In Focus: John Wilson


On Tuesday 20th September next we welcome John Wilson to the latest in our In Conversation events. We will be discussing his career in film and television, his approach to editing and his long collaboration with director Peter Greenaway. Tickets are €10: to apply please email with John Wilson in the subject line. As always, one ticket per application.

One of Britain’s leading film editors, John Wilson’s films include Billy Elliot (2000), The History Boys (2006) The Book Thief (2013), London Road (2014) and Me Before You (2016).

Billy Elliot gained 13 BAFTA and three Oscar nominations including a BAFTA and an ACE Eddie nomination for Best Film Editing. Following this US nomination, John was invited to join American Cinema Editors (ACE).

Television dramas have included Henry V and 13 episodes of ITV’s Downton Abbey, gaining him nominations for a BAFTA, two Emmys and an Eddie, as well as winning him two HPA awards.

Lets take a closer look at some of his past work

Downton Abbey

A chronicle of the lives of the British aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in the early 20th Century.

John Wilson has become one of the most sought after film editors working in the UK. Lets take a look at some of the films he has cut over the years. He is perhaps also well known for his ten year collaboration with Peter Greenaway. You can see more about their work together at the bottom of this post, including an opportunity to watch some rare Greenaway films on which they both worked.

Me Before You – 2016

A girl in a small town forms an unlikely bond with a recently-paralyzed man she’s taking care of.

London Road – 2015

London Road documents the events of 2006, when the quiet rural town of Ipswich was shattered by the discovery of the bodies of five women. The residents of London Road had struggled for years with frequent soliciting and kerb-crawling on their street. When a local resident was charged and then convicted of the murders, the community grappled with what it meant to be at the epicentre of this tragedy.

The Book Thief – 2013

While subjected to the horrors of World War II Germany, young Liesel finds solace by stealing books and sharing them with others. In the basement of her home, a Jewish refugee is being protected by her adoptive parents.

From Time to Time – 2009

A haunting ghost story spanning two worlds, two centuries apart. When 13 year old Tolly finds he can mysteriously travel between the two, he begins an adventure that unlocks family secrets laid buried for generations.

The History Boys – 2006

An unruly class of gifted and charming teenage boys are taught by two eccentric and innovative teachers, as their headmaster pushes for them all to get accepted into Oxford or Cambridge.

Billy Elliot – 2000

A talented young boy becomes torn between his unexpected love of dance and the disintegration of his family.

The Debt Collector – 1999

Mean, gritty, dirty and low and that’s just the Policeman Gary Keltie (Ken Stott) out for retribution for the horrendous crimes against the helpless people of Edinburgh during the nineteen seventies, by notorious, torturous, and killer, debt collector Nickie Dryden (Billy Connolly)

Resseruction Man – 1998

Belfast, in 1970s. Victor Kelly is a young protestant man who hates the Catholics so much that one night he begins to brutally murder them. A reporter soon tries to uncover the murder and obtained prestige for himself, while Victor sinks deeper into madness.

Young Soul Rebels

Set in London in 1977, the plot takes place against the background of the Silver Jubilee. This is a buddy movie between two friends Chris and Caz who run a pirate radio station from a tower block in Dalston, East London.


His collaboration with Peter Greenaway goes as far back as two short films about designers Zandra Rhodes and Terence Conran in 1981 but came to national prominence in 1982

The Draughtsman’s Contract – 1982

Mr. Neville, a cocksure young artist is contracted by Mrs. Herbert, the wife of a wealthy landowner, to produce a set of twelve drawings of her husband’s estate, a contract which extends much further than either the purse or the sketchpad. The sketches themselves prove of an even greater significance than supposed upon the discovery of the body of Mr. Herbert.

The Sea in their Blood – 1983 (Watch Full Film)

This is an astounding documentary film showing (and describing to us) what it is like to be beside the sea in Britain. The film was started in 1976 and shelved for a while, then completed in 1983. Greenaway offers us an eclectic array of images related to the sea – boats, slides of fish, photographs, huge waves crashing against the rocks, piers, Blackpool Tower, lighthouses – while a narrator describes a mind-boggling set of statistics and information of the British Coastline.

Four American Composers – 1983 – (Watch Full Film)

Documentary on four of the most interesting American composers of that time.
Really interesting stuff for anyone interested in Music or creativity..
You can watch all four episodes in full here
Meredith Monk

Philip Glass

Robert Ashley

John Cage

Making A Splash – 1984 – (Watch Full Film)

Peter Greenaway’s celebration of water, and the human relationship with it, choreographed to Michael Nyman music and culminating with a synchronised swimming sequence!

A Zed and two Noughts – 1985

Identical twins Oliver and Oswald Deuce lose their wives in a car crash caused by a white swan. The brothers, who are zoologists, become obsessed with the death and decay of animals. They both have a relationship with Alba, the driver of the crashed car, who loses first one leg then the other. When Alba dies, the twins film their own death.

The Belly of an Architect – 1987

An American architect arrives in Italy, supervising an exhibition for a French architect, Boullée, who is famous for his oval structures. Through the course of 9 months he becomes obsessed with his belly, suffers severe stomach pains.

The Cook, the Thief, his Wife and her Lover – 1989
The wife of an abusive criminal finds solace in the arms of a kind regular guest in her husband’s restaurant.

Hubert Bals Handshake – short -1989


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