The fourth child of a professor of African languages, Patrick graduated as a physicist from the University of London, although he had by then become infected with the theater bug by acting in, and running a company on, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Appalled by the prospect of teaching Physics, he applied for a postgraduate course at Boston University as a joke, and to his surprise he won a scholarship to study directing there. He graduated two years later, having by then caught the directing bug and having directed at Texas' first Shakespeare Festival. He returned to England to find his directing talents unasked for, and so found work as: a stage electrician, a stage manager for a striptease club, a fellow Assistant Stage Manager with Cameron Mackintosh on the tour of Oliver!, a production manager in the West End, and finally-as a theater director in Rep.
Since his first professional production in 1968, he has directed more than 200 plays in all forms of theater, from weekly repertory to the Royal Shakespeare Company. He was accepted by the BBC Television Directing program in 1976 and has subsequently directed more than 150 television dramas (and two digital features to date), ranging from plays for the BBC to Shakespeare in Danish for Danish television, to many episodes of Liverpool's own soap opera Brookside, to his full length film feature In the Dark and short film Send for the Poliss-both shot in high definition format.