Children are seldom seen in the cinema of Mike Leigh. This absence is doubtless due to the strictures of the director’s character- and story-building methods, which might make the participation of child actors in Leighland rather problematic. In fact, the only notable child protagonist in Leigh’s cinema is Charlie (Charlie Difford), Poppy’s student in Happy-Go-Lucky (2008), and even here the boy’s problems are merely used as a plot device to bring together the heroine and a social worker love interest. Though the issue is sometimes thematised in Leigh’s portraits of couples who are unable to conceive, the absence of children can seem a significant blind spot in films that clearly aspire to the presentation of full, detailed, realistically depicted social worlds.
Jared Harris, son of Richard Harris, said: “Alison Steadman’s work in film is the embodiment of the British ideal that this award celebrates. My father, his peers and the filmmakers they collaborated with lit the torch for that ideal in the ’60s and ’70s.”And the work that Alison did in collaboration with Mike Leigh, Michael Lindsay Hogg and the BBC carried that torch from the ’70s and into the ’80s.”Not only has she created some of the most memorable, truthful and brilliant characters in British cinema, but Alison has also been a vital influence to countless performers who have followed her. We are delighted to be able to celebrate her outstanding contribution to British film.” […]