TV Review: Doctor Who - Night Terrors [BBC iPlayer]

on Saturday, September 03, 2011
'Doctor Who' Series Six, Episode Nine: 'Night Terrors' // Words: Saam Das

SYNOPSIS: "Classic sci-fi drama series. The Doctor (Matt Smith) and his companions come to the aid of a terrified child, whose monsters appear to be real." (

Last week's shenanigans with River Song (Alex Kingston) and her murdering ways have all but been forgotten, as the Doctor returns to full health in 'Night Terrors'. Mark Gatiss also returns to writing duties, bringing a suitably creepy tale, reminding us of his time with 'The League Of Gentlemen' before his splendid turn as writer/"on-air talent" in 'Sherlock'.

The episode in-hand falls back to the monster-of-the-week trope, with slightly disturbing toy doll creations terrorising a selection of council estate residents.
Oi bruv, Where are the lads from 'Attack The Block' when you need them? Your reply would probably be along the lines of "err, 'Last Action Hero' wasn't real, Saam - fictional characters don't come to life." And I'd be all like, "my bad" and continue with my review.

Except later, I'd take you to one side then ask, "are you sure 'Last Action Hero' wasn't inspired by true events?". And then you'd roll your eyes at me and we'd go our separate ways. The Doctor wouldn't do that though, at least not Matt Smith's version, who comes to the call of a young eight year old boy (Jamie Oram) who wants to be saved from the monsters in his room.

The young child, George, appears to be literally afraid of everything. "Pantophobia", claims The Doctor, noting that while it's not directly the fear of pants, by definition it includes the fear of pants. I shared something of a fear of the monsters that turned up and credit to director Richard Clark for producing at least one spine-chilling moment. Unfortunately, it's difficult to lose yourself in the tension of the situation when you almost certainly know that from the outset each of the main characters will happily survive.

There's also a convuloted explanation as to why George becomes scared of everything and the resulting consequences of his emotions (think chicken-and-egg scenario) but spoilers put paid to that discussion. Other than those niggles, it was a solid episode but one that felt as if we were treading water again - much like the foray into pirates earlier in the series.

Next week's 'The Girl Who Waited' looks to be far more action packed, although with some dubious special effects, so will hopefully be more punchy and interesting. Especially if they relate it back to the series arc as the last shot of 'Night Terrors' served as a reminder.

Watch 'Night Terrors' on BBC iPlayer until 19:44, 10 September '11.

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