television series
1988 Coronation Street Director 18 episodes of television series
1988 A Handful of Dust Screenwriter Television film
1990–1992 El C.I.D. Director 2 episodes of television series
1990 Made in Heaven Director 2 episodes of television series
1991 Thatcher: The Final Days Director Television film
1991 Where Angels Fear to Tread Screenwriter Feature film
1993–1995 The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes Director 3 episodes of television series
1995 Jack and Sarah Director and screenwriter Feature film
2003 Cold Feet Director 1 episode of television series
2007 Catwalk Dogs Director Television film
2010 Letters to Juliet Screenwriter Feature film


  1. ^ a b c d Summers, Sue (18 June 1995). "Cinema/ The British are coming (again)". The Independent (Independent Newspapers): p. 32.
  2. ^ Staff (17 August 1978). "Current Production". The Stage and Television Today: p. 48.
  3. ^ Staff (6 October 1983). "Granada takes on cartoon and BR for new comedies". The Stage and Television Today: p. 19.
  4. ^ a b c Staff (16 June 2008). "In the right direction". The Independent (Independent News & Media): p. 8.
  5. ^ Staff (6 March 2005). "DreamWorks plans 'Shrek 4'". Variety.com (Reed Business Information). Retrieved on 29 August 2010.

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