English TV and film director Antonia Bird has died after a cancer battle. She was 54. Bird broke through as a director on episodes of EastEnders and worked extensively on the small screen helming television projects including BBC series Casualty, the Bill Nighy-starring miniseries The Men’s Room, and a 2006 special telefilm episode of Cracker. In film she made a detour into teen romance with the 1995 drama Mad Love, starring Drew Barrymore and Chris O’Donnell. Bird frequently directed actor Robert Carlyle who appeared in her feature debut Priest (1994), Face (1997), and Ravenous (1999), the cannibal horror pic that amassed a cult following after initially opening to dismal returns. “Such a sad day today.. RIP Antonia Bird. Farewell my beautiful friend xxx,” Tweeted Carlyle. BBC series The Village which debuted this Spring was Bird’s final project. She directed four Season 1 episodes of the show created by Peter Moffat. “She said to me after filming finished on The Village: ‘I shot the fuck out of it..’ Anyone who knew Antonia would know what she meant – she gave EVERYTHING to the things she cared about,” Moffat said in a statement. “From a writer’s point of view she was wonderful because she listened so hard to the script. If she didn’t understand what you were after she’d talk to you until she did and if she didn’t agree with it you’d bash it through until you were both happy. You absolutely knew that she’d put what you’d both agreed on the screen. Film making is a collaborative process and it doesn’t work if the writer and director don’t trust each other. I trusted Antonia completely. Completely devastated that she’s gone.”
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