Tom Harper (director)

Last updated
Tom Harper
Tom Harper on ColliderVideo.jpg
Harper interviewed in 2018
Alma mater The University of Manchester
  • Film director
  • film producer
  • screenwriter
  • film editor
  • cinematographer
Years active1998–present

Tom Harper is a British film and television director, producer and writer. He is best known for his work on The Aeronauts, Wild Rose , Peaky Blinders , and the BBC TV mini-series War & Peace .


Early life and education

Harper grew up in a Quaker family. He "credits Quakerism with setting the tone in his attitudes towards pacifism and non-violence." [1]

Harper attended Acland Burghley School [2] before going on to study at The University of Manchester. [3]


Harper began his career making short films. He wrote and directed Cubs in 2006 about urban fox hunting which was nominated for a BAFTA in the Best Short Film category and won a BIFA. [4]

Harper then moved on to direct a range of film and television work which includes Misfits , The Scouting Book for Boys (2009), This Is England '86 , The Borrowers (2011), Peaky Blinders (2013) and The Woman in Black: Angel of Death . [5]

In 2014, Harper re-teamed with Jack Thorne, the writer of The Scouting Book for Boys , to make War Book , which premiered at the London Film Festival and had its international premiere as the opening film of the International Festival of Film Rotterdam. [6] The film received critical acclaim [7] with The List calling it a "powerful, provocative and essential piece of modern British cinema". [8] Harper was also a producer on the film. [9] He directed the 2016 BBC TV mini-series War & Peace , starring Paul Dano, Lily James and James Norton for BBC1 and The Weinstein Company. [10] The series topped ratings and won rave reviews. [11] The series was nominated for 6 BAFTAs (including Best Drama Series) and won for Best Production Design. [12]

Jessie Buckley, Tom Harper, and Nicole Taylor interviewed about Wild Rose in 2018 Jessie Buckley, Tom Harper, and Nicole Taylor on Collider Video.jpg
Jessie Buckley, Tom Harper, and Nicole Taylor interviewed about Wild Rose in 2018

Harper next directed the pilot episode of The Son for AMC based on Phillip Meyer's acclaimed novel. [13] Pierce Brosnan played the lead, replacing Sam Neill (with whom Harper previously worked on Peaky Blinders) who was forced to pull out for "personal reasons." [14] The series was picked up for a second season in May 2017. [13]

In 2017, Harper teamed up with Jack Thorne again, to make "The Commuter," starring Timothy Spall, the third episode of the Channel 4/Amazon Video anthology series Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams . [15]

Wild Rose starring Jessie Buckley (with whom Harper had worked previously on War and Peace) and Julie Walters, and written by Nicole Taylor, was filmed in Glasgow, Scotland, and Nashville, USA, in the summer of 2017. Owen Gleiberman described it in Variety as "a happy-sad drama of starstruck fever that lifts you up and sweeps you along, touching you down in a puddle of well-earned tears." [16]

The Aeronauts , based on James Glaisher and Henry Coxwell's famous 1862 flight, and starring Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones started its shoot in the summer of 2018. The script was written by Jack Thorne, their fifth collaboration, and Harper along with Todd Lieberman produced the film for Amazon Studios. [17] Until March 2020, The Aeronauts was the most watched film of all time on Amazon Prime. [18]

Harper directed a short film to launch The Royal Albert Hall's 150th anniversary year. Entitled Your Room Will Be Ready, the film was shot in 2020 during the Covid pandemic and is a tribute to live music. Narrated by Mick Jagger [19] it features more than 40 archive event clips including never-before-seen and rare material dating back to 1930s.



1998EyelinesShort film
2004BeatShort film
2006CubsShort film
2007CherriesShort film
2010 The Scouting Book for Boys
2011The SwarmShort film
2014 War Book
2015 The Woman in Black: Angel of Death
2018 Wild Rose
2019 The Aeronauts
2023 Heart of Stone


2006Squat Streetcredited as director, TV mini-series
2007 Coming Up credited as director, TV series, 1 episode
2008 Dis/Connected TV film
2009 Demons credited as director, TV mini-series, 3 episodes
2010 This Is England '86 credited as director, TV mini-series, 2 episodes
2009–2010 Misfits credited as director, TV series, 4 episodes
2011 The Borrowers TV movie
2013 Peaky Blinders credited as director, TV series, 3 episodes
2015 War & Peace credited as director, TV series
2017 Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams credited as director, TV series

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  1. Luszowicz, Iwona (October 2016). "The Interview". The Young Quaker. No. 13. p. 10. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
  2. "Wild Rose director Tom Harper: My old school inspired me". Camden New Journal. Retrieved 2020-12-29.
  3. "The BBC's War and Peace: 'Near the end I did worry, Oh God, have I ruined it?'". the Guardian. 2016-02-07. Retrieved 2021-04-12.
  4. "Scouting Book for Boys competition". Southern Daily Echo . 12 March 2010. Retrieved 22 September 2022.
  5. "'Misfits' director Tom Harper to direct 'Woman in Black' follow-up". Independent. 15 October 2012. Retrieved 22 September 2022.
  6. "Rotterdam: Tom Harper's 'War Book,' J.C. Chandor's 'A Most Violent Year' Bookend Fest". Retrieved 22 September 2022.
  7. "War Book (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 22 September 2022.
  8. Baughan, Nikki (2015-08-03). "Ms". The List.
  9. "War Book". Retrieved 22 September 2022.
  10. "James Norton Joins Lily James, Paul Dano In BBC/Weinstein Co's 'War And Peace'". Deadline Hollywood . 28 December 2014.
  11. "War and Peace wins rave reviews". BBC News. 27 October 2018. Retrieved 22 September 2022.
  12. "Television Craft : Production Design in 2017". BAFTA . 2017. Retrieved 22 September 2022.
  13. 1 2 Jaafar, Nellie Andreeva,Ali (2016-05-03). "Tom Harper To Direct 'The Son' On AMC". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 22 September 2022.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  14. Andreeva, Nellie (2016-06-06). "Pierce Brosnan To Star In AMC Series 'The Son' In TV Return, Replaces Sam Neill". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 22 September 2022.
  15. Denise Petski (2017-03-21). "Timothy Spall To Star In "Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams' 'Commuter' Episode". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 22 September 2022.
  16. Gleiberman, Owen (2018-09-11). "Toronto Film Review: 'Wild Rose'". Variety. Retrieved 22 September 2022.
  17. Joey Paur (August 16, 2018). "Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne Featured in First Photo From Amazon's The Aeronauts". GeekTyrant. Retrieved 22 September 2022.
  18. Fleming, Mike Jr. (January 23, 2020). "Last Sundance's Top Buyer Amazon Is All In At Park City: Jennifer Salke Q&A".
  19. "Sir Mick Jagger narrates new Tom Harper short film for Royal Albert Hall's 150th". Royal Albert Hall. 23 February 2021. Archived from the original on December 7, 2021. Retrieved 22 May 2023.