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Ken Loach and his collaborators

Collaboration is key for Britain's foremost political filmmaker

However much film critics and historians like to see the director as the 'author' of a film, the truth is that film - certainly feature film - is fundamentally a collaborative medium. Without a cast, writer, director of photography, producer, editor, composer and a legion of other skilled craftspeople and technicians (often numbering many hundreds), most directors would be left stranded.

Ken Loach has never much cared for the cult of the director, and is the first to admit that collaboration is key to his success. Since his early days in television - where he was a rare example of a high-profile director in what is usually seen as a writer's medium - he has sought out and found lasting collaborations with like-minded people, maintaining professional relationships for many years with the likes of producers Tony Garnett and Rebecca O'Brien, cinematographers Chris Menges and Barry Ackroyd and writers Jim Allen and Paul Laverty.

Main image of Ken Loach and his collaborators
Thumbnail image of Ackroyd, Barry (1954-)Ackroyd, Barry (1954-)

Loach's favoured cinematographer since the early 1990s

Thumbnail image of Allen, Jim (1926-99)Allen, Jim (1926-99)

Fiercely political writer who was a regular collaborator with and a key influence on Loach

Thumbnail image of Carlyle, Robert (1961-)Carlyle, Robert (1961-)

Often intense Glaswegian actor who was an engaging star of Loach's Riff-Raff and Carla's Song

Thumbnail image of Fenton, George (1950-)Fenton, George (1950-)

Prolific composer who has scored more than a dozen of Loach's works

Thumbnail image of Garnett, Tony (1936-)Garnett, Tony (1936-)

Producer who was Loach's most important collaborator in the 1960s and 70s

Thumbnail image of Hibbin, Sally (1953-)Hibbin, Sally (1953-)

Producer who helped to resurrect Loach's film career in the early 1990s

Thumbnail image of Hines, Barry (1939- )Hines, Barry (1939- )

Yorkshire-born novelist whose lengthy association with Loach began with Kes

Thumbnail image of Laverty, Paul (1957-)Laverty, Paul (1957-)

Glasgow-based writer who has been Loach's regular partner since 1996's Carla's Song

Thumbnail image of Loach, Ken (1936-)Loach, Ken (1936-)

The man at the centre of it all: resourceful, committed filmmaker and loyal teamworker

Thumbnail image of MacTaggart, James (1928-74)MacTaggart, James (1928-74)

Seminal BBC figure who produced several of Loach's early TV dramas

Thumbnail image of Menges, Chris (1940-)Menges, Chris (1940-)

Versatile DoP and a frequent Loach collaborator in film and TV from the 1960s on

Thumbnail image of Morris, Jonathan (1949-)Morris, Jonathan (1949-)

Loach's regular editor, who first worked with him in the early 1980s

Thumbnail image of O'Brien, Rebecca (1957-)O'Brien, Rebecca (1957-)

Innovative producer who has overseen Loach's work since the late-1990s

Thumbnail image of O'Connor, James (1918-2001)O'Connor, James (1918-2001)

One-time convict who scripted three of Loach's Wednesday Plays

Thumbnail image of Smith, Neville (1940-)Smith, Neville (1940-)

Liverpool-born actor and writer who was a regular Loach partner in the 1960s and 70s

Thumbnail image of Smith, RogerSmith, Roger

Writer of Loach's first TV drama, who has had a role in many of Loach's later features

Thumbnail image of Tomlinson, Ricky (1939-)Tomlinson, Ricky (1939-)

Former comic and trade-union activist who appeared in Riff-Raff and Raining Stones