Tag Archives: Ben Taylor

DQ Recommends: Drama directors

DQ asks some of the people who make TV around the world which directors working in the drama business have caught their eye and why.

Jacob Verbruggen
Belgian director Verbruggen is known for television work including Code 37, The Fall, The Bridge, London Spy, House of Cards, Black Mirror and The Alienist.

UKTV drama commissioner Philippa Collie Cousins says: “Currently, I am dissecting his work on The Fall. His lighting is beautiful, yet subtle. He knows where to put the camera to bring out both character and the purpose of the scene. Scenes begin in the middle and leave before the end.
“There is always a large cast on any police-based show, and I think the mastery of a director shines through on some of the minor characters and backgrounds. Here, minor characters enter and leave the frame with ease and deliver their lines so naturally.”

Louise Hooper
Hooper has had a busy couple of years, helming ITV dramas Cheat and Flesh & Blood. She has also directed episodes of Stan Lee’s Lucky Man, Cold Feet and Vera.

Royal Television Society CEO Theresa Wise says: “Louise Hooper has a remarkable eye for visual clues to the plot. One of my favourite moments in Flesh & Blood is when Imelda Staunton’s character is being interviewed by the police about the suspicious death of another character. She passes the police a plate of biscuits. The biscuits are gloriously twee – custard creams and artificially coloured fondant fancies. They were a marvellous metaphor for Imelda’s character, Mary – the prying, repressed neighbour.”

Ben Taylor
Taylor (pictured top with actor Gillian Anderson) has directed episodes of Cardinal Burns, Cuckoo and Catastrophe, as well as Divorce and Year of the Rabbit. He is also lead director on Netflix’s Sex Education.

Red Arrow Studios International’s exec VP of commercial strategy for scripted, Carlo Dusi, says: “With his work in setting up the original season of Sex Education, Ben Taylor created an entirely fresh world for the show like no other we had seen on TV before, using the natural beauty of South Wales to magic up a reality somewhere between rural UK and undefined North America.
“The combination of period design elements within an otherwise contemporary setting also helped turn the microcosm of the show into a universal reality, and the visual style guide and tone that Taylor achieved with season one are now fully set up for imitation for years to come.”

(photo: Sundance Institute)

Augustine Frizzell
An actor, writer and producer, Frizzell has also built a directing career on the back of short films I Was a Teenage Girl and Minor Setback, feature Never Goin’ Back, and TV series Europhia and Sweetbitter.

APC Studios co-CEO Emmanuelle Guilbart praises Frizzell’s handling of the pilot episode of HBO’s Euphoria, about the experiences of a group of high-school students, recognising it as “a series whose success owes a lot to its arresting visual style.”

Johan Renck
Buccaneer Media joint CEO Tony Wood has loved Mark Mylod’s work on Succession, but adds: “Johan Renck’s work on Chernobyl was truly outstanding.”

Renck’s other credits include European crime drama The Last Panthers, plus Bloodline, Bates Motel, Vikings, Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead.

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Lesson time

Netflix original series Sex Education follows Otis Milburn (Asa Butterfield), a socially awkward high-school student who lives with his sex therapist mother, Jean (Gillian Anderson). In season one, Otis and his friend Maeve (Emma Mackey) set up a sex clinic at school to capitalise on his talent for dishing out sex advice.

In season two, Otis’s relationship with girlfriend Ola (Patricia Allison) progresses while he must also deal with his now-strained friendship with Maeve. Meanwhile, Moordale Secondary is in the throes of a chlamydia outbreak, highlighting the need for better sex education at the school, while new kids come to town who will challenge the status quo.

The cast also includes Ncuti Gatwa, Connor Swindells, Aimee Lou Wood, Kedar Williams-Stirling, Chaneil Kular, Simone Ashley, Mimi Keene, Tanya Reynolds, Mikael Persbrandt, Jim Howick, Rakhee Thakrar, Samantha Spiro, James Purefoy and Alistair Petrie.

In this DQTV interview, executive producers Laurie Nunn, Ben Taylor and Jamie Campbell open up about the making of the show and bringing it back for a second run. Creator and writer Nunn reveals how she was brought the idea of putting a teenage sex therapist onto a school campus and then created the world of Moordale and its characters.

She also talks about how US teen series shaped the world of Sex Education, a vision shared with director Taylor, who wanted to create a “positive, warm school experience.”

The group also discuss bringing the cast together and the challenges of balancing so many characters’ stories, and tease the potential of future seasons.

Sex Education is produced by Eleven for Netflix.

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