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Published on August 30th, 2011 | by Christian Cawley

Exclusive Night Terrors Preview

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?

Doctor Who - Night Terrors

Doctor Who - Night Terrors

Doctor Who - Night Terrors

Doctor Who - Night Terrors

Doctor Who - Night Terrors

Doctor Who - Night Terrors

Doctor Who - Night Terrors

Doctor Who - Night Terrors

Doctor Who - Night Terrors

Doctor Who - Night Terrors

Doctor Who - Night Terrors

Doctor Who - Night Terrors

Doctor Who - Night Terrors

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.


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About the Author


A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

2 Responses to Exclusive Night Terrors Preview

  1. avatar Rick Lundeen says:

    I had never considered Gatiss as even a possible replacement when RTD was in charge. I really didn’t think about *any* replacement for Russel until around series 3 when I noted that Moffat was by and large the best writer popping up in each series—and wouldn’t it be great if HE took over? but I had absolutely no idea if he would or could be interested. I figured it was a longshot. Then I was of course ecstatic when it was announced that he was going to be the new showrunner.

    Of course, shortly after series 5 ended, I started worrying/wondering who would eventually take over from him. As far as a writer who would come in and consistently belt a home run, RTD had the Moff. Unfortunately, the Moff doesn’t have an equivalent writer that we’d all like to see in the position. which brings us full circle back to Gatiss. He and the Moff are good friends, Gatiss does know Doctor Who intimately and both of them run Sherlock together. Put all these elements together and it seems to me that if Steven’s going to hand off the show to anyone, it’d probably be Gatiss, for good or ill. I’ve herd rumblings about Whitehouse and Graham but neither fill me with hope, so I don’t know but at least the Moff will be around –hopefully—for the 50th. after that, I guess, we’ll see.

  2. avatar ChrisL says:

    When I saw Mark Gatiss had been chosen to be among the writers for this series my heart sank.
    We only get a small number of Dr Who episodes per year and to keep wasting them on Mark Gatiss seems almost criminal. Apart from “The Unquiet Dead” his offerings so far have been pretty woeful.

    It was a great idea to give him a chance originally because on the face of it he had all the right credentials. His work on “A League of Gentlemen”, amongst others, plus his well documented love for Dr Who gave the impression that he would be ideal as a writer for the show.
    To be fair to him “The Unquiet Dead” was a pretty decent episode and so inviting him back for a second go made a lot of sense. Unfortunately his more recent attempts do not justify him getting yet another chance and my expectations for the upcoming episode are pretty low.

    If, God forbid, the BBC do actually invite him to take over from Steven Moffat, it can only be because of his friendship with our esteemed show-runner and not because of his track record so far as Dr Who is concerned. I fear that to appoint Gatiss would be an unmitigated disaster.

    Please BBC, tie Steven Moffat to a chair, in front of his typewriter or word processor (whichever he uses), and don’t let him go anywhere anytime soon.

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