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Christine Langan
Born January 1965
Occupation Creative director of BBC Films
Years active 1987–present
Domestic partner(s) Christian Spurrier

Christine Langan (born January 1965) is an English television and film producer. Her career began in the late 1980s when she worked for an advertising company. She soon moved to Granada Television where she produced three series of the comedy-drama Cold Feet. In 2003 she produced the television play The Deal and later, in 2006, its theatrical follow-up The Queen. She frequently collaborates with Andy Harries and Peter Morgan and took up a position at BBC Films in September 2006, where she continues to produce feature films. In October 2007 it was announced that she had been appointed commissioning editor of the company, following the resignation of former head David M. Thompson. In 2009, she was appointed creative director of BBC Films and became a member of the BBC Fiction board.

Contents

Personal life

Langan was born in January 1965[1] as the fifth child to a bricklayer and a dinner lady. She had an Irish Catholic upbringing, attending a Catholic grammar school[2] and later read English literature at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge.[3] Langan lives with her partner, playwright Christian Spurrier, and their child Constance (born 2005).[1][2]

Career

After graduating in 1987 she worked as a copywriter in the advertising industry, before becoming a freelance magazine journalist. She was also a film critic, and contributed to BBC Radio 2's Cinema 2 programme.[2][3]

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Early career: British Screen and first Granada stint

Her first job in television came when she worked for Tessa Ross as an assistant developer at British Screen.[2][3] In 1993 she moved to Granada Television's comedy department, where she worked as a script editor on such programmes as Rik Mayall Presents... and September Song.[3]

In 1996 Langan began working with Andy Harries on the pilot of Mike Bullen's comedy-drama Cold Feet. Her responsibilities included overseeing casting and editing Bullen's script; he had produced only one screenplay before. The broadcast of the pilot was delayed for a year and did not achieve a high audience figure but ITV commissioned a full series after the pilot won the Golden Rose of Montreux. The style of the series was "to move away from a tired and dreary formula [situation comedy]" with Langan saying, "It's not all about one-liners and quick laughs. It's got emotional depth. And it looks different."[4] The difference in look was achieved by recruiting new directors who had done little television work before,[5] such as Nigel Cole, who came from a television advertisement background.[6] Langan's duties briefly extended beyond producing the series when, after filming a scene for the second series, she distracted a man from jumping off the roof of a multi-storey car park by speaking to him in a Manchester accent that she based on a character from Band of Gold. The police took over the situation 45 minutes later.[7] After production on the third series was completed, Langan was offered a post at the BBC. Industry newspapers suggested that, in order to keep her with the company, Granada's Director of Programmes Grant Mansfield offered her the position of deputy controller of drama, operating under Andy Harries, who had recently been appointed controller of the same department.[8]

Freelance work

Langan quit Granada when her contract expired to work as a freelance producer. Her first project was developing and producing Tiger Aspect's romcom Rescue Me for BBC One. Langan's style was to use the setting of a magazine office as a medium for a character-based series, avoiding clichés from similar series.[9] While the series was not a critical success,[10] it did form a small fan base, but its ratings averaged only 3.4 million, leading BBC One to pass on commissioning a second series.[11]

Return to Granada

In September 2002, Langan returned to Granada when the company merged Granada Films into its main drama department.[12] Her first project was Watermelon, a comedy-drama starring Anna Friel. Shortly afterwards she, along with Andy Harries, Stephen Frears and Peter Morgan, began work on a dramatisation of the alleged deal made between Gordon Brown and Tony Blair shortly before the 1994 Labour Party leadership election. ITV commissioned it but abandoned it before filming began.[13] During production of the film, Morgan sought verification on the facts from as many people involved as possible. When Peter Mandelson denied being involved in any of the events depicted, Langan described his reply as "an arse-covering letter".[14]

Langan's feature debut was the biographical drama Pierrepoint (titled The Last Hangman for American release). The film gained Langan a nomination for the Carl Foreman Award for Most Promising Newcomer at the 2007 British Academy Film Awards.[15] A follow-up to The Deal began development before the original was broadcast, with potential plots being the Labour victory at the 1997 general election or the controversy surrounding Peter Mandelson's first resignation.[16] A clause in Frear's contract allowed him to return as director for any sequels that were made, but Langan took the decision to postponed release until after the 2005 general election.[16] Eventually, the production team settled on the events surrounding the death of Diana, Princess of Wales as the plot for the film, and Helen Mirren was cast as Queen Elizabeth II.[17] Before Mirren's casting was announced, Langan scouted Balmoral Castle for potential location shooting.[17] The film was produced in co-operation with ITV and was released in late 2006 to critical acclaim, winning the BAFTA Award for Best Film and being nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.[2] Of her work on Pierrepoint and The Queen, Variety wrote that "both pic[ture]s are a tribute to her tactful skill at working with tricky but talented writers and directors to take stories that could easily have been confined to the small screen and give them real cinematic depth and breadth".[15]

BBC Films

In September 2006, Langan left ITV, in a departure she described as "without any fanfare whatsoever",[2] to take up a post at BBC Films as a producer and executive producer of new and existing projects.[18] She began work on an adaptation of David Peace's The Damned United, a fictional account of Brian Clough's real tenure as manager at Leeds United A.F.C.. Peter Morgan is due to write the film, with Michael Sheen playing Clough.[19] Sheen previously played Tony Blair in The Deal and The Queen, and starred as Mark Furness in the BAFTA-nominated Dirty Filthy Love, produced by Langan. On why she continues to work with the same people on her projects, Langan said, "The reason I return to working with the same people is that you have invested time, energy and thought and care into these relationships and that can pay dividends - The Queen is an example of those relationships paying dividends".[2] An adaptation of Lionel Shriver's We Need to Talk About Kevin has also been announced.[20]

Following David M. Thompson's announcement that he would be retiring from the post of head of BBC Films in September 2007, Langan was widely-expected to take over his duties.[21] Confirmation was made the following month when it was reported she had been appointed commissioning editor of the company, taking over the day-to-day duties of BBC Films and reporting to Jane Tranter, the controller of fiction at the BBC.[22] When Tranter transferred to a BBC Worldwide position in Los Angeles, the BBC decided not to fill the Controller of Fiction vancancy with a single person, instead dividing the responsibilities between four people; Langan became responsible for "editorial strategy and commissioning" of BBC Films and also joined the BBC Fiction board.[23]

Filmography

Television

Year Title Position Awards and other notes
1993 Rik Mayall Presents… Script editor
September Song Script editor
1994 An Evening with Gary Lineker Script editor
A Different Way Home Producer
1995 The Perfect Match Assistant producer
1996 True Love Script editor
1997 Cold Feet Producer Pilot for Cold Feet
The Grimleys Script editor Pilot for The Grimleys
King Leek Script editor
1998 The Misadventures of Margaret Script editor
Cold Feet Producer (1998–2000)
Executive producer (1999–2000)
Nominated, British Academy Television Award for Best Drama Series
1999 Passion Killers Executive producer
2000 Safe as Houses Executive producer
I Saw You Producer Pilot for I Saw You
2002 Rescue Me Producer
Director (1 episode)
I Saw You Producer
2003 Watermelon Executive producer
The Deal Producer Won, British Academy Television Award for Best Single Drama
2004 Dirty Filthy Love Producer Nominated, British Academy Television Award for Best Single Drama
Lie with Me Executive producer

Film

Year Title Position Awards and other notes
2005 Pierrepoint Producer Nominated, Carl Foreman Award for Most Promising Newcomer
2006 The Queen Producer Won, BAFTA Award for Best Film
Nominated, Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film
Nominated, Academy Award for Best Picture
Nominated, Producers Guild of America Award for Best Film
2008 The Duchess Executive producer
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas Executive producer
Is Anybody There? Executive producer
2009 The Damned United Executive producer
In the Loop Executive producer
Bright Star Executive producer
Fish Tank Executive producer
2010 The Special Relationship Executive producer Filming
We Need to Talk About Kevin Executive producer Announced

References

  1. ^ a b "thePeerage.com: Person Page 17334". thePeerage.com. last edited 2005-11-09. http://www.thepeerage.com/p17334.htm#i173337. Retrieved 2007-09-03.  
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Manzoor, Sarfraz (2007-02-27). "The power behind the throne". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2007/feb/26/mondaymediasection.film. Retrieved 2007-06-28.  
  3. ^ a b c d "Christine Langan CV at PFD". PFD. Archived from the original on 2007-03-02. http://web.archive.org/web/20070302180146/http://www.pfd.co.uk/clients/langanc/f-ftp.html. Retrieved 2008-04-10.  
  4. ^ Carter, Meg (1998-11-09). "On Air: Our friends in the North". The Independent (at Find Articles). http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_19981109/ai_n14190915. Retrieved 2007-08-29.  
  5. ^ Langan, Christine. (2003). Cold Feet: The Final Call. [Documentary]. Granada Television.  
  6. ^ Cole, Nigel. (2003). Cold Feet: The Final Call. [Documentary]. Granada Television.  
  7. ^ Gibson, Janine (1999-04-30). "Behind the Screen". guardian.co.uk. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/1999/apr/30/tvandradio.television4. Retrieved 2008-04-10.  
  8. ^ Staff writer (2000-09-19). "Harris (sic) To Control Granada Drama". 4rfv.co.uk. http://www.4rfv.co.uk/industrynews.asp?id=5048. Retrieved 2007-08-29.  
  9. ^ Hodgson, Jessica (2001-07-30). "Cold Feet producer makes glossy drama for BBC1". Media Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2001/jul/30/pressandpublishing.broadcasting. Retrieved 2008-04-10.  
  10. ^ Dugdale, John (2002-02-03). "Rescue Me– Critics' choice". The Sunday Times. "so far Rescue Me seems unsure whether it is an ensemble drama, like the ITV series [Cold Feet], or a two-hander love story. As Katie stumbles from one encounter to another, it also feels too episodic"  
  11. ^ Deans, Jason (2002-05-14). "BBC decides not to rescue Sally Phillips drama". Media Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2002/may/14/bbc.broadcasting. Retrieved 2008-04-10.  
  12. ^ Cozens, Claire (2002-09-12). "Langan returns to ITV with comedy brief". Media Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2002/sep/12/broadcasting. Retrieved 2008-04-10.  
  13. ^ Deans, Jason (2003-09-16). "ITV dropped drama 'for political reasons'". Media Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2003/sep/16/ITV.politicsandthemedia. Retrieved 2008-04-10.  
  14. ^ "Out of the Box". The Times (London). 2003-09-27. http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/tv_and_radio/article1161799.ece. Retrieved 2007-08-29.  
  15. ^ a b Staff writer (2007-02-02). "Carl Foreman Award Nominees Best Newcomer". Variety. http://www.variety.com/awardcentral_article/VR1117958564.html. Retrieved 2007-08-29.  
  16. ^ a b Wells, Matt (2003-09-17). "Frears on board for new Deal". Media Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2003/sep/17/broadcasting.channel4. Retrieved 2008-04-10.  
  17. ^ a b Wells, Matt (2004-08-30). "Helen Mirren poised for royal role". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2004/aug/30/media.arts. Retrieved 2008-04-10.  
  18. ^ BBC Press Office (2006-05-10). "Award-winning producer Christine Langan joins BBC Films". Press release. http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2006/05_may/10/langan.shtml. Retrieved 2007-08-29.  
  19. ^ Langan, Christine (2007-02-25). "My week: Christine Langan". The Observer. http://film.guardian.co.uk/oscars2007/story/0,,2020824,00.html. Retrieved 2007-08-29.  
  20. ^ Variety Staff (2007-05-09). "Faces for the festival future: The fest zest 60". Variety. http://www.variety.com/index.asp?layout=cannes2007&jump=features&id=2561&articleid=VR1117964615. Retrieved 2007-08-29.  
  21. ^ Dowell, Ben (2007-09-18). "Langan tipped for BBC Films role". Media Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2007/sep/18/bbc.television. Retrieved 2008-04-10.  
  22. ^ Dowell, Ben (2007-10-02). "BBC Films to be restructured". Media Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2007/oct/02/bbc.television2. Retrieved 2008-04-10.  
  23. ^ Holmwood, Leigh (27 April 2009). "BBC will not replace Jane Tranter in controller of fiction role". guardian.co.uk (Guardian News and Media). http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/apr/27/bbc-jane-tranter-not-replacing. Retrieved 27 April 2009.  

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