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Latest Ken Loach news:

Latest - August 2013. It has been reported that Ken Loach is currently in Ireland filming for what is reported to be his final film project Jimmy's Hall. The film is described thus: 'Set in 1932, the film follows Irish communist leader James Gralton who returns from a decade in New York to re-open the dance hall he built in 1921. The film will “celebrate the spirit of the free thinkers who went to learn, argue, dream and have fun” in the dance hall'. Producer Rebecca O'Brien has advised “This is probably the last narrative feature for Ken. There are a few documentary ideas kicking around, and that will probably be the way to go, but this is a serious period-drama with a lot of moving parts so it's a big thing to put together. I think we should go out while we're on top.” We hope Ken keeps going with all manner of film projects for many years to come.

Ken Loach - A biography part 1: 1930s to 1960s .

Ken Loach was was born Kenneth Loach on 17th June 1936 in Nuneaton, Warwickshire. Following his national service in the RAF, he moved onto Oxford to read law and it was here he performed with the Oxford Revue comedy group. This led him into acting and by the time he'd completed his studies in Law he had become involved with the repertory theatre as both an actor and director. This in turn led Loach to join first, the ABC Television company in 1961 as an Assistant Director, and then the BBC in 1963 as a Trainee Director.

Ken LoachKen Loach's early career at the BBC saw him directing episodes of Z-Cars, and more significantly Diary of a Young Man which followed the adventures of two young working class lads who come down from the North to seek their fame and fortune in London. The series was significant in that unlike other serials of the time, Loach was able to film some of the segments on location.

1965 saw Ken Loach being used as one of the "in house" directors of the groundbreaking The Wednesday Play series at The BBC. During 1965 he directed no fewer than six of these plays A Tap on the Shoulder, Wear a Very Big Hat, Three Clear Sundays, Up the Junction, The End of Arthur's Marriage and The Coming Out Party. Of these plays, Up The Junction made perhaps the most impact, but also courted a certain amount of controversy at the same time. Up The Junction tells the story of three young women factory workers in their work lives and home lives. The focus is on one of the women in particular - Rube. We follow Rube as she meets her first boyfriend, gets pregnant, has a illegal and botched back street abortion and lose her boyfriend in a motorbike crash. The abortion story line was controversial at the time, as was the inter cutting of real life interviews mixed in with the drama. This was a signpost for Ken Loach's future favoured directing style striving for naturalism and realism. NB. A feature film of Up The Junction was made in 1968 (but without Ken Loach's involvement). Up the Junction would also be significant in that he would for the first time work with Tony Garnett who would produce on many future Ken Loach projects.

Cathy Come Home still1966 saw Ken Loach's breakthrough piece, also part of The Wednesday Play series. This was Cathy Come Home. The play follows the lives of young sweethearts Cathy (Carol White fresh from Up The Junction) and Reg (Ray Brooks). We see Cathy and Reg starting out as a newly married couple, moving into a new place and having children. Reg then suffers an accident meaning he is unable to work and they end up being evicted and separating. With Cathy homeless but still looking after the children, she faces having her children being taken away from her by Social Services. This is perhaps the play that has had more impact than any other on television, highlighting the very real problem of Homelessness. A ground swell of opinion following the play's transmission forced Councils into revising their housing policies, and also the formation of the first national homeless charity - Shelter. Even some forty years later (viewing the BFI released DVD), the power of both the story and the images captured in Cathy Come Home is undiminished, attributable mainly to the realism approach employed in the play.

A further Wednesday Play was completed by Loach in 1967. In Two Minds charts the turbulent life of a young women who endures a difficult family life and, after throwing a kitchen knife at her mother, is diagnosed as a schizophrenic. Much like Cathy Come Home, the realistic documentary style approach helps provide an added emphasis to the story and the message of the play.

Poor Cow still1967 also saw Ken Loach's first feature film Poor Cow. The film is set in London and centres around Joy (Carol White again), a young working class mother who is married to a brutal criminal -Tom. When Tom is put in prison for a violent robbery Joy is left to cope with bringing up her child alone and in squalid circumstances. In due course she falls for Tom's friend Dave, another criminal. Dave is kind hearted and the two are happy making plans and trying to get their lives sorted out. But this is thrown into chaos when Dave himself is put into prison. Joy is alone again and does her best to try and get things in order for her young child's sake, but as she finds it so difficult to look after just herself (especially with no man around) how will she cope? Poor Cow (from the pen of Nell Dunn author of Up The Junction) carries the hallmarks of Loach's realist approach and social comment. But given the "freedom" of a feature film the realism is not as intense, with some visual decoration ensuring the viewer that this isn't a documentary after all. Critically well received Poor Cow even garnered a Golden Globe nomination.

1968 saw the next Ken Loach play from the Wednesday Play series. The Golden Vision was a story following a family of devoted Everton fans, somewhat of a lighter subject than many of Loach's other contributions. The following year saw Loach's last contribution to the series with the Jim Allen penned The Big Flame a story of striking Liverpool dock workers, who decide that to safeguard their futures they must control the port themselves. This was the first of many Ken Loach / Jim Allen collaborations - many of which would be starkly political in sympathy with their political beliefs.

Kes still1969 would also see Ken Loach's next foray into feature film with the Barry Hines penned Kes. The story centres around Billy Casper who lives in an industrial town in the North of England at the end of the 1960's. Like all industrial towns it has seen better days, and life for everyone is hard. Casper is on the cusp of leaving school and will end up working in a factory or manual job. The school is tough (as are both the teachers and the kids) and is seen to need to be that way in order to prepare the kids for the harsh realities of life that await them in the "real world" of work. Billy's life seems mapped out for both him and all around him - hard manual work if he wants to survive. The only escape he has from the harsh drudgery of his life is with the training of a kestrel (Kes) that he has reared and trained. But how long can he hold on to this thing of beauty. Kes was a more straightforward film than his previous feature film Poor Cow and such was the strength of the story, it was an immediate commerical and critical success (picking up numerous Bafta nominations / awards along the way). Kes has remained one of the best loved and most highly regarded British films of all time.

Ken Loach - A Biography part 2: 1970s and 1980s.

Ken Loach's first work of the 1970's would be for the commercial channel LWT. The play After a Lifetime (1971) was about the funeral of an aged militant trade unionist. The play starred Bill Dean who'd had a small part in Kes, and who later in 1971, would play the father in Loach's third feature film Family Life (released on DVD in June 2007). Family Life was a reworking of the play In Two Minds that Loach had directed for television in 1967. Given its subject matter it was perhaps unsurprising that it did not achieve the commercial success that Kes had gained, but it was well regarded critically. 1971 also saw another play in the Play for Today series. The Rank and File written by Jim Allen was a story based around the strike by the Pilkington Glass workers.

1973 saw Ken Loach commissioned by The BBC to take on one of a series adaptations of Anton Checkhov short stories. Loach adapted and directed The Misfortune which upon transmission was very well regarded indeed. It was also significant as being the breakthrough role for Ben Kingsley.

Days of Hope still1975 saw Ken Loach directing a whole TV series, again for the BBC. The BAFTA nominated Days of Hope was Jim Allen's tale of of a working-class family in the period from the 1916 to 1926, taking in the First World War, events in Ireland and the General strike of 1926. Running to well over six hours, this really was an epic story particularly in light of the parlous state of the economy and labour relations climate in Britain at the time. Days of Hope was a radical series in every sense, with the social realism long employed by Loach being underscored more than ever before by the skilful political association that Jim Allen had been able to weave into the story of events some fifty years before but that was so resonant in the situation of the climate of the mid 1970's.

The Price of Coal stillLoach return to the Play for Today series in 1977 with the two linked plays named The Price of Coal (written by Kes author Barry Hines) about the lives of those living in a coalfield community. The first part subtitled Meet The People is a comic tale surrounding the story of a the colliery community in preparation for a visit by Prince Charles, and the efforts being put on by the management (in the Queen's Silver Jubilee year), to make the pit fit for a future king) involving grassing over an unsightly coal slag heap, whitewashing everything in site etc. The Second part subtitled Back To Reality is set one month on and is completely different in tone. The colliery suffers a very sudden underground explosion, trapping, killing and injuring the miners, and as the rescue team work frantically to rescue those trapped, those above ground argue about who is to blame.

Ken Loach's next project was another feature film Black Jack (1979), an adaptation of the Leon Garfield children's novel. Set in 1750 Yorkshire the story centres around Tolly a teenaged boy who is thrown into a room to attend to the body of Black Jack, a Frenchman that had been hanged. Black Jack has survived the hanging, he takes Tolly with him on the run so that Tolly can act as his interpreter. On their way Jack holds up a carriage that is transporting a young aristocratic girl to an insane asylum (as it transpires she is not mad just slowly recovering from the effects of fever she suffered as a child). They then join up for a traveling fair. Something of a departure for Loach, making a children's historical costume drama, but visually it looks quite beautifully shot (but not expensively so) and the soundtrack utilising authentic folk music is also absolutely stunning too.

1980 saw another feature film The Gamekeeper (adapted from the novel by Barry Hines). Perhaps the most low key of all of Loach's work the simple story follows a year in the life and work of a gamekeeper. Never straying far from his toil we see the gamekeeper rearing the pheasants, dealing with poachers and at the end of the year organising the shoot for the master and owner of the estate.

Looks and Smiles posterKen Loach's next feature film Looks and Smiles (1981) was shot in stark black and white. The story is set in an industrial city in the North of England and centres around a recent school leaver Mick, who, with industry in decline and unemployment rife, finds getting a job extremely difficult despite his obvious aptitude for working with machinery. Mick watches his best mate leave his home town to join the army. He finds himself a girlfriend Karen, and despite their determination to make a life together for themselves their economic circumstances make everything very difficult. Despite its shoestring budget it was well received at Cannes winning Loach both a jury prize and nomination for the Golden Palm.

Throughout the 1980's right through to the 1990's Ken Loach was commissioned to produce some documentaries for television and the early 1980's would see Loach focus on these - Auditions (1980), A Question of Leadership (1981/3), The Red and Blue (1983), Which Side Are You On (1984) and The View From the Woodpile (1989). Both A Question of Leadership and Which Side Are You On were not broadcast due to the "perceived political imbalance" of the documentaries. Despite Loach's respect within the critical industry he had fallen out of vogue amongst the almost extinct British film making industry and trying to finance his films became impossible, which meant Loach having to hire himself out to make TV adverts in order to subsidise himself.

It wasn't until 1986 that would see another Loach feature film. Fatherland followed the story of Klaus, an East German protest singer, who decides to leave his country after the communist government forbids him to perform. When he arrives in West Germany he finds the politicians and record companies queuing up to make capital from his defection. Escaping the clamour for his signature he goes to England to meet his father who he hasn't seen since he was a small child. Their meeting helps Klaus gain some perspective on both his art and his feelings about his life and beliefs. Fatherland marked something of a change for Loach in that this was a more European film with less "social realism" than there had been in previous movies, and its lukewarm response did little in assisting Loach in gaining funding for the type of movies that he wanted to make. Fatherland did however mark Loach's first involvement Channel Four Films later Film Four (the company which almost single handedly helped sustain the "independent" British film industry during the 1980's) who funded the movie.

Ken Loach - A Biography part 3: the 1990s.

Another four years passed before Ken Loach's next movie would be made, continuing what would be a long association with Channel Four Films, that of Hidden Agenda (1990) written by Jim Allen. Set in 1982 and inspired by (rather than based upon) the real life events of the John Stalker case (in which a high level British Police Officer is sent into Northern Ireland to investigate a shooting by the British Authorities. When he came to publish the findings, which were very critical of the British Authorities, he was removed from the investigation by the British government. The fictional take on this story, portrayed in Hidden Agenda, successfully plays out as a thriller, but more powerfully also as indictment of the dark forces at play within the "democratic" system. Despite obvious objections by some within Britain, the film was rewarded at Cannes another Jury prize and a further Golden Palm nomination for Loach.

Riif Raff publicity shot1990 would also see the release of Loach's next feature for Channel Four Films that of Riff Raff. Set to the backdrop of the tail end of Thatcher's rule Riff Raff tells the story of Stevie a young man who goes down to London to find work on a building site. The building site is full of labourers from various parts of the country trying to scrape a living. Stevie meets Susan, an aspiring singer, and they start a relationship. They live in a squat and life is difficult as they struggle to survive on Stevie's low wages, but however hard things are they can get worse. Riff Raff would take Loach back onto familiar territory, the recession forcing building labourers to seek work round the country. With the union power eroded, all kinds of short cuts are taken with the labourer's safety to ensure the job is done as quickly as possible. The film proved something of a resurgence for Loach and the film won several film awards in Europe.

1993 would see the release of Raining Stones (written by Jim Allen). Raining Stones is set in Northern England and centres around the story of Bob, an unemployed man trying to make ends meet and support his wife and young daughter. Times are extremely hard and money is scarce, but Bob is proud and tries to retain his principles but is getting to his wits end trying to get some money together to buy a communion outfit for his daughter. Things go from bad to worse when his van is stolen and he has no way of getting around and therefore no way of making money. With no other option he borrows some money from a loan company, but the debt is sold onto to a local gangster and now he wants it repaid, and one way or another, he intends to get his money. Raining Stones was a critical success garnering Loach awards both at home and in Europe and kept the momentum moving forward on his critical rejuvenation.

Ladybird, Ladybird (1994) was certainly one of Loach's most powerful dramas. Based on a true story about Maggie, an unmarried mother of four children who is the victim of violent relationships. In difficult circumstances she leaves her children alone at home one evening and they are hurt by the outbreak of a fire. Social services take the kids into care and, hurt and angry, Maggie unsuccessfully attempts to get the kids returned to her. When she meets Jorge she finds stability in a loving relationship, but their new-born baby is immediately confiscated by the social services. Chrissy Rock played the lead role and in her first acting role stunned critics with the depth and power of her performance, in the story with no easy answers.

Land and Freedom still1995 was to see another landmark Jim Allen written Ken Loach film. Land and Freedom is set in 1936 and is the story of a young unemployed man who leaves his hometown of Liverpool to join an international alliance group fighting against fascism in Spain. A fine and powerful story allied with some superb acting (notably by Ian Hart) gave the intricate story of the passion and failure of the fight to defeat the fascists (and also to to forge a socialist revolution for the people) a tremendous resonance. Land and Freedom's was again popular in critical circles both here and more notably in Europe.

1996 saw the release of Carla's Song. Set in 1987 Carla's Song told the story of a George, a Glaswegian bus driver who meets Carla, a Nicaraguan exile living in difficult circumstances in Glasgow. Carla has been traumatised by what she has seen and experienced in Nicaragua, and worse she is worried what has happened to her boyfriend who went missing in Nicaragua and her family who have fallen apart. George takes her to back to Nicaragua in an attempt to find out what has happened to them so that Carla can move on. In Nicaragua things have become even worse. This film marked the first collaboration between Loach and writer Paul Laverty (who following this film would be responsible for the writing of most of Ken loach's films). Picking up the thread of the previous film we see a man caught up in the war of another country interwoven with a love story.

Loach returned to Documentary making with 1997's Flickering Flame (a story about the The Dockworkers Strike in Liverpool), and the Franny Armstrong / Ken Loach co-directed documentary McLibel (1998) an account of about the longest trial in British legal history where McDonalds were attempting to sue some protesters who had been handing out leaflets outside a McDonalds restaurant, thankfully McDonalds lost and for once the little man once against all the odds and money).

My Name is Joe still1998 also saw the release of the next Ken Loach / Paul Laverty movie the highly regarded My Name is Joe. The film is set in a poor area of Glasgow and centres around the character of Joe - an ageing, unemployed, recovering alcoholic. Joe's life starts to pick up when he meets Sarah (a health worker) and they begin a romance. But when Liam (one of the players in the community football team that he coaches), gets into financial problems when his drug addicted wife runs up debts with the local drug leader, Joe is drawn into a world he thought he had escaped forever. After the long line of directly politically inspired projects, My Name is Joe was a reminder to everyone of Loach's extreme adaptability in turning his hand to a personally inspired stories. Peter Mullan was honoured with the Best Actor Award at Cannes, and moreover the movie proved to its ability to cross over to a wider audience than many of Loach's previous films.

Ken Loach - A Biography part 4: 2000 to present.

Ken Loach's first film in the new millenium was Bread and Roses (2000), was set in the USA and centres around the story of Maya, a young woman who illegally sneaks over the Mexican border into the US and then heads to Los Angeles where her older sister Rosa lives. Rosa gets Maya a job as a cleaner, but her employers have little regard for their employees rights. With union rights not being observed, a Union organiser is brought in to mount a campaign of protest against the employer. Iin retaliation the management decide to intimidate the workers in order to divide and rule, which leaves Maya and Rosa on opposite sides of the fence. As ever the story is underpinned by an even bigger political consideration which broaches the subject of the right to a living wage and the US economies reliance on illegal workers to do certain jobs because the employers cannot find American citizens to work for such low pay (even though the employers can afford to pay their workers more). Surprisingly Bread and Roses was a critical success in America despite its implied criticism of their system (not that they are alone).

The Navigators still2001 saw Loach return to union and workers conditions matters back home in England. The Navigators is set in South Yorkshire and centres around a group British Rail track maintenance workers. The looming threat of privatisation throws the colleagues into uncertainty. For some it means redundancy, for others loss of former employment rights, and in any case the group will be split up to do the same work separately. When the private company takes over and the dust starts to settle, the new way of working sees that budgets are king and safety is no longer paramount. Worse still, the handover from British Rail to its new company has not run smoothly and the everything seems in disarray, but under the new company there is no one who wants to hear its employees concerns, let alone to correct the deficiencies. The Navigators written by Rob Dawber (an ex-railway worker), was sadly prophetic and following the films release there were a number of fatal incidents on the railways that would be attributed to the poor maintenance regimes of the cut price operators who took over the maintenance of the tracks and signals.

Sweet Sixteen (2002) is set in Greenock, Scotland and centres around Liam, a young boy whose mother is in prison after taking the rap for her drug dealing boyfriend. Liam is determined to get some money so that they can move away together, and so she can be free of her boyfriend forever. However, money is hard to come by, and Liam takes risks that gets him embroiled with some heavies. With his mother due to be paroled soon can Liam get the money together to enable them both to escape from the dangerous situation? Despite its "heavy" Scottish accents Sweet Sixteen's universal theme, and accessibility meant it was destined to be both a commercial and critical success in many territories.

2002 also saw Loach's next contribution to film, as one of 11 directors contributing a segment to 11/9/01 - September 11, a film about peoples reactions in different countries to the tragedy. Loach would carry on this segment directing approach with two further films that he contributed to. First Tickets (2005) which saw three directors each contributing a story about a train journey from Central Europe to Rome (with Loach contributing a tale of three Celtic fans of to rome for a football match only to discover one of them has lost his ticket). To Each His Cinema (2007) saw Loach contribute a segment to this film (along with 34 other directors) about their feelings toward cinema.

In 2004 Ken Loach returned again to a more personal inspired story Ae Fond Kiss. The story is set in Glasgow and revolves around Casim, the son of Pakistani parents who have decided that he must marry his cousin Jasmine. Casim is already uncomfortable with the idea of his forthcoming arranged marriage when he falls in love with an Irish Catholic divorcee, Roisin. Despite his love for Roisin, Casim is only too aware of the hurt that his relationship will cause his family. Ae Fond Kiss was a timely and most accomplished film, but perhaps the less than inspired tale contributed to the lack of spark in the movie, which is somethinmg that we had come to expect from a Ken Loach film.

The Wind That Shakes the Barley still(2006) saw the release of the highly regarded The Wind That Shakes The Barley. The film is set in Ireland, in the 1920s and focuses on two brothers, Damien and Teddy. Teddy is the leader of a guerrilla squad fighting for the independence of his motherland, Damien, a medical student aims to finish his training at the London hospital where he has gained a place. Before his departure, he witnesses some atrocities committed by the ferocious Black and Tans, and finally decides to join the resistance group led by Teddy. The two brothers fight side by side until a truce is signed. But peace is short-lived, and when England imposes a treaty regarded as unfair by a part of the population, war resumes, and this time pitting Irishmen against Irishmen, brothers against brothers, and Teddy against Damien. For many critics The Wind That Shakes The Barley fell between two stools in that the story did not sufficiently focus on either the political story, or the personal story, and gave the feeling the film didn't quite know what it wanted to be, and that maybe a younger Loach would have injected more of a hard edge into the political story. That being said, the film is probably as accessible as any of Loach's more political movies and with such an important and widely unheard story it was probably a wise decision to pitch the story at this level. Visually the film is stunning with long time Loach cinematographer Barry Ackroyd doing a tremendous job in the lush green hills of Ireland. The film was a significant commercial success and it also was hailed by the critics and it went on to win the Golden Palm at Cannes.

its a free world cover2007 saw Ken Loach preparing his latest film It's A Free World (which had the working title These Times) again written by Paul Laverty, and funded by Film Four. The production companies blurb is about the film was "Angie may not have much formal education, but she's got energy, wit and ambition, and she's in her prime. She's been messed about in the past and she's fed up. She has a point to prove. This is her moment. Angie sets up a recruitment agency with her flat-mate Rose, working in a twilight zone between gangmasters, employment agencies and the migrant workers they place. This is a tale set against the reality of the Anglo Saxon miracle of flexible labour, globalisation, double shifts and lots of happy, happy, happy consumers: Us." It's A Free World (which according to Loach was one of his most ambitious movies to date) was we broadcast on TV in September 2007 virtually at the same time as appearing for its very very limited release in cinemas - a practically unheard of approach, but perhaps not surprising when you consider that Loach receives relatively little support from the cinemas of his own country.The DVD was released on 1st October 2007. Having already won the best screenplay award at the prestigious Venice Film Festival, the film was well received reminding everyone of the immediacy of Ken Loachs work and even reminding us of his skill working with in the television medium. Perhaps this will be the film that sees Ken Loach embraced by one and all and properly installed as a national treasure.

Ken Loach collection vol 1The long awaited Ken Loach collection Vol 1 and 2 Box sets finally went on sale on 3rdKen Loach collection vol 2 September 2007. These releases are a must for any Ken Loach Fans. Ken Loach collection Volume 1 includes the first commercial release of the little seen Ken Loach film The Gamekeeper (including a Loach commentary) alongside Poor Cow, Kes, Riff Raff, Raining Stones, Ladybird Ladybird, Bread and Roses and The Navigators plus booklet and exclusive features. Ken Loach collection Volume 2 includes Cathy Come Home, Hidden Agenda, Land and Freedom, Carla's Song, My Name is Joe, Sweet Sixteen, Ae Fond Kiss, and The Wind That Shakes The Barley plus booklet and exclusive features. Both Ken Loach collection Vol 1 and 2 Box sets are available from all good DVD stockist's including our own Ken Loach UK store in association with Amazon. (The box sets are only released in the UK at the moment but the US fans can be smug too as Looks and Smiles will be getting its first commercial release over there and avaialble via our Ken Loach US store in association with Amazon.com). Here's hoping that they are successful so there is a volume 3 which will feature some of Loach's less well known gems like Black Jack (released on BFI DVD in 2010), Looks and Smiles and some of Loach's earlier made for television work.

Ken Loach's 2009 film seemed a relatively unlikely one, 'Looking For Eric' was a film inspired by, co-produced by and featuring football legend Eric Cantona. Set in Manchester, the film follows the struggles of Eric Bishop, a postman trying to bring up two teenage step-sons on his own in a disintegrating community where crime and violence has started to become endemic in the youths who see such little hope or opportunity elsewhere. As his stepsons become embroiled in this dangerous world Eric Bishop needs some help to work out how he can sort out this mess. In his hour of need the spirit of Eric Cantona visits him, and with Cantona's own brand of gallic philosophy and the help of his postie mates, Eric attempts to get his family and his own life out of the dangerous net that is rapidly closing in.

Looking For Eric is vintage Loach. Despite it's largely grim story which deftly touches upon the economic realities of struggling communities and it's affect on families, also the effect of big business on football clubs, as we have come to expect from his Loach's / Laverty's work, a large amount of humour skillfully woven in to the story. Eric Cantona is fantastic (admittedly playing himself), as is the supporting cast (with some relatively familiar faces) and the whole film is a joy to watch from start to beginning.

2011 saw Loach's release one of his most hard hitting films. Route Irish follows the story of the occupation in Iraq, and focuses inparticular on the roles of private contractors in the conflict. The film explores not only the complexity of this particular war (or occupation), but also how the added muliple layers of complications are added by the private contractors role in the country who are licensed to act largely outside the law, and how this hidden occupation reflects within the conflict itself. Perhaps unsuprisingly (given the issues raised in the film which many do not want to have to think about), Route Irish received mix reviews seemingly the complexity of the issues being tackled in the film allied to the realistic action sequences left critics unsure as to what the film's targets were.

2011 saw Ken Loach's son Jim Loach making his debut feature - the acclaimed 'Oranges and Sunshine'. His apprenticeship in TV drama (including some suprising shows like Hollyoaks, Bad Girls and Footballer's Wives) has obviously served him very well indeed as his debut is a stunning piece of work. The subject of the film was the scandalous state endorsed but secret practice of forced emigration of UK children in care to Australia (which took place right up to the early 1970's) and the lives of children and families who were torn apart by this practice. The film was critically very well received, leaving the critics, and us, very eager to see Jim Loach making many more feature films.

2012 saw the release of Loach and Laverty's next film was titled The Angel's Share. The film is a comedy drama about a father to a newly born son, who vows to give him a better life than he himself had. But with a criminal record it's hard to get a break, and so in an effort to improve their lots he and his mates decide to start up their own malt whiskey distillery. The film was very well received critically, especially at Cannes where it and earned a Palm d'Or nomination as winning the much coveted Jury Prize.

2013 saw the release of Loach's documentary The Spirit Of '45 an expansive documentary exploring the formation of the welfare state and spirit of community and kinship which flourished inspite of the extreme austerity suffered at the end of the second World War. Delivered in Loach's inimitable person-centric style, it was a timely reminder that the current austerity narrative is not the only story nor solution.