Michael Darlow was born in 1934 in Wolverhampton, and trained as an actor at Esmé Church’s Northern Theatre School. After National Service he worked with several regional and repertory theatre companies. From the late 1950s he was also getting parts in television.
His TV production career started at the BBC, followed by periods at Granada and Thames, always on freelance contracts. He has worked as producer and director across documentary and drama, achieving BAFTA awards and nominations for several productions exploring the reality and legacy of the Second World War: ‘Cities at War’ at Granada; ‘Genocide’ in ‘The World at War’ series at Thames; and ‘Bomber Harris’ at the BBC.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s Michael was a leading figure in the campaign to make the ‘Fourth Channel’ independent of the established broadcasters - a ‘publisher-broadcaster’ commissioning programmes from independent producers. When Channel 4 launched in 1982 its structure and remit largely reflected the efforts of Michael and his fellow campaigners. His book Independents Struggle is recognised as an authoritative history of this period in British broadcasting.
Michael’s projects in recent years have often been routed through his companies Partners in Production, and Try Again Ltd.