Tom Hooper was educated at one of England's most prestigious schools, Westminster. His first film, Runaway Dog, was made when he was 13 years old and shot on a Clockwork 16mm Bolex camera, using 100 feet of film. At age 18, he wrote, directed and produced the short film Painted Faces (1992), which premiered at the London Film Festival; it was released theatrically and later shown on Channel 4. He studied English at England's top university, Oxford. At Oxford University, he directed theatre productions starring his contemporaries Kate Beckinsale and Emily Mortimer, and directed his first television commercials. His father was a non-executive director at United News and Media, which owned an ITV franchise.
Hooper's father introduced him to one of British television's top directors and producers, Matthew Robinson, who gave him breaks by employing him to direct episodes of Byker Grove (1989) and EastEnders (1985), both series produced by Robinson. Further success came when he was approved