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Last Updated: Saturday, 16 June 2007, 01:18 GMT 02:18 UK
Poliakoff sets writing standard
Stephen Poliakoff
Poliakoff gave up university to concentrate on writing
Dramatist Stephen Poliakoff may have originally harboured an ambition to be an actor but it is his writing that has led to the honour of a CBE in the Queen's birthday honours list.

Poliakoff was born in 1952 in London and wrote his first play, titled Granny, in 1969, which went on to be performed at his school, Westminster, and was reviewed by the Times newspaper.

The precocious start began a passion which compelled the young writer to drop out of Cambridge University and concentrate on writing plays.

He became writer-in-residence at the National Theatre, but made his break into TV in 1977 with Stronger Than The Sun on BBC One, followed by Caught on a Train, which earned him his first Bafta.

The play was based on an overnight train journey across Europe, starring Dame Peggy Ashcroft and Michael Kitchen, and is still considered a classic.

Undiminished

Later television work includes The Lost Prince, which won an Emmy, Perfect Strangers, starring Michael Gambon, and Gideon's Daughter with Billy Nighy in 2006.

His love for theatre remained undiminished, and his play Blinded By the Sun opened at the National in 1996, winning several honours, including the Olivier award for best new play.

Feature films include his debut, Hidden City, starring Charles Dance, which Poliakoff also directed.

Daniel Williams
Daniel Williams starred in Stephen Poliakoff's The Lost Prince

Another film, Close My Eyes, told a tale of incest and starred Clive Owen, Alan Rickman and Saskia Reeves.

It won Poliakoff the Evening Standard award for best film.

But it is his prolific television work for which he is best known, and he is considered by many to be Britain's leading TV scriptwriter.

Poliakoff, who is of Russian Jewish descent, has two children with long-term partner and fellow writer Sandy Welch.

His Desert Island Disc choices when he appeared on the Radio 4 show included Go Your Own Way by Fleetwood Mac and Joan Armatrading's Love and Affection.




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