Cheat Sheet: David Yates


David Yates

Date of Birth:

30 November 1963

Place of birth:

Merseyside, UK

Special moves:


Films include:

Sex Traffic, The Girl in the Café, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.

What you probably already know:

Have you not been listening? He directed Harry Potter! Yates got the gig back in 2005 when producer David Heyman noticed his talent for bringing out the best in actors and maxmising their performance (with numerous actors either having won or been nominated for BAFTAs under his direction). Since his debut way back in 1988 with short film When I Was a Girl, his name has mostly been happily rolling up your telly with TV films and series including The Way We Live Now, State of Play, Sex Traffic and The Girl in the Café. His lack of experience on big-budget large scale theatrical productions didn’t seem to matter to Heyman, nor to the audience, as Harry Potter with Yates at the wheel was a great success, working on four films until the project’s conclusion (weep) this week.

What you might not know:

He’s one of those directors that seems to have been born for the job – he was given a Super 8mm camera by his mother when he was a young boy and since then, hasn’t stopped playing with the bloody thing. The cutest example we could find was a little film he made called The Ghost Ship, starring his uncle who played a cook on board the doomed vessel.

His resumé largely consists of TV work – and very successful work at that – receiving eleven awards in total (and that’s ignoring all of his Harry Potter trophies). He’s a firm advocate of the interchange between TV and film – arguing that all things on-screen should be an open arena, Yates sees the entertainment industry as one big family, which has probably helped him move from one media to the other. It also means that despite his success in the cinemas, we just might see him back in our front rooms one day.

He’s also mates with Bill Nighy, which is lovely.

David Yates quote:

“I like to create an atmosphere where actors feel safe enough to take risks. I certainly don’t believe in being a macho bully; I’m not interested in frightening good work out of people. It’s bollocks.”

What to say at a dinner party:

“I don’t think that we should be typecasting David Yates quite yet – he was doing some jolly exciting stuff before joining Harry Potter and he has said himself that he wants to move onto something quite different from that. Working with the franchise has obviously taught him a lot, which will hopefully have a positive influence on the quality of his already sterling directorial work.”

What not to say at a dinner party:

“Who on earth is Harry Potter?”

Final thought:

It would be easy to either praise or dismiss Yates on account of whether you enjoy Harry Potter or not, but if you look at his remarkable move from television to film, it becomes clear that, professionally, Yates is an unpredictable one. Perhaps the best thing about his work is how deeply connected he seems to be with not only his characters, but also his actors – because of this, his work will always be in touch with the emotions of the audience. Well done David Yates. We here at BFF are very much looking forward to hearing what lucky script will be in your hands next!

There you have it – the fruits of our David Yates-based labour. If you have any more titbits you think people need to know, be our guest and pop it in the comments box.

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