Stephen Poliakoff (born 1 December 1952) won the Most Promising Playwright award in 1976 for City Sugar, and was Writer in Residence at the Royal National Theatre from 1976 – 1978. In 1997, Blinded by the Sun won the Critics Circle Best Play of the Year Award and Stephen was nominated for the Olivier Award for best Play. Other Plays written by Stephen include Clever Soldiers (Hampstead Theatre, 1974); Hitting Town (Bush Theatre, 1975) ; Strawberry Fields (Royal National Theatre, 1977) ; Caught in a Train, directed by Peter Duffell and starring Peggy Ashcroft (BBC, 1979, BAFTA Award Winner for Best Single Film, 1980) ; Breaking the Silence (Royal Shakespeare Company, transferred to Mermaid Theatre, 1984); Playing with Trains (Royal Shakespeare Company, 1989) ; Sienna Red (Peter Hall Company, 1992) ; Sweet Panic (Hampstead Theatre, 1996) ; Talk of the City (Royal Shakespeare Company, 1998 and The Young Vic, 1999), Remember This (Royal National Theatre, 1999) and a new production of Sweet Panic at the Duke of York’s Theatre, 2003. Most recently, he wrote and directed My City (Almeida Theatre, 2011).
Films written and directed by Stephen include Hidden City, starring Charles Dance (1988); Close my Eyes starring Alan Rickman, Clive Owen and Saskia Reeves (Winner of the Evening Standard Best British Film Award 1992); Century starring Charles Dance, Miranda Richardson and Clive Owen (1993); The Tribe (Deep City Films/BBC, 1996). Television films include Shooting the Past, which won the Prix Italia, the Royal Television Society Best Drama Award and the Best Screenplay Award at The International Television Festival Cinema Tour Ecran in Geneva. Perfect Strangers (2001), won Best Writer and Best Serial at the 2002 Royal Television Awards and won Stephen the Dennis Potter Award at the 2002 BAFTA Television Awards. Winner of three Primetime EMMYs, including Outstanding Mini-Series, The Lost Prince, written and directed by Stephen for Talkback is the story of the epileptic youngest son of George V and Queen Mary. It was first broadcast by the BBC in 2003 and won the South Bank Award for Best Television Drama and the Broadcasting Critics Award for Best Drama for 2004. Miranda Richardson was nominated for a Golden Globe for her role as Queen Mary in 2005.
Friends and Crocodiles and Gideon’s Daughter, wonderfully vivid films set in Britain’s recent past, and written and directed by Stephen for Talkback, both had an extraordinary impact when they aired in 2006. Gideon’s Daughter won two Golden Globe Awards in 2006, and a Peabody Award in 2007. Poliakoff’s Joe’s Palace, Capturing Mary and the short A Real Summer aired with great success in November 2007 on the BBC, starring Sir Michael Gambon, Dame Maggie Smith, David Walliams, Kelly Reilly, Rupert Penry-Jones, Ruth Wilson and Rebecca Hall.
In 2009 Poliakoff returned to film with Glorious 39 a British thriller, set in London and the idyllic Norfolk countryside when Britain stands on the brink of war. It stars Romola Garai, Bill Nighy, Julie Christie, Christopher Lee, Eddie Redmayne, Juno Temple, Jenny Agutter, Jeremy Northam and Hugh Bonneville.
Stephen also wrote and produced a superb short film Astonish Me for cinema to celebrate WWF-UK’s 50th anniversary which was shown at all Odeon cinemas throughout summer 2011.
Dancing on the Edge, Poliakoff's most recent project - and his most ambitious TV drama yet - enjoyed great success when it was broadcast on BBC2 in February 2013. The 6 hour series and its companion piece, Interviewing Louis, depict the fortunes of a black jazz band in London in the early 1930s. It stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Matthew Goode, John Goodman and Jacqueline Bisset.