If there is a single Doctor Who writer of the modern series whose work is likely to split fans down the middle it is Mark Gatiss.
From the Victoriana of the wonder The Unquiet Dead in 2005 to the slightly disjointed Victory of the Daleks in 2010 by way of The Idiot’s Lantern in 2006, Gatiss’ Doctor Who stories for TV have drawn praise, criticism and groans of indifference.
In fact, it has been a bit of a mixed bag from the man that this very website declared as a possible replacement for Russell T Davies back in April 2005, but whose 2006 adventure that saw the Doctor fighting Maureen Lipman atop Ally Pally in 1953 left us wondering if we had been a bit premature (and let’s face it, we had; the great RTD was barely into his stride!).
However, we’re once again ready to revise our summary of Gatiss’ suitability to be Head Who Honcho following Night Terrors, and you might too…
The BBC’s summary of the episode is as follows:
The Doctor receives a distress call from the scariest place in the Universe: a child’s bedroom, as the time-travelling drama continues.
Every night George lies awake, terrorised by every fear you can possibly imagine – fears that live in his bedroom cupboard. His parents are getting desperate – George needs a doctor.
Fortunately for George, his desperate pleas for help break through the barriers of all time and space and the Doctor makes a house call. But allaying his fears won’t be easy; because George’s monsters are real.
Now you know the score with these previews – they’re spoiler free, of course, with the aim of giving you an idea of what to expect from the next episode of Doctor Who. I don’t think it will be much of a spoiler to tell you that this is one smashing episode, a clever adventure that sees the Doctor, Amy and Rory encountering the world of a scared little boy centered around a housing estate. There are echoes of the RTD era (or even Survival) about the setting, and the story isn’t too dissimilar to Fear Her.
Where Night Terrors succeeds is in the execution. Some might say that The Idiot’s Lantern and Victory of the Daleks suffered from a lack of polish and consistency throughout the episodes, but Gatiss’ latest episode is as polished as The Unquiet Dead or perhaps one of his Sherlock episodes.
Featuring top performances from Daniel Mays (Ashes to Ashes‘ Jim Keats) and of course Matt Smith, the real star of Night Terrors is little Jamie Oram, who plays George. This little boy is completely adorable and naturally is the key to everything that is going on in his wardrobe.
There are laughs, madcap moments and some quick changes of direction in Night Terrors; most of all, however, it is a story of a dad and his little boy, and if the dénouement doesn’t bring a tear to your eye this Saturday night then you surely have a heart of stone.
Time for a sneak peak now – first up, here’s the trailer:
And what would a Doctor Who Series 6 preview be without some BBC-supplied promotional images from this excellent episode?
You can catch Night Terrors this Saturday night on BBC One and BBC HD at 7.00 pm, and on BBC America at p/8c.