There are apparently plenty of similarities to be drawn between new ITV thriller Red Eye and beloved sci-fi Doctor Who, according to one of its stars.


Leading man Richard Armitage may have likened the new series to Harlan Coben thrillers, and its setting on a plane may draw comparison to Idris Elba's Hijack, but Lesley Sharp has also been reminded of Doctor Who.

Sharp stars in Red Eye as the head of MI5, Madeline Delaney, but it's the setting of the new ITV drama that makes Sharp think fondly of her time in the long-running sci-fi in the famed Midnight episode.

Speaking exclusively to about Red Eye and Doctor Who, Sharp said: "Talk about Richard and Jing [Lusi] being on that claustrophobic set for the plane in Red Eye and that it was almost like a little sort of acting community – exactly the same for that episode of Doctor Who.

"For two weeks, all of us were on this set, and it was like the actor's studio. And then David [Tennant] and I had to... because there's that whole thing of them almost getting into sync and then her coming out and sort of taking him over – it was a really interesting thing to chart."

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Lesley Sharp as Madeline Delaney in Red Eye standing in the middle of a hallway in a suit.
Lesley Sharp as Madeline Delaney in Red Eye. ITV

She continued: "It was really difficult to rehearse, but it was fantastic. And I was so thrilled to work with Russell [T Davies] again, and sort of be part of David Tennant's tenure of Doctor Who.

"I loved it and I thought it was amazing. Russell really pulls those things out of the bag, I don't know how he does it.

"It was like being in a little two-week nasty chamber of horrors. And it was really good fun. It was great."

The Midnight episode saw Sharp's Sky Silvestry possessed by an unknown entity while stuck in a vehicle with Tennant's Doctor as they, along with other passengers, go on a group tour of the planet Midnight.

It's one of the fan base's favourite episodes of Doctor Who, and speaking more about it, Sharp was full of praise for Tennant.

She said: "David was amazing. I mean, David chewed through pages and pages and pages and pages of dialogue, because his version of the Doctor was that polymath who just had something to say about everything.

"And his dexterity and speed and skill with the dialogue was really accomplished."

She continued: "It's always great when you're stepping onto a set with someone and you think, 'Wow, they are at the top of their game.' And there is an expectation that you go in there and you have to try to match it – it makes you very nervous, but it makes you better.

"So it was great for that reason, too. Hats off to him for that, because I don't know how he did it.

"I think basically what he had to do was do all of the work that you did on set during the day, and then go home and learn however many pages it was for the following day.

"I suppose it's a bit like a muscle… eventually the exercise doesn't feel quite so hard, it’s that muscle in your brain. So he probably fell into that rhythm, because I know I did a bit when I was doing Scott & Bailey.

"But nonetheless, he's something else, I think."

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Recently, Doctor Who director Rachel Talalay wrote about the female directors who have defied the odds, including Midnight director Alice Troughton, who was "given the immensely difficult task of creating rising tension in a small but open space with an invisible monster", Talalay writes.

Of Tennant's acting in the episode, Talalay echoed Sharp's glowing sentiments, and wrote: "Our fear is enhanced by David Tennant’s impeccable performance. Even in paralysis, he shows sheer terror. If the Doctor is afraid, the audience feels hope is lost."

As for Sharp's latest performance, Red Eye will be released this weekend, just in time for a Sunday night drama slot, and stars Armitage and Jing Lusi as a mysterious doctor and determined police officer, stuck on a plane and beginning to grow suspicious of those around them.

According to the Red Eye synopsis, the series is a "collision of three worlds – DC Hana Li (Jing Lusi), journalist Jess Li (Jemma Moore) and MI5’s Madeline Delaney (Lesley Sharp)".

It continues: "All three women are thrown into the same life-threatening conspiracy when a British doctor (Richard Armitage) is arrested for murder upon flying home from Beijing."

Additional reporting by David Craig.

Red Eye premieres on ITV1 at 9pm on Sunday 21st April. Stream all episodes on ITVX after episode 1 airs.


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