British Director Mandie Fletcher began her career at the BBC as an assistant floor manager, and later as a production manager on comedy programmes before becoming a director on the sitcom comedy series Butterflies (1983). From this, Fletcher directed the second and third series of Blackadder, the British psuedo-historical sitcom starring Rowan Atkinson – for which she won the Best Comedy series award at the 1988 BAFTAs. Alongside this, Fletcher directed episodes of the British sitcom, Only Fools and Horses (1986) and football-filled TV film Born Kicking (1992). She also worked alongside writer Glenn Chandler in her debut feature film, Deadly Advice (1994), a comedy-drama in which the daughters of a domineering mother aspire to break free of her control and form romantic relationships. Fletcher continued to work with television following this: creating Hamish Macbeth (1996-7), Jam and Jerusalem (2006-9), directing episodes of critically-acclaimed series Roger & Val Have Just Got In (2012) starring Dawn French and Alfred Molina, and directing the pilot episode of In and Out of the Kitchen (2015). Fletcher also directed episodes of the beloved and acclaimed Absolutely Fabulous, including the feature film: The Absolutely Fabulous Movie (2016). Her latest film, Patrick (2018), which she wrote and directed, follows a woman’s chaotic life which becomes more complicated when she inherits her grandmother’s dog.
The Kenyan born, British South Asian, Gurinder Chadha OBE, is a film director/writer. Chadha is widely known for Bahji on the Beach (1993), Bend it Like Beckham (2002), Bride and Prejudice (2004), Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging (2008), and Viceroy’s House (2017), with upcoming feature Blinded by the Light (2019). Her films showcase the trials and difficulties, as well as vibrantness, of South Asian women living in Britain. Growing up in the Indian diaspora in East Africa, and moving to Southall, West London, at the age of two, Chadha shares many of her experiences with her protagonists.
Chadha started her media career in radio in the mid 1980s, moving to television as a BBC News reporter initially, before moving to documentary-making for the British Film Institute, the BBC, and Channel Four, winning many awards along the way. During this time Chadha directed I’m British But… which followed the lives of British South Asians. Chadha also created her own production company, Umbi Films, in 1990, producing the Cannes Film Festival Critic’s selected short film, Nice Arrangement (1991).
Her first feature film, Bhaji on the Beach – and first full-length feature to be directed by a British-Asian woman – won several international awards including a nomination for Best British Film from BAFTA, receiving wide recognition and praise for the film in 1993. Bend it Like Beckham was the highest grossing British film ever in the UK box-office at the time of release. The film also received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Picture (Musical or Comedy), a BAFTA nomination for Best British Film, and a Writers Guild of America nomination for Best Original Screenplay.