Neasa Hardiman

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Neasa Hardiman
Born Ireland
  • Director
  • screenwriter
Years active 1998–present

Neasa Hardiman is an Irish director of both fiction and nonfiction, predominantly known for her television work.

Hardiman began her career producing a number of shows for the RTÉ network in Ireland and has since worked on both British and American productions. Her television credits include the children's drama series Tracy Beaker Returns (2010–2012), the crime dramas Scott & Bailey (2014) and Happy Valley (2016), the American period drama Z: The Beginning of Everything and the upcoming Marvel superhero series Inhumans (both 2017).


Education and early career

Hardiman holds a number of degrees including a Double First (First Class Honours and First Place) Bachelor of Design from the National College of Art and Design in Dublin. A fluent German speaker, Hardiman earned a master's degree in visual communications from the Universität der Künste (University of the Arts) in Berlin. Subsequently, Hardiman completed a master's degree in Aesthetics and Politics from the NCAD Dublin and a PhD in Film Studies from Trinity College, Dublin.[1]

In 1998 Hardiman became the youngest ever director of the Irish soap opera Fair City, which airs on the RTÉ network in Ireland.[2] Hardiman's early work with RTÉ also included producing and directing more than twenty documentaries and a number of entertainment shows including the Irish broadcast of the Eurovision Song Contest.[3] In 2004, Hardiman was one of the directors of Imagining Ulysses, a documentary film that aimed to explores the themes of James Joyce's seminal novel, whilst remaining accessible to a contemporary audience.[4] Imagining Ulysses was nominated for Best Documentary at the 2nd Irish Film and Television Awards in 2004,[5] won the award for Best Documentary at the Chicago International Film Festival and the award for Best Arts Documentary at the Celtic Film and Television Festival.[3]


Hardiman worked as a lead director on the BBC's children's drama series Tracy Beaker Returns which transmitted between 2010 and 2012.[3] The Tracy Beaker Returns production team won the British Academy Children's Awards for Best Drama in 2010, and earned further nominations in both 2011 and 2012.[3][6] Hardiman was approached to direct the series by producer Gina Cronk — who like Hardiman, had never worked on the production of a children's drama series.[6] In 2010, discussing how the Tracy Beaker Returns team approached "a narrative specifically for children" Hardiman noted that the production team wanted to take on "serious subjects [and] make a kind of "Play for Today" for children, leavened with some humour".[6] Subsequently, Hardiman directed four episodes of the BBC1 hospital drama Holby City which aired between 2012 and 2013,[7][8][9][10] and two episodes of its loosely connected sister show, Casualty which aired in 2013.[11][12] She felt working on Holby City to be "fantastic" describing the series as "emotional, ethical dilemmas, politics, power struggles, all human life".[2] In December 2013 it was announced that Hardiman would direct episodes of In the Club, a new drama series written by Kay Mellor.[13]

After completing work on In The Club, Hardiman was approached to direct the two-part fourth series finale (2014) of the ITV1 crime drama Scott & Bailey, also produced by Red Production Company.[14][15] Hardiman felt the Scott & Bailey differentiated itself from standard police procedurals in so far as it was "noir-ish" "gritty" and possessed "a very consistent and specific voice" which she felt to be close to her own aesthetic approach to storytelling.[15] Hardiman also appreciated working on a show that was female-led, yet not thematically dominated by the gender of its protagonists. She described series leads Lesley Sharp and Suranne Jones as "actors at the top of their game" and appreciated their willingness to experiment with her ideas.[15] In August 2015 Red Production Company and the BBC announced that Hardiman would direct the second series of Happy Valley (2016) alongside writer, executive producer and series creator Sally Wainwright.[16] Tim Goodman of The Hollywood Reporter praised the direction of both Hardiman and Wainwright, noting that their heavy use of close-ups helped bind viewers to the fate of series protagonist Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire).[17] In 2016 she won the Irish Film and Television Award for Best Director for her work on the 2nd series of Happy Valley.[18] In 2017 Happy Valley was awarded the British Academy Television Award for Best Drama Series, with the accolade attributed to Wainwright, Hardiman, Nicola Schindler (executive producer) and Juliet Charlesworth (producer).[19]

In 2017 Hardiman directed two episodes of Z: The Beginning of Everything, an American period drama series created for Amazon Studios that presents a fictionalized account of the life of American socialite, Zelda Fitzgerald.[20][21] For her direction on Z: The Beginning of Everything Hardiman earned a nomination for Best Director at the 2017 Irish Film and Television Awards.[22] Subsequently, Hardiman was approached by an executive producer to direct episodes of the upcoming ABC Marvel superhero series, Inhumans which was filmed in the American state of Hawaii.[23] In spite of the difference in genre, Hardiman found the experience of filming Inhumans similar to her previous work, noting that both Happy Valley and Z: The Theory of Everything relied more on cinematic style and narrative techniques than verisimilitude.[23]

In January 2017 it was announced that Hardiman has received a production loan from the Irish Film Board to make her feature film directorial debut with the self-written script Sea Fever.[24] Sea Fever is described a science-fiction thriller set off the coast of Ireland, and depicts a group of science students who are threatened by a deadly water-based parasite.[25][24] The concept had previously earned Hardiman the award for Best First Feature Screenplay prize at the London Film Awards. She described the project as being about "trust", "interdependence" and "belief".[2] In June 2017 Hardiman disclosed that she had also received funding from Creative Europe, and stated that the film was ready to enter production. Sea Fever will be the first project Hardiman has directed in her native Ireland in over 10 years.[23]


  1. ^ "Filmography". Neasa Hardiman. Retrieved 1 June 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c "Film-maker Neasa Hardiman". The Irish World. Retrieved 30 May 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Neasa Hardiman — Academy Member". Dublin: Irish Film & Television Academy. Retrieved 29 May 2017. 
  4. ^ "Imagining Ulyssess". RTE press centre. Dublin: RTE. Retrieved 1 June 2017. 
  5. ^ "Winners of the 2nd Annual Irish Film & Television Awards". Dublin: Irish Film & Television Academy. Retrieved 1 June 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c "Irish director Neasa Hardiman's 'Tracy Beaker Returns' scoops BAFTA for Best Children's Drama". Irish Film Board. 30 November 2010. Retrieved 29 May 2017. [permanent dead link]
  7. ^ Philip Ralph (writer), Neasa Hardiman (director), Lynn Grant (producer) (13 November 2012). "To Absent Friends". Holby City. BBC1. 
  8. ^ Dana Fainaru (writer), Neasa Hardiman (director), Lynn Grant (producer) (20 November 2012). "Hail Caesar". Holby City. BBC1. 
  9. ^ Patrick Homes (writer), Neasa Hardiman (director), Lynn Grant (producer) (26 March 2013). "Journey's End". Holby City. BBC1. 
  10. ^ Matthew Broughton (writer), Neasa Hardiman (director), Lynn Grant (producer) (2 April 2013). "The End is the Beginning". Holby City. BBC1. 
  11. ^ Sally Abbott (writer), Neasa Hardiman (director), Nikki Wilson (producer) (23 November 2013). "Between the Cracks". Casualty. BBC1. 
  12. ^ Emma Goodwin (writer), Neasa Hardiman (director), Nikki Wilson (producer) (30 November 2013). "Between the Cracks". Casualty. BBC1. 
  13. ^ "Irish director signs onto BBC's In the Club". The Irish Post. 5 December 2013. Retrieved 29 May 2017. 
  14. ^ "Scott & Bailey — production notes" (PDF). ITV Press Centre. ITV. 2 September 2014. Retrieved 29 May 2017. 
  15. ^ a b c Brosnan, Sean (19 September 2014). "Interview with Neasa Hardiman, Director of upcoming 'Scott and Bailey' Season 4 finale". Irish film & television network. Retrieved 29 May 2017. 
  16. ^ BBC Press Office (21 August 2015). "Stellar cast announced for second series of award-winning Happy Valley by RED Production Company for BBC One". British Broadcasting Corporation. 
  17. ^ Goodman, Tim (16 March 2016). "'Happy Valley' Season 2: TV Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 29 May 2017. 
  18. ^ "Iftas 2016: Full list of winners". Irish Times. 10 April 2016. Retrieved 18 April 2016. 
  19. ^ "Television Awards Winners 2017". British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Retrieved 29 May 2017. 
  20. ^ Kit Steinkellner (writer), Neasa Hardiman (director), Therese Anne Fowler (producer) (27 January 2017). "You, Me and Us". Z: The Beginning of Everything. Amazon Video. 
  21. ^ Marcus Gardley (writer), Neasa Hardiman (director), Therese Anne Fowler (producer) (27 January 2017). "The It Girl". Z: The Beginning of Everything. Amazon Video. 
  22. ^ Clarke, Donald (8 March 2017). "Iftas 2017: 'The Young Offenders' leads film nominations". The Irish Times. Retrieved 30 May 2017. 
  23. ^ a b c McNeice, Katie (13 June 2017). ""It is something that we, as humans, absolutely require and need of each other" – Irish Director Neasa Hardiman on Storytelling". Retrieved 27 June 2017. 
  24. ^ a b McCarthy, Esther (31 January 2017). "Neasa Hardiman, Neil Jordan projects receive Irish Film Board funding". ScreenDaily. Retrieved 30 May 2017. 
  25. ^ Brosnan, Sean (27 November 2015). "Writer/Director Neasa Hardiman talks Big Stories on the Small Screen". Irish Film & Television Network. Retrieved 27 June 2017. 

External links

  • Neasa Hardiman on IMDb
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