Joe Ahearne (born 23 November 1963) is a British television director, best known for his work on several fantasy-based 'cult' programmes. His career began when the short film Latin for a Dark Room won an award at the Edinburgh Festival in 1994, and shortly afterwards he began working for the World Productions independent television production company.
In 1997 he wrote two and directed three of the episodes of the second series of World's acclaimed drama This Life, broadcast on BBC Two. Ahearne was the only person to both write and direct episodes for the multiple-award-winning series, which followed the lives of a group of law students in London.
His next major production for World was for the Channel 4 network, a six-episode vampire serial entitled Ultraviolet, which Ahearne both wrote and directed. Again highly acclaimed, Ultraviolet was broadcast in 1998, and has subsequently been released on both VHS and DVD. The series also ran on the Sci-Fi Channel in the United States, and the Fox Network in that country produced a pilot for their own version in 2001, although this was not a success and did not lead to a series.
In 2002 Ahearne directed the pilot for a Big Bear Productions horror / fantasy drama entitled Strange, written by Andrew Marshall and broadcast on BBC One. The pilot was successful enough for a series to be commissioned the following year, with Ahearne helming three of the six episodes, although the series was not a success and a second did not follow.
He both wrote and directed the two-part drama / documentary series Space Odyssey: Voyage to the Planets for the BBC and the Discovery Channel in 2004. He was the director of five episodes of the first new series of the BBC's classic science-fiction programme Doctor Who, broadcast in early 2005, for which he has been nominated for a BAFTA.
In 2006, his drama Perfect Parents, starring erstwhile Doctor Who lead Christopher Eccleston, is due to air on ITV.