As co-creator of the original, British iteration of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, Steve Knight could have easily lived out the rest of his life on the no doubt considerable residuals from the international-smash game show. Instead, he used his small-screen victory as a launching pad for an entirely different career path, as a screenwriter of distinctive, socially conscious dramas and thrillers. Born in Marlborough and raised in Birmingham, England, Knight got his start in advertising and radio upon graduation from college. Freelancing for television in the late '80s and '90s -- during which time he also wrote three novels -- he hit upon his greatest success with Millionaire. In 2002, his first screenplay, Dirty Pretty Things, was brought to the screen by director Stephen Frears; a tale of economic injustice and underworld corruption among London's illegal immigrant community, it garnered much acclaim, not to mention a respectable box-office take. The well-received abolitionist period drama Amazing Grace followed, as did a contemporary take on similar subject matter: Eastern Promises, a look at the criminal underbelly behind human trafficking in London. Knight then set to work adapting one of his own novels, the New York-set Alphabet City, for the screen.
by Michael Hastings biography