Michael David Apted, CMG was born on 10 February 1941 in Buckinghamshire, England, is an English director, producer, writer and actor. He is one of the most prolific British film directors of his generation but is best known for his work on the Up Series of documentaries and the James Bond film The World Is Not Enough.
Apted was born to a middle-class family, the son of Frances Amelia and Ronald William Apted, who worked for an insurance company. Michael Apted secured a scholarship to attend City of London School and then to study law and history at Cambridge University (Downing College).
On 29 June 2003 he was elected president of the Directors Guild of America. He returned to television, directing the first three episodes of the TV series Rome. Apted directed Amazing Grace which premiered at the closing of the Toronto Film Festival in 2006. His most recent featurefilm project was The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treaderwhich premiered on November 30, 2010 at the Royal Film Performance. He was appointed Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George(CMG) in the 2008 Birthday Honours.
He began his career in television as a six-months trainee at Granada Television in Manchester, where he worked as a researcher. One of his first projects at Granada would become his most famous: the Up Series, which began in 1964 as a profile of fourteen seven-year-old children for the ground-breaking current affairs series World In Action. As a researcher and assistant to Canadian director Paul Almond, Apted was involved in selecting the children.
Though it began as a one-shot documentary, the series has become an institution, revisiting the subjects every seven years, with Apted directing the later episodes in the series. It follows Apted’s thesis that the British class system remains largely in place, and is premised on the Jesuit motto “Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man.” Now in its seventh installment, the series is a dramatic look at the lives of ordinary (and not-so-ordinary) people over the years. The latest version, 49 Up, was produced in 2005 and Apted has said that he hopes to be able to make 56 Up, at which time he will be 72.
During his seven-year stay at Granada, Apted also directed a number of episodes of Coronation Street, then written by Jack Rosenthal. Apted and Rosenthal went on to collaborate on a number of popular television andfilm projects including the pilot episodes for The Dustbinmen and The Lovers. They teamed up again in 1982 for the TV movie P’tang, Yang, Kipperbang, the first film commissioned by Britain’s Channel 4.
In 1976 he directed a play in the Granada TV Series Laurence Olivier Presents. The episode was “The Collection” by Harold Pinter. The playstarred Laurence Olivier, Malcolm McDowell, Alan Bates and Helen Mirren.
For his work in television, Apted has won several British Academy Awards, including one for Best Dramatic Director.