Mike Dibb is an award-winning UK independent film-maker who has been producing and directing films for television for many years on a wide range of subjects, from cinema and jazz to art, sport, literature, science and popular culture. He is also the author of Spellwell, a book of humorous rhyming couplets, illustrated by Roddy Maude Roxby and inspired by the phonetic vagaries of English spelling, published by The Muswell Press, with an accompanying graphically animated video on YouTube.
Among his many films are several made in collaboration with the writer John Berger: Ways of Seeing (BAFTA Award 1972 (later a best-selling book), Parting Shots from Animals, Pig Earth, Once upon a Time and A Telling Eye. During the 1970s he made films based on Raymond Williams’ classic study of English literature, The Country and the City; on CLR James’ ground-breaking book on cricket and the Caribbean, Beyond a Boundary; the music doc Jazz, Rock and Marriage with jazz saxophonist Barbara Thompson and her rock drummer husband Jon Hiseman; Somewhere over the Rainbow, about art and psychoanalysis with US painter Robert Natkin and UK writer Peter Fuller; and an influential two-hour documentary, Seeing through Drawing (with David Hockney, Jim Dine, Ralph Steadman and others 1976). He also made Taking Our Time a film with The Red Ladder political theatre company about Chartism and the Plug Riots of 1842, followed by Fringe Benefits a celebration of 1970’s political theatre songs. In 1979 he devised and directed an innovative five-part UK/US series of one-hour films, Fields of Play, exploring the significance of play in every area of our lives, from learning, creativity and work to ball games, gambling and war games.
In 1981, after fifteen years with BBC Music and Arts, Mike Dibb left to join Third Eye Productions, a company set up with other ex-colleagues from the BBC to produce programmes for the newly formed Channel Four. Whilst with Third Eye, he made Don’t Tell Leonardo with cartoonist and illustrator Ralph Steadman; Memories of the Future, two complementary films, in collaboration with the late writer and art critic Peter Fuller, about the Victorian visionaries, John Ruskin and William Morris. He also co-devised and directed with Chris Rawlence a major six-part series About Time; and made two films for C4’s six part series about television Open The Box, produced by Michael Jackson.
In 1986 he formed his own production company Dibb Directions Ltd, through which he made (also for Channel Four) Naturally Creative, a feature-length speculative documentary essay on the origins of human creativity, and two films with the US ethno-musicologist Alan Lomax for his series American Patchwork, exploring the roots of American popular music.