Michael Hirst was born in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England in 1952 and grew up in the small town of Ilkley, on the edge of the moors, not far from the site of Wuthering Heights. He was educated at Bradford Grammar School, the London School of Economics, the University of Nottingham – where he received a First Class Joint-Honours Degree in English and American Studies – and at Trinity College, Oxford, where he studied the short stories of Henry James.
He has been a screenwriter for both film and television drama for over thirty years, encouraged initially by the brilliant, visionary British film director Nicolas Roeg. Michael’s film credits include The Ballad of the Sad Café, made by the famous Merchant-Ivory company and starring Vanessa Redgrave; Fools of Fortune which starred Julie Christie; and Elizabeth, starring Kate Blanchett and Geoffrey Rush, which, in 1998, was nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Picture. Michael was also nominated for a BAFTA for Best Original Screenplay.
Between 2006 and 2009 Michael created, executive produced and wrote every episode of the four seasons of the award winning TV series The Tudors for Showtime. Widely recognized as the show which broke the mould and reinvented historically-based drama, The Tudors sold and received awards around the world and made stars of at least two of its cast, Henry Cavil and Natalie Dormer.
More recently, Michael has created, executively produced and written every episode of the hit TV drama Vikings for the History Channel and MGM. Now in its fifth season, Vikings is also the fifth biggest show in the world, as popular in Russia and South East Asia as it is in Scandinavia and North America. What’s more, according to the Huffington Post, it is “one of the only shows on American network TV which takes religious belief seriously.”
Michael lives in Oxfordshire, England, with his artist wife Deborah. Between them they have nine children.
Photo Credit The History Channel