In 1988, Knight and Mike Whitehill started a freelance writing partnership providing material for television, and later co-created the Celador-produced Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, which won awards around the globe including a BAFTA, National Television Awards, Indie Awards, Broadcast Awards, New York Festival, Silver Rose of Montreux and the Queen’s Award for Enterprise.
Knight has had four novels published: The Movie House, Alphabet City, Out of the Blue and, in 2011, his first children’s novel, The Last Words of Will Wolfkin.
Knight’s first screenplay, Dirty Pretty Things, directed by Stephen Frears, premiered at the 2002 Venice Film Festival to outstanding reviews and was selected to open the prestigious London Film Festival. The film was released in the U.K. and the US to universal critical acclaim. It won a host of prestigious awards including four BIFAs, Best Film & Best Actor at the Evening Standard British Film Awards, the 2004 Humanitas Award, the Edgar Award for Best Motion Picture Screenplay, Best British Screenwriter at the London Film Critics’ Circle Awards and an Oscar® nomination for Best Original Screenplay at the 76th Annual Academy Awards.
His first stage play The President of an Empty Room, which was directed by Howard Davies, opened at the National Theatre in London in 2005.
Two more screenplays were released in 2007. Amazing Grace, directed by Michael Apted, about the life of the British anti-slavery politician William Wilberforce, and Eastern Promises, directed by David Cronenberg and starring Viggo Mortensen and Naomi Watts, which centred on London’s Russian crime community.
Knight has directed two films (both of which he also wrote): his directorial debut, Hummingbird, starring Jason Statham and Agata Buzek about a damaged ex-special forces soldier living on the streets of London and Locke, starring Tom Hardy, about an ordinary working man whose life changes in the course of one evening and which won him a 2013 BIFA for Best Screenplay.
Other screenplays include: The Hundred Foot Journey (directed by Lasse Hallström), which was released in 2014; Pawn Sacrifice (directed by Ed Zwick), which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2014; Seventh Son (directed by Sergei Bodrov) and Burnt (directed by John Wells), both in 2015; and Allied (directed by Robert Zemeckis), a WWII thriller starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard that premiered in 2016. The November Criminals (directed by Sacha Gervasi) is currently in post-production.
Knight is also the creator and Executive Producer/writer on Peaky Blinders Series 1, 2 & 3, starring Cillian Murphy and Helen McCrory.