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Syd Macartney trained as a director of photography at the UK's National Film & Television School where he worked on 16 student films. After graduation, he worked on several shorts and over 70 music videos. He was also the cameraman on the 12- part TV series The Living Body and the feature films Party Party (1983) and Underworld (1986). He set up a production company with partner Ossi Rawi and has since directed such shorts as The Nihilist's Double Vision and The Best Ever Nuclear Fall-out Shelter as well as episodes of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles and the film The Bridge before making The Whipping Boy.