After a lovely meal at Jamie’s Italian and a Doctor WhoConvention, I returned home to watch the recorded edition of “Night Terrors”: Mark Gattiss latest epic. Karen Gillan and other cast members had described it as a thriller and I would have to agree. But a thriller in the realms of Doctor Who that is. At first I had doubts. Last year’s Gattiss epic failed to impress a wide number of viewers partially down to the shocking redesign on the Daleks making them look like Mighty Morphing Power Rangers. However- the script was good. Winston was written well and for 45 minutes of screen time Gattiss produced something good which he proves to do very well in other episodes such as “The Unquiet Dead” and “The Idiots Lantern.” Sherlock proves however Gattiss writes better in a 90 minute format which suggests his next Who venture should be a two parter which I would love to see. However my fears were replaced with freaky dolls and a truly beautiful story.
Night Terrors was such as successful standalone episode giving us a healthy break from the mental Melody/River plot arcs that have been continuously thrown at us over the past episodes. Gattiss manages to write a clever story with clever twists, laughs, scares and a beautiful examination of the Farther/Son relationship. This amazing relationship was brilliantly played out by Daniel Mays and Jaime Oram who both linked together very successfully through their acting. I usually detest child actors for being too “Over the top” however Jaime’s performance of George was at a very high standard boarding on the success of Laurence Belcher’s performance in “A Christmas Carol.” Again Gattiss’ writing produces this amazing relationship on paper.
Smith, as usual, bounces off and gels instantly with Daniel May’s Alex. They both linked so well in both humour and serious acting. They even managed to make my step-dad laugh at lines such as “You’re not from
social services are you?” and the cupboard gag which are brilliantly presented by the level of writing and the superb acting of Mays and Smith. Darvill and Gillan were also on top form delivering their relationship so brilliantly. The humorous line of: “We’re dead again aren’t we” made me laugh and the scenes in the doll’s house were humorous and clever.
One vital component of the success of this story was the dolls that were amazing. The costume, choreography and design of these amazing creatures gave this episode the “freaky and scare factor” it needed. The concept of the dolls was also very scary such as if they touch you, you become a doll. This was amazing. The CGI mutation was beautifully created and gave such an amazing scary effect which gives us faith in The Mill and other SFX companies after the terrible flesh monster in “The Almost People.”
It’s very strange that I believe that this episode needed to be longer. We could have really seen some really dark scenes with the dolls and learn more about their mythology and see some more amazing mutations. An extra 15 minutes would have been superb. The supporting cast were also fantastic. I loved the old woman.
Overall: A stunning one-off episode creating even more characters we’d love to see return. Let’s hope “Night Terrors 2” kicks off when Jaime’s a teenager…