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A day in the life of.. Film director Don Boyd.

Don Boyd, 50, is one of Britain's most prolific film directors. His latest venture is Full Frontal In Flip Flops - a fascinating documentary about naturism, in which Don himself appears naked. He has three grown- up daughters and lives in west London with his wife Hilary, 49. Here he tells SALLY MORGAN about his life behind the lens...

I'm one of the lucky few who can also regard his work as a pleasure. Since I started directing feature films in 1974, I've helped create movies such as Scum, The Great Rock 'N' Roll Swindle, Scrubbers, Twenty-One and Kleptomania, but among all the films I've been involved in my latest documentary, Full Frontal In Flip Flops, is unique.

I had a superficial view of nudity, probably gained from reading dirty mags with a pen torch under the sheets as a boy at boarding school in Scotland. But my knowledge was broadened after meeting naturists such as Sue, who lost a breast through cancer. Filming her wedding, complete with naked vicar and guests, turned out to be a moving experience for me.

I also stripped naked for the programme. I felt it would make the naturists more comfortable, but when I saw my naked body on screen, I thought, "God, do I really look like that?"

Taking off my clothes in public gave me an insight into the minds of actors when they're working on a nude scene. Last year I had to direct my daughter Amanda, an opera singer, in a film called Lucia.

Not only was she naked, she also had to make love to a man. I assumed the scene would be difficult for us both, but shooting it was as professional as if she were just another actress.

No day in my life is ever the same. From the moment I wake up I'm thinking about my work. I never really stop, whether I'm shooting, editing, or writing a script.

Before filming Full Frontal I was in Kiev in the Ukraine, directing the documentary Donald And Luba for the BBC. In it I follow the lives of my 78-year-old Russian mother Luba and my late father, who was Scottish. The film looks at the 20th century from their perspective, through two revolutions and two world wars.

When I left school at 16 with four A-levels, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. After forming a small theatre company, I won a scholarship to the London Film School. Directing gave me a buzz and I also found that I had an ability to work with lots of talented actors, such as John Hurt.

I first directed John in 1976, in East Of Elephant Rock, and now we're working together on a gangster movie. In my opinion John is the greatest living movie actor of this generation and he's also one of my closest friends. My wife Hilary and I see him regularly, and have been there for him through various triumphs and tragedies.

I can tell John whether he's out of order, but he's an amazingly modest man. Helen Mirren, who I met in 1979 when I produced Hussy, has a similar approach. She respected my honesty, even when she disagreed with me. My job has taught me to be consistent, direct and honest with difficult people.

Directing Ruby Wax Meets... we only had two serious rows. Ruby didn't seem to understand that the characters we were making films about were as interesting, if not more interesting, than she was. When I filmed Imelda Marcos singing, Ruby became irritated because it took the attention away from her antics. Having said that, I adore Ruby. She's one of the most brilliant people I've ever worked with.

Not everyone I've worked with has been as difficult as their image might suggest. When I produced The Great Rock 'N' Roll Swindle I was surprised at how polite the Sex Pistols were. Over three months of filming they spent a lot of time at my home and their behaviour was usually impeccable. Strangely, when Johnny Rotten came for tea he went upstairs to the bathroom and emerged covered in talcum powder.

Although I mix with people who are in the limelight, I shun it myself. And I rarely go to film premieres. It's more enjoyable to visit a local cinema with my niece Alice than to rub shoulders with the media. I also prefer dinner parties with a few close friends at home to dining out, and I love to eat a simple meal in front of the telly with my wife.

I only need about four hours sleep and wake up rejuvenated. Sometimes I dream about my work, and when I was filming Full Frontal I dreamed I was naked.

l Full Frontal In Flip Flops is on ITV at 10.40pm on Tuesday
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Morgan, Sally
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 2, 1999
Words:803
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