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From entirely narration-free observational documentaries like The Gap and TJ and Yorkie to projects like Bank of Dave and Get a New LIfe that are built around substantial observational sequences.  


Producer, Director and camera

Ever wondered about the rail traveller sitting opposite you, but were afraid to ask? 

58 minute observational documentary which reveals what rail passengers really think as they share their thoughts on their life and the world they see out of the train window.

TJ and Yorkie

Producer and director

A 30 minute glimpse into the life of a young homeless couple, complete with cockroaches, soft drugs, begging, prostitution and the tensions that inevitably develop.


"Ian Lilley's very sharp portrait of TJ & Yorkie……sees them trying to keep together in a unforgiving, autumnal city.” Independent 28/10/94.

Commendation at the Prix Circom European TV competition 1995

Bank of Dave

Series Producer, director and camera

2 x 47' for C4, 3 x 50' for international and a 47' C4 sequel. 


Fed up with the High Street banks, Minibus dealer David Fishwick sets out to start his own - "armed with little more than an iron will, a Phil Collins CD and a bunch of bananas."


Winner of BAFTA Scotland and RTS awards 

Nominated for 4 others including BAFTA (UK), Bulldog and Broadcast awards

My Childhood

Series producer and director of three programmes

7 x 60’ with Endemol for BBC3, in which seven well-known figures face a psychiatrist to see what makes them tick. John Leslie, Kym Marsh, Anthony Warrell-Thompson, Nigel Benn, Jenny Eclair, Janet Street-Porter and Stan Collymore all set out to investigate their own life story – starting with their childhood.


“a sensational TV show” Sun
“…absolutely fascinating to watch” Guardian.

Winner BAFTA Scotland 2006 (John Leslie)

Step by Step

Producer and director

The everyday lives of Sophia and Ray. Sophia was 17 when she had both legs and several fingers ampuated - she's going skiing. Ray Edwards had all his arms and legs ampuated after cutting his finger - he's learning to swim. 

Winner 4 awards including one from the BMA

"Ian Lilley's film……manages the rare feat of being compassionate and funny, not sentimental and manipulative." Time Out. 

Number 73

Producer and director

The Routemaster - one of the world's most iconic buses - nears the day when it will be replaced. This observational documentary looks at the bus, the passengers, and he day-to-day challenges of operating one of the busiest routes in London using one of the oldest vehicles on the road.

Nominated at the Prix Circom European TV competition 2000 

The Gap

Producer and director

My first proper programme - thirty minutes of largely observational documentary on Watford Gap Motorway Services. At the time this particilar Service Station was the most famous in Britain, regarded by many as the point where 'the North' and 'the South' meet.


Fortunately so did a lot of other characters...  

True Blue

Producer and director

30' programme for Carlton Television's Everyday Lives series.  


Gerry Bowel and his wife are both blind but the observational programme concentrates instead on Gerry's everyday obsession with Chelsea Football Club, the couple moving house, caring for their sighted daughter and the impending birth of their next daughter (named Chelsea).

Get a New Life

Producer, director and camera

An 8-part series fronted by two property and relocation experts that helped people leave Britain for a new life abroad.


I helped setup and design the series and I produced, directed and filmed all the location material (largely observational) for half (4) of the programmes in the initial series:


From Manchester to the Cayman Islands, Glasgow to Tuscany, Coventry to New Zealand, and London to the Canaries.

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