Paul Weiland

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Paul Weiland

Born (1953-07-11) 11 July 1953 (age 65)
OccupationWriter, director
Years active1987–present

Paul Weiland OBE (born 11 July 1953 in England) is an English motion picture and television director, writer and producer. Weiland is a director and producer of television commercials in the UK, having made over 500 commercials, including a popular and long-running series for Walkers crisps. He has also directed several British television series, including Alas Smith and Jones (1989–1992) and Mr. Bean (1991–1992). His feature film credits include Made of Honor (2008), Sixty Six (2006), Blackadder: Back & Forth (1999), Roseanna's Grave (1997), City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold (1994) and Leonard Part 6 (1987).

Walkers (snack foods) British snack food manufacturer

Walkers is a British snack food manufacturer mainly operating in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Walkers was founded in 1948 in Leicester, England by Henry Walker, and in 1989 was acquired by Lay's owner, Frito-Lay, a division of PepsiCo. They are best known for manufacturing potato crisps, and other, non-potato-based snack foods. It holds 56 percent of the British crisps market.

<i>Alas Smith and Jones</i> British comedy sketch television series

Alas Smith and Jones is a British comedy sketch television series featuring Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones that ran for four series and two Christmas specials on BBC2 from 1984 to 1988, and later as Smith and Jones for six series on BBC1 from 1989 to 1998. A spin-off to Not the Nine O'Clock News, the show also had a brief run in the United States on A&E and PBS in the late 1980s, as well as on CBS in the early 1990s during their late-night block.

<i>Mr. Bean</i> British comedy television programme (1990-1995)

Mr. Bean is a British sitcom created by Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis, produced by Tiger Aspect Productions and starring Atkinson as the title character. The sitcom consisted of 15 episodes that were co-written by Atkinson alongside Curtis and Robin Driscoll; for the pilot, it was co-written by Ben Elton. The series was originally broadcast on ITV, beginning with the pilot on 1 January 1990 and ending with "The Best Bits of Mr. Bean" on 15 December 1995. The fourteenth episode, "Hair by Mr. Bean of London", was not broadcast on television until 25 August 2006 on Nickelodeon.


Early years

Weiland grew up in the Southgate section of London, England and attended De Bohun's school. [1] He left school at age 17 and worked as a messenger before becoming a copywriter. [2] [3]

Southgate, London suburban area of north London, England

Southgate is a suburban area of north London, England in the London Borough of Enfield. It is located around 8 miles (12.9 km) north of Charing Cross. The name is derived from being the south gate to Enfield Chase.


Television commercials

Weiland began his directing career making British television commercials. [2] Weiland has made more than 500 commercials. [2] Weiland's most successful advertising campaign was a series of television commercials for Walkers crisps. The commercials have featured celebrities, including English football striker Gary Lineker, boxer Lennox Lewis and Victoria Beckham. The commercials became enormously popular in Britain, leading Weiland to then say, "A friend said to me the other day that they've become like little Woody Allen films – people want to appear in them. Lennox Lewis obviously didn't need the money but felt that he wanted to be more approachable to the British public. He was interesting, did a good job, as did David Seaman and Victoria Beckham." [3]

Association football Team field sport

Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal.

Gary Lineker English footballer

Gary Winston Lineker is an English former professional footballer and current sports broadcaster. He holds England's record for goals in FIFA World Cup finals, with 10 scored. Lineker's media career began with the BBC, where he has presented the flagship football programme Match of the Day since the late 1990s. He has also worked for Al Jazeera Sports, Eredivisie Live, NBC Sports Network and currently hosts BT Sport's coverage of the UEFA Champions League.

Lennox Lewis British-Canadian boxer

Lennox Claudius Lewis,, is a former professional boxer who competed from 1989 to 2003. He is a three-time world heavyweight champion, a two-time lineal champion, and remains the last heavyweight to hold the undisputed title. Holding dual British and Canadian citizenship, Lewis represented Canada as an amateur at the 1988 Summer Olympics, winning a gold medal in the super-heavyweight division after defeating Riddick Bowe in the final.

Weiland is the owner of The Paul Weiland Film Company and has become a multimillionaire with his work on television commercials. [1] In the 1990s, his company won the top British TV Awards prize for five consecutive years. [1]

Leonard Part 6

In 1987, Weiland made his debut as a feature film director with Leonard Part 6 , a comedy starring Bill Cosby as secret agent who is called out of retirement to save the world from an evil genius who has developed the ability to brainwash small animals into killing humans. The film was a critical and box office bomb. The Village Voice called it "the worst film of the decade." [2] The Los Angeles Times wrote: "'Leonard Part 6' is a smug, tedious exercise in self-indulgence ... There's virtually nothing to laugh at in this film, and too much of everything else." [4] The Times noted that, although Weiland was the director, "clearly Cosby, as star, producer and idea man, is the auteur here." [4]

<i>Leonard Part 6</i> 1987 film by Paul Weiland

Leonard Part 6 is a 1987 American spy parody film. It was directed by Paul Weiland and starred Bill Cosby, who also produced the film and wrote its story. The film also starred Gloria Foster as the villain, and Joe Don Baker. The film was shot in the San Francisco Bay Area. It earned several Golden Raspberry Awards; Cosby himself denounced and disowned it in the press in the weeks leading up to its release. It is often considered to be one of the worst films ever made.

Bill Cosby American actor, comedian, author, producer, musician, activist, sex offender

William Henry Cosby Jr. is an American stand-up comedian, actor, musician, and author who held an active career for over six decades before being convicted of sex offenses in 2018.

His direction of Leonard Part 6 resulted in Weiland's being nominated for the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Director. Asked years later about his work on the film, Weiland recalled:

"It was a terrible mistake. ... When anyone gets into that position (Bill Cosby's position of power in the 1980s), they are surrounded by sycophants and no one tells them the truth. But Cosby just wasn't funny. I couldn't tell him directly. I'd say it feels slow, and he'd say 'You worry about construction, let me worry about funny'." [5]

"Cosby attributed most of the movie's problems to first-time director Weiland, whom he felt was too young and inexperienced. Cosby himself was producer and writer of the story" – New York Times (24 January 1988)

Mr. Bean

Between 1991 and 1992, Weiland directed several episodes of the Mr. Bean television series starring Rowan Atkinson. In 2005, The Times wrote: "The director Paul Weiland made millions laugh with the television comedy series Mr Bean and Alas Smith and Jones ." [2]

City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold

In 1994, Weiland returned to feature films as the director of City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold starring Billy Crystal, Daniel Stern, Jon Lovitz and Jack Palance. The film was a sequel to the popular 1991 film City Slickers . In the film, Billy Crystal's character discovers a treasure map and sets off with Lovitz and Stern to find the treasure of gold in the Arizona desert.

Blackadder: Back & Forth

In 2001, Weiland renewed his partnership with Rowan Atkinson, directing him in the British television film, Blackadder: Back & Forth . The film is a time travel comedy in which Atkinson's character, Lord Blackadder, travels in a time machine to the Jurassic period, Sherwood Forest, and the Battle of Waterloo. Miranda Richardson, Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry, Colin Firth and Kate Moss also appear in the film.

Weiland was nominated for a BAFTA TV Award for his direction of the film.


Weiland's 2006 feature film Sixty Six is an autobiographical comedy-drama based on Weiland's bar mitzvah which was held on the same night as England's win over West Germany in the 1966 FIFA World Cup final. As a result of the football match, guests cancelled en masse, and only a handful showed up at the bar mitzvah.

The film received generally positive reviews. The Guardian of London wrote that, "Despite the whimsical voice-over and gloopy, sentimental tone, it's a hard film to dislike and boasts a wonderfully lugubrious performance from Eddie Marsan as the round-shouldered schlub of a dad." [6]

Made of Honor

Weiland also holds the distinction of directing the last screen appearance of Sydney Pollack in the 2008 feature Made of Honor .


Weiland has won a BAFTA Award for The Storyteller: The Three Ravens and an Emmy Award for Living with Dinosaurs . He also won the President's Award for Lifetime Achievement at the Design & Art Directors Association. [2] [3] In 1983, he was nominated British Academy Award for Best Short Film for his work in directing the short film Keep Off the Grass.

Personal life

Weiland is married, and he and his wife, Caroline, have four children: Maxwell, Hannah, Bella and Joseph.


Weiland's directing credits include:

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  1. 1 2 3 John Walsh (1 November 2006). "Forty years of hurt ; For one boy, the 1966 World Cup triumph was a personal disaster. Paul Weiland tells John Walsh why he had to recreate that moment on film". The Independent.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Simon de Bruxelles (31 August 2005). "Leylandii are no laughing matter for film director". The Times (London).
  3. 1 2 3 Marcus Scriven (5 February 2003). "A crisp talent for selling millions; He's made 500 commercials. But could Paul Weiland's series for Walkers be the most successful ever?". Evening Standard (London).
  4. 1 2 Kevin Thomas (18 December 1987). "Cosby's 'Leonard' a Super-Inane Superspy". Los Angeles Times.
  5. Simon Hattenstone (22 September 1994). "Through slick and thin Paul Weiland, adman turned Hollywood film-maker, talks about stars, egos and his latest movie, City Slickers II". The Guardian.
  6. "Film reviews: Sixty Six 2/5 Director: Paul Weiland". The Guardian. 3 November 2006.