Tim Sullivan (British filmmaker)

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Tim Sullivan
Born (1958-02-21) 21 February 1958 (age 65)
Occupation(s)Film and television director, screenwriter
Years active1981–present

Timothy "Tim" Sullivan (born 21 February 1958) is a German-born British film and television director and screenwriter, known for his work with Granada Television and his feature film Jack and Sarah (1995).


Early life and education

Tim Sullivan was born in Germany, where his father was stationed with the Royal Air Force. He attended Clifton College in Bristol, England, before gaining an exhibition scholarship to read English and Law at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. [1] [2] While at Cambridge, Sullivan was a member of the Cambridge University Amateur Dramatic Club, and partnered with writer Richard Maher on the play Klev, which ran at the Crown Theatre, Hill Place in 1978. [3] He also supplied extras to Chariots of Fire (1981).


After leaving Cambridge Sullivan got a summer job as a chauffeur to Anthony Andrews on the production of Brideshead Revisited . The producer Derek Granger learned that Sullivan was writing a screenplay with Derek Jarman (Bob Upadown), and encouraged him to get a job as a researcher with Granada Television. [1]

After working as a researcher on the first series of Alfresco , Sullivan and Richard Maher partnered to write their first television series, a sitcom entitled The Train Now Leaving, set in the dining carriage of an InterCity train running between London and Manchester. Granada commissioned seven 30-minute scripts for development. [4]

Sullivan stayed at Granada for several more years, directing episodes of series such as Busman's Holiday, Stop That Laughing at the Back, Coronation Street and The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes , as well as adapting A Handful of Dust for television (1988) and directing Thatcher: The Final Days (1991). [1] [5] In 1995, Sullivan wrote and directed his first feature film, Jack and Sarah , starring Richard E. Grant and Samantha Mathis. The film was inspired by the attention a male colleague at Granada received when his childcare arrangements broke down and he had to bring his child into work. [1]

Into the 2000s, Sullivan worked freelance on many television and film projects, including directing the final episode of Cold Feet for Granada, and the one-off comedy drama Catwalk Dogs for Shed Productions. [5] In 2005, having worked on the film Flushed Away , Sullivan was hired by DreamWorks to write an initial script draft for Shrek 4 , [6] though his script was abandoned by the time production on the film began.

Sullivan wrote the film Letters to Juliet , starring Amanda Seyfried, which was released in the United States in 2010, taking over $80 million worldwide. He has been developing a film based on the London Marathon and another The Wedding Dress. [5] He has worked with many notable directors and producers in the US including Ron Howard, Scott Rudin and Jeffrey Katzenberg.

In 2020, Sullivan self-published two crime novels featuring the detective DS George Cross, The Dentist and The Cyclist, within four months the two titles achieved over 200,000 downloads and he was signed by British publisher Head of Zeus. Further novels in the DS Cross series, The Patient' 'The Politician' and 'The Monk have now been published. The sixth in the series 'The Teacher' will be published in January of 2024.

In June 2023 he was awarded an MLitt with distinction in Crime Fiction and Forensic investigation at the University of Dundee. He also won the Val McDermid dissertation prize.


1985 Wild Winter Director1 episode of television series
1985 Hank Wangford at Strangeways DirectorTelevision special
1985 Our Backyard Director26 episodes of television series
1985 TX Director4 episodes of television series
1985 Hold Tight Director1 series of television game show
1986 I Feel Fine Director6 episodes of television series
1986 Busman's Holiday Director14 episodes of television game show
1987 Stop That Laughing at the Back Director5 episodes of television series
1988 Coronation Street Director18 episodes of television series
1988 A Handful of Dust ScreenwriterFeature film
1990–1992 El C.I.D. Director2 episodes of television series
1990 Made in Heaven Director2 episodes of television series
1991 Thatcher: The Final Days DirectorTelevision film
1991 Where Angels Fear to Tread ScreenwriterFeature film
1993–1995 The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes Director3 episodes of television series
1995 Jack and Sarah Director and screenwriterFeature film
2003 Cold Feet Director 1 episode of television series
2007 Catwalk Dogs DirectorTelevision film
2010 Letters to Juliet ScreenwriterFeature film
2021 My Little Pony: A New Generation Writer
Feature film

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  2. "Tripos results: English, Education", The Times, 5 July 1978, p. 12.
  3. Staff (17 August 1978). "Current Production". The Stage and Television Today: p. 48.
  4. Staff (6 October 1983). "Granada takes on cartoon and BR for new comedies". The Stage and Television Today: p. 19.
  5. 1 2 3 Staff (16 June 2008). "In the right direction". The Independent (Independent News & Media): p. 8.
  6. Staff (6 March 2005). "DreamWorks plans 'Shrek 4'". Variety.com (Reed Business Information). Retrieved on 29 August 2010.