Skip to main content
BFI logo











Screenonline banner
Wright, Edgar (1974-)

Director, Writer

Main image of Wright, Edgar (1974-)

Thanks largely to his work with the better-known Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson, Edgar Wright is one of the most promising - indeed, precocious - of the younger generation of British comedy filmmakers, achieving a solid critical and commercial hit with Shaun of the Dead (UK/US/France, 2004). Although to date he has generally specialised in conscious parodies of the work of more established filmmakers, he is clearly an unusually resourceful and inventive director with a particularly fine line in visual wit.

Born in Poole, Dorset on 18 April 1974, he originally planned to become an animator, and even won a BBC competition at seventeen for his claymation short I Want To Get Into The Movies (1991) before switching exclusively to live action. After studying film at Bournemouth College of Art, he made his first feature at the age of twenty. A spaghetti western spoof whose tiny budget (under £10,000) was outweighed by its visual flair, A Fistful of Fingers (1995) achieved a limited cinema release and a surprising degree of critical acclaim from writers not usually well disposed towards low-budget British slapstick.

This secured him a directing job at the Paramount Comedy Channel, making the spoof sitcom series Mash and Peas (1996), starring David Walliams, Matt Lucas and Jessica Stevenson. He followed this up with the black comedy Asylum (also Paramount, 1996), starring Walliams, Stevenson and Simon Pegg. Wright then transferred to the BBC, where he directed more established stars such as Alexei Sayle (Alexei Sayle's Merry-Go-Round, 1998), Dawn French (Murder Most Horrid, 1999) and others.

Spaced (Channel 4, 1999-2001) was Wright's breakthrough. Impressed by his work on Asylum, co-writers/stars Stevenson and Pegg felt that he was the man to create a genuinely cinematic feel on a sitcom budget, and Wright duly crammed each episode with an encyclopaedic array of sight gags inspired by his favourite cult filmmakers.

Although the next Pegg-Wright project was essentially a big-screen episode of Spaced (which had already envisaged a zombie invasion of London), Shaun of the Dead had enough verve and brio to justify the expansion. An unpretentious, engaging horror-comedy that filtered American and Italian trash-cinema sources through a delightfully British sensibility, it found many fans on both sides of the Atlantic. Not least among them was George A. Romero, director of the original Dawn of the Dead (US/Italy, 1978), who offered Pegg and Wright cameos in his own zombie opus Land of the Dead (US/Canada/France, 2005).

Michael Brooke

More information


From the BFI's filmographic database

Related media

Selected credits

Thumbnail image of Spaced (1999-2001)Spaced (1999-2001)

Innovative sitcom about disillusioned twentysomething flatmates

Related collections

Related people and organisations

Thumbnail image of Hynes, Jessica (1972-)Hynes, Jessica (1972-)

Actor, Writer

Thumbnail image of Pegg, Simon (1970-)Pegg, Simon (1970-)

Actor, Writer