The Sixth Commandment

Working lives: Director

Timothy Spall, a man in his mid sixties, sits in front of a large fully packed bookcase, in his blue polkadotted pyjamas and a green and navy striped silk dressing gown. He wears rectangular glasses.

What does the job involve?

I guess the simple answer is that the clue is in the title: it’s about having a clear direction in which you want to take a project.

You’re the hand on the tiller, making sure all the departments and actors are going in the same direction.

I started in documentaries, so I’m trying to make things feel real and truthful. I’m not just trying to deliver the script, which is what a lot of people think a director’s job is. You have to breathe life into it so it doesn’t feel written, or even directed.

BBC announces the cast for factual drama The Sixth Commandment

Timothy Spall (Credit: Seb JJ Peters/BBC), Sheila Hancock (Credit: Neil Spence/BBC) Anne Reid, Éanna Hardwicke, Annabel Scholey (Credit: BBC)

Written by Sarah Phelps, the four-part crime drama will star Timothy Spall, Anne Reid, Éanna Hardwicke, Annabel Scholey and Sheila Hancock. 

The series will explore the deaths of inspirational teacher Peter Farquhar (Timothy Spall) and his religious neighbour Ann Moore-Martin (Anne Reid) in the village of Maids Moreton, Buckinghamshire.

The trajectory of Farquhar’s life changed when he met younger charismatic student Ben Field (Éanna Hardwicke), which led to one of the most confusing and intricate criminal cases in recent history.