Director Alice Troughton's feature debut, The Lesson, is out in UK cinemas now, and it is a thriller following an aspiring writer (Daryl McCormack) who goes to work as a tutor at the family estate of his idol, renowned author JM Sinclair (Richard E Grant).


Troughton has previously worked on a number of major TV shows, including The Midwich Cuckoos and Bagdhad Central, but is best-known amongst Whovians for her work on Doctor Who, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures, directing episodes of all three.

Troughton directed two episodes of Doctor Who, both in season 4 - The Doctor's Daughter and fan-favourite story Midnight, which saw Tennant's Doctor gets stuck in a vehicle on a tour of the planet Midnight, along with a number of passengers, one of whom, Sky Silvestry (Lesley Sharp) becomes possessed by an unknown, seemingly hostile entity. caught up with Troughton ahead of the release of The Lesson, and in looking back on Midnight, she had nothing but praise for the episode's writer, Russell T Davies, and the cast led by Tennant.

Troughton said: "Russell's writing in that… I don't ignore anything that Russell writes, including full stops and apostrophes, because his writing is so precise and so glowing, that it offers itself up to you and you follow it. It’s just how having a superb writer next to you can liberate you as the director."

Colin Morgan, David Tennant and Daniel Ryan in Doctor Who
Colin Morgan, David Tennant and Daniel Ryan in Doctor Who. BBC

She continued: "I want to say that I broke Colin Morgan on that show - that was his first ever television role and we're still working together years later, we've got projects together and went on to work together, so I was very proud of that. But also Lesley Sharp and David Tennant together to do that part - what we did in Midnight, what they had to learn, the whole conceit of it.

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"I would say that what Russell taught me and what I have learned throughout those brilliant shows and my experience, which I think I took into the movie [The Lesson], is that the hardest thing is to be simple.

"The hardest thing is to be simple and to trust what you've got in front of the lens and to let yourself just take your ego out of the frame, and allow what happens to happen in front of it.

"And again, I owe it all to the actors, and I owe all of Midnight to that amazing ensemble, Lesley Sharp and David Tennant, and I owe all of The Lesson to those amazing actors [McCormack, Grant, etc]."

Tennant and Davies have, of course, both returned to Doctor Who ahead of this year's 60th anniversary, with Tennant set to star as the 14th Doctor in three specials before handing the baton to Ncuti Gatwa's 15th Doctor.

Davies will stay on past the anniversary, and is already deep into production on the show's upcoming 14th season - and, reportedly, some future spin-offs.

The Lesson is in UK cinemas from 22nd September 2o23. Doctor Who is available to stream on BBC iPlayer. Classic episodes are available on BritBox – you can sign up for a 7-day free trial here.

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