Mike Newell (director)

Michael Cormac Newell (born 28 March 1942) is an English film and television director and producer. He won the BAFTA for Best Direction for Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), which also won the BAFTA Award for Best Film, and directed the films Donnie Brasco (1997) and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005).[1]

Mike Newell
Newell at WonderCon 2010
Michael Cormac Newell

(1942-03-28) 28 March 1942
St Albans, England
Alma materMagdalene College, Cambridge
Occupation(s)Director, producer
Years active1963–present
Notable workFour Weddings and a Funeral
Donnie Brasco
Pushing Tin
Mona Lisa Smile
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Great Expectations
Bernice Stegers
(m. 1980)
AwardsBAFTA Award for Best Direction
Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)

Early life

Newell was born in St Albans, Hertfordshire, as the son of amateur actors,[2] and was educated at St Albans School. He read English at Magdalene College, Cambridge.[3][4] He then attended a three-year training course at Granada Television with the intention of entering the theatre.


Newell directed various British TV shows from the 1960s onwards (such as Spindoe, credited as Cormac Newell, and Big Breadwinner Hog), but eventually shifted his focus to film direction.

His first feature-length project was The Man in the Iron Mask (1977), a made-for-television film. His first critically acclaimed movie was Bad Blood (1981), concerning the 1941 manhunt for the New Zealand mass-killer Stan Graham played by Jack Thompson. This was followed by Dance with a Stranger (1985), a biographical drama starring Miranda Richardson as Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged in the UK. For his directorial efforts, Newell won the Award of the Youth at the 1985 Cannes Film Festival.

Newell continued his successes in the film industry with Enchanted April (1991), an adaptation of the 1922 novel by Elizabeth von Arnim. Miranda Richardson won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical and Joan Plowright won the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture.

During this period, George Lucas recruited Newell as one of the numerous feature film directors to direct episodes of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.

The comedy Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) was also critically acclaimed, winning numerous awards, including a César Award (Best Foreign Film), a Golden Globe (Best ActorHugh Grant), and a number of London Critics Circle Film Awards (Best Director, Film, Producer, and Screenwriter).

Since these award-winning productions, Newell has directed a number of films in Hollywood, such as Donnie Brasco (1997) (starring Al Pacino and Johnny Depp), Pushing Tin (1999) (starring John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton, Cate Blanchett, and Angelina Jolie) and Mona Lisa Smile (2003) (starring Julia Roberts, Kirsten Dunst, and Julia Stiles).

In 2005, Newell was presented with an honorary degree of Doctor of Arts by the University of Hertfordshire which has a campus in St Albans, his birthplace. He was also awarded the BAFTA Britannia Award for Artistic Excellence in Directing for his career prior to 2005.[5] Newell became the first British director of the Harry Potter film series with the production of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the fourth adaptation in the series, which became a major critical and financial success worldwide. Newell is heard briefly as the radio announcer at the beginning of the film.

Newell directed Love in the Time of Cholera in 2007 and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time in 2010. In February 2011, Newell attended the British Academy Film Awards along with Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, David Heyman, David Barron, David Yates, Alfonso Cuarón, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson to collect the Michael Balcon Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Cinema on behalf of the Harry Potter film series.[6]

Continuing to work on adaptations, Newell directed Great Expectations (2012) from the novel by Charles Dickens with Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter, and Jeremy Irvine in starring roles.[7][8][9][10][11] The film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.[12]

On Christmas Day in 2016, Newell appeared as a contestant on a special episode of the BBC's University Challenge, representing his alma mater, Magdalene College, Cambridge.[4]




Executive producer


TV series

Year(s) Title Notes
1966 Coronation Street 8 episodes
1967 The Fellows 5 episodes
Escape 1 episode
1967–1981 ITV Playhouse 4 episodes
1968 Spindoe 4 episodes
City '68 2 episodes
Her Majesty's Pleasure 5 episodes
1969 Big Breadwinner Hog 6 episodes
Parkin's Patch 2 episodes
1969–1970 ITV Saturday Night Theatre 2 episodes
1970 Confession 2 episodes
Diamond Crack Diamond 1 episode
The Adventures of Don Quick 1 episode
1971 The Guardians 2 episodes
1971–1972 Thirty-Minute Theatre 2 episodes
Budgie 6 episodes
1972 The Man from Haven
1972–1978 Play for Today 6 episodes
1973 Love Story 2 episodes
Hadleigh 2 episodes
Late Night Theatre 3 episodes
Wessex Tales 1 episode
1974 Childhood 1 episode
Late Night Drama 2 episodes
1975 BBC2 Playhouse 1 episode
Comedy Premiere 1 episode
1976 Red Letter Day 1 episode
Second City Firsts 1 episode
1977 The Sunday Drama 1 episode
1978 BBC2 Play of the Week 1 episode
1989 Smith and Jones in Small Doses 1 episode
1993 The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles 2 episodes
2019 One Red Nose Day and a Wedding TV Short

As executive producer

Year(s) Name Notes
2003 The Branch
2004–2006 Huff 16 episodes

TV movies

  • Sharon (1964) (Documentary)
  • Comedy Workshop: Love and Maud Carver (1964)
  • The Kindness of Strangers (1967)
  • Them Down There (1968)
  • The Visitors (1968)
  • The Gamekeeper (1968)
  • 69 Murder – The Blood Relation (1968)
  • Blood Relations (1969)
  • Arthur Wants You for a Sunbeam (1970)
  • Mrs. Mouse, Are You Within? (1971)
  • Big Soft Nelly Mrs. Mouse (1971)
  • Baa Baa Black Sheep (1974)
  • The Gift of Friendship (1974)
  • The Boundary (1975)
  • The Midas Connection (1975)
  • Lost Yer Tongue? (1975)
  • Of the Fields, Lately (1976)
  • The Man in the Iron Mask (1977)
  • The Fosdyke Saga (1977)
  • Little Girls Don't (1978)
  • Blood Feud (1983)
  • Birth of a Nation (1983)
  • The Whole Hog (1989)
  • Common Ground (1990)
  • Jo (2002) (Also producer)
  • The Interestings (2016)


  1. "Mike Newell on Love in the Time of Cholera". ComingSoon.net.
  2. "Mike Newell Biography (1942-)". filmreference.com.
  3. Church Gibson, Pamela. "Newell, Mike (1942-)". Screenonline. Retrieved 15 March 2021.
  4. "Magdalene, Cambridge v St Hilda's, Oxford". BBC Online. Retrieved 15 March 2021.
  5. Mike Newell: BAFTA/LA Archived 16 June 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  6. "Harry Potter Series Receives Prestigious BAFTA". The Lord of the Hallows. 14 February 2011.
  7. Ralph Fiennes In Talks For Great Expectations Archived 12 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  8. Zakarin, Jordan (14 April 2011). "Helena Bonham Carter in 'Great Expectations'? Star in Talks for Miss Havisham Role". HuffPost. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  9. "Jeremy Irvine Meeting Great Expectations, Helena Bonham Carter also in talks". Empire Online. 15 April 2011. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  10. Sneider, Jeff (14 April 2011). "'War' star Irvine meets 'Expectations'". Variety. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  11. "Number 9's slate includes new Neil Jordan vampire film". ScreenDaily. 15 May 2011. Retrieved 15 May 2011.
  12. "Great Expectations | tiff.net". Archived from the original on 16 January 2013. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
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