Michael Hirst was born in Bradford, Yorkshire, in 1952. He was educated at Bradford Grammar school, the London School of Economics, Nottingham University and Trinity College, Oxford. He wrote his first screenplay in 1979, for the film director who was to become his friend and mentor, Nicolas Roeg. Further screenplays followed, some of which were turned into movies: “Meeting Venus”, directed by István Szabó starring Glen Close. “Fools of Fortune”, directed by Pat O’Connor, starring Julie Christie. And “Elizabeth”, directed by Shekhar Kapur, starring Cate Blanchett and Geoffrey Rush. “Elizabeth” was nominated for 7 Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
In 2006, Michael changed codes and wrote “The Tudors”, a television series for Showtime, starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers. He was also show runner and executive producer as well as sole writer. “The Tudors” ran for 37 episodes and won innumerable awards around the world.
In 2013 Michael started work on a second television series, “Vikings”, starring Travis Fimmel, produced by MGM and the History Channel. Once again, Michael is the sole writer of the show, as well as show runner and executive producer. So far, 4 seasons of “Vikings” have been broadcast, but a 5th has already been shot and a 6th is to follow. All told, Michael will have written ninety hours of “Vikings” television. The show is a massive hit, both in North America and around the world. Critically acclaimed, not least in Scandinavia, it has also been called by the Huffington Post, ‘one of the few network shows which takes religious belief seriously.’
Michael lives outside Oxford with his wife Deb, an artist. Together they have 9 children.