Bob Spiers

From Academic Kids

Bob Spiers is a British television director, who is best known for his work on various sitcoms and other comedy programmes. He is particularly noted as the director of the early series of Absolutely Fabulous (1992-2001), and of the second and final batch of six episodes of Fawlty Towers (1979).

Born in Glasgow, Scotland, Spiers joined the staff of the BBC in the late 1960s, working as an assistant floor manager and later a production assistant, before eventually working his way up to become a director. In this capacity he worked on several high-profile programmes, such as Dad's Army, Are You Being Served? and It Ain't Half Hot Mum, all sitcoms, a genre with which he became particularly associated.

It was because of his talent for directing comedy that he was chosen to handle the second series of John Cleese's famous Fawlty Towers in 1979, which already had an enormous reputation on the basis of its initial six episodes in 1975. The second series was a success, but shortly after having directed this and the unbroadcast pilot of Not the Nine O'Clock News, Spiers left the staff of the BBC to work as a freelance director.

Throughout the 1980s he worked on a number of programmes, of particular note being Channel 4's anthology comedy series The Comic Strip Presents... and the BBC sketch shows French and Saunders and A Bit of Fry and Laurie. From 1989 he also directed several episodes of the children's comedy / drama series Press Gang for the ITV network, and Steven Moffat's Joking Apart.

His association with comediennes Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders from directing their sketch show led to him working on individual projects from each of them during the 1990s. With French he worked on the macabre comedy anthology series Murder Most Horrid, and more famously with Saunders he helmed Absolutely Fabulous throughout the decade, the show having originated in a sketch from an episode of French and Saunders which had also been directed by Spiers.

Later in the 1990s he tried his hand and directing for the cinema for the first time, helming the Spice Girls' film Spiceworld: The Movie and the Disney feature That Darn Cat, both in 1997. He also directed two episodes of the Australian ABC series, The Adventures of Lano and Woodley. He currently continues to direct comedy programmes for British television, as well as developing other feature film projects.

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