Tony Whitehead
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‘Really wants to direct’
Formative years
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This chapter begins with the discussion about Mike Leigh's parents and explains how he inculcated a desire to direct films. As a child, Leigh was a keen cinemagoer, experiencing a traditional diet of British and Hollywood features, newsreels, cartoons, serials and slapstick shorts. Leigh describes himself as unmotivated at secondary school and a natural rebel. He participated in a number of plays at Salford Grammar School and at the same time he was writing, directing and performing in revues for Habonim, the Zionist socialist youth movement, which provided him with most of his social life. He was also developing his skills as a cartoonist; an interesting talent in the light of his later reputation as a caricaturist. Eventually, looking at the advertisements in Plays and Players turned his thoughts to drama school.

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