State of Play TV series proved stepping stone to Harry Potter fame for St Helens-born director David Yates

Community Newsgroup: DIRECTING the acclaimed BBC series State of Play is regarded as a breakthrough in the career of St Helens-born David Yates. DIRECTING the acclaimed BBC series State of Play is regarded as a breakthrough in the career of St Helens-born David Yates.

POLITICAL conspiracy thriller State of Play is earning rave reviews worldwide, with one film critic describing it as the “the best suspense movie you will see this year”.

But Star readers might be interested to know that the drama began life on the small screen, as a six-part BBC TV series by acclaimed St Helens-born director David Yates.

The 2003 version featured a stellar cast, including John Simm and James McAvoy, and earned seven BAFTA nominations, winning three.

It also won Yates – who has earned worldwide movie prestige directing a series of Harry Potter films - the Directors Guild of Great Britain Award for outstanding achievement in direction. The show also landed Broadcast, Indie, RTS and Banff Rookie Awards for Best drama/mini series.

State of Play, written by Paul Abbot, centres on a newspaper’s investigation into the death of a young woman and the relationship between a leading journalist and his old friend, who has become a prominent politician.

The BBC production caught the eye of Hollywood – and has led to the big screen adaptation, starring Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck and Helen Mirren.

The movie retains substantial similarities to the original series, retaining the main characters but is set in Washington DC rather than London.

It was the superb BBC series that many regard as the turning point in Yates career.

David, from Grange Park, began making movies in local parks at the age of 14 with his brother using a video camera his mother bought him.

He studied at St Helens College then went on to the National Film and Television School in Beaconsfield.

He cut his teeth of dramas such as the Bill and went on to work extensively with the BBC on high profile dramas, including The Girl in the Café (2005), starring Bill Nighy, which won him three Emmy Awards and a BAFTA.

Yates took direction of the Harry Potter movie franchise in 2006 with the fifth film in the series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

This notched incredible box office success as well as an Empire Award and two BAFTA nominations.

Meanwhile, July 15 will see the release of the upcoming Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, directed by Yates.

In fact he is also editing the seventh film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I and shooting Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II.

It will therefore be Yates who brings the curtain down on the massively successful big screen adaptations of the Harry Potter books.

Some believe the St Helens director will have exerted the most influence over the magical legacy... besides author JK Rowling of course.

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