An occasional actor, David Leland wrote Beloved Enemy for Play for Today in 1981, starring Graham Crowden, Tony Doyle and Steven Berkoff. This was followed by Psy Warriors, in which supposed terrorists in army custody turn out to soldiers undergoing anti-interrogation training. Directed by Alan Clarke, it featured John Duttine, Rosalind Ayres and Derrick O'Connor.
Birth of a Nation is the accepted umbrella title for a series of four Leland plays for Channel 4 in 1983, all dealing more or less with the failings of the current education system. Birth of a Nation proper had a a run-down State comprehensive school falling apart before the viewers' eyes, with over-worked and embattled teachers treating dispassionately their pupils, as well as more liberal-minded colleagues; Flying into the Wind, with uncharacteristic humour, argued the case for parents 'choice in teaching their own children; RHINO was a disturbing portrait of a persistent truant ("Really Here In Name Only") abandoned by the system, only to picked up and brutalised by it when her errant behaviour went too far. The final play, Made in Britain was a shocking look at the life of an intelligent but vicious skinhead (Tim Roth), spiralling towards a violent conclusion.
More recently he has concentrated on theatre and film work, co-writing Mona Lisa with director Neil Jordan in 1986. In 1991 he introduced a season of BBC2 repeats - including Made in Britain - commemorating the work of his friend and colleague Alan Clarke who died the previous year. He has now turned to directing, including the sixth episode (Bastogne) in the controversial US HBO mini-series Band of Brothers.
[Biography as submitted for inclusion in The Guinness Book of Classic British TV (1996, 2nd edition), with minor corrections]