This week’s episode – Arachnids in the UK is directed by Sallie Aprahamian. Aprahamian is a seasoned and talented professional with over 20 years of experience directing programmes for television. She is also one of those exceptional individuals that gives back to her community as she mentors and trains young directors in their chosen craft.

Let’s take a look back at her career.

One of her first directing jobs was for the 1993 soap opera, Eldorado. The series about a group of ex-pats living in Los Barcos. She then went onto work on This Life. The 1997 series starred Jack Davenport well before he was in Steven Moffat’s comedy, Coupling, and featured the lives and loves of five professionals.

This is Life
This is Life

She crossed paths with John Simm as he starred in Jimmy McGovern’s acclaimed series The Lakes about Danny Kavanagh, a compulsive gambler who leaves Liverpool for the Lake District where he meets and marries a local girl (Emma Cunniffe). The series was nominated for a BAFTA as Aphrahmian directed four episodes from the second series.

John Simm - The Lakes - (c) BBC WW
John Simm – The Lakes – (c) BBC WW

She followed The Lakes, by directing all four episode of the crime drama Extremely Dangerous with Sean Bean. The programme was loosely based on the real-life murder of three drug dealers in Essex during the 1990s. It was followed by another crime drama, The Sins starring Pete Postlethwaite. Nominated for 3 BAFTAs – Best Actor, Best Drama and Best Actress, the miniseries follow Len, a former getaway driver and his attempts to lead an honest life while being tempted by the seven deadly sins.

In 2008, she directed her first film, Broken Lines, starring Paul Bettany and Olivia Williams. The film about two broken people attempting to recover from personal tragedy has been called one of Paul Bettany best performances. The movie was selected for the Venice and London Film Festival.

Most recently her work has focused on children’s and young adult drama. In 2014, she directed several episodes of The Dumping Ground. Based on the characters from Jacqueline Wilson’s best-selling novel, The Story of Tracy Beaker, The Dumping Ground, is set in a children’s care home known as the “dumping ground.” This is where the unwanted end up. The show follows several children as they deal with the challenges of living together and growing up. She also directed many episodes of Debbie Moon’s acclaimed young adult series Wolf Blood.

She has directed The Worst Witch and Hetty Feather for BBC. The Worst Witch is based on Jill Murphy’s novels about the life of Mildred Hubble, the worst witch at Cackle’s Academy. No matter how much Mildred tries, her spells always seem to go wrong.

Hetty Feather is a period children’s drama based in Victorian England. Hetty is a young girl who was abandoned by her mother at a Foundling hospital where she battles with Matron Bottomly as she tries to find her real mother. Both shows air on the BBC’s children’s channels.

This year has been a successful one for Aprahamian. She has directed two episodes of Doctor Who – Arachnids in the UK and the yet to name episode 7. She also was part another blockbuster series – Poldark – Series 5, where she was responsible for the first and last episodes.

In today’s episode, The Doctor, Graham, Yaz and Ryan have made it back to Sheffield shortly after they left. But there’s a problem. Something is happening with the spiders. The Doctor, Yaz, Graham and Ryan find their way back to Yorkshire – and Yaz’s family – only to find something is stirring amidst the eight-legged arachnid population of Sheffield.

Catch Aprahamian’s first episode of Series 11 at 7:00 pm on BBC One and at 8:00 pm EST on BBC America.

Don’t forget the clocks in the UK have fallen back an hour.


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