Mike Leigh

Hard Labour

A touching window in to lives of quiet desperation, and five short little gems.

Image from Hard Labour

Play for Today, BBC 1973
Dir Mike Leigh
With Clifford Kershaw, Polly Hemingway, Bernard Hill, Liz Smith, Alison Steadman
75min

Produced by Tony Garnett, Mike Leigh’s first BBC production (created with Liz Smith) concerns a stoical Catholic cleaning lady with her misplaced guilt about not loving people enough. Created and shot in the actual North Salford streets where Leigh grew up, you can spot Ben Kingsley as an Asian taxi driver, and Alison Steadman’s first appearance in a Leigh film.

+ The Five Minute Films
BBC 1975-1982. Dir Mike Leigh. Total runtime 25min
The Five Minute Films have some lovely gems: female afternoon drinkers, a glum goalkeeper, Richard Griffiths as a window cleaner eyeing up a sausage roll...