British director of works such as Women In Love, Altered States and The Devils - number three on Mark Kermode's All Time Top 10 Best Films Evs. Mark Kermode advised him against going into the Big Brother house (from which Russell would later flee).
Russell's mum was known for asking, "Is it a British picture?" - meaning is it slightly creaky around the edges, does it look a bit shambling and underfunded, but is it also an interesting story. This phrase was therefore used to discuss the 2007 film Stardust, which fulfilled these criteria precisely.
Russell was Mark's choice to do the 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony, on the grounds that "you'd have the whole Olympics dressed as weird psychotic nuns. It'd be fantastic."