Doctor Who A to Z: N is for Nightmare

Inspired by a series of Facebook posts that I saw, we are going to run through an alphabetical series of Doctor Who-related themes. Today we continue this with the letter N…

(Daily Doctor Who #292)


A big part of Doctor Who‘s appeal has always been the fact that it’s a bit scary. The show has “enjoyed” seeing how far it could push the envelope of having creepy stuff without making it inappropriate for its largely child-audience.

I didn’t watch when I was really small and never found it particularly scary. But certainly there have been things–especially the revived series–which have a legitimately nightmarish quality, both concepts and individual moments.

The Foretold, Mummy on the Orient Express

I just mentioned this guy under “M is for Monsters” but I think the image of the Mummy creeping relentlessly toward its victim, invisible to everyone but its quarry, is one of the more disturbing images the show has produced.

The transformation of Dr. Constantine, The Empty Child

Revived Doctor Who‘s first genuine nightmare image makes quite an impact, as the iconic gas mask pushes itself up Dr. Constantine’s throat and consumes his face!

The Peg Dolls attack, Night Terrors

I actually don’t like Night Terrors, by Mark Gatiss, that much but even I have to admit that those life-size Peg Dolls, which turn people into more Peg Dolls, are pretty disturbing.

The Policewoman is sucked into the floor, Flatline

Another Jamie Mathieson entry (he wrote Mummy on the Orient Express), Flatline features the interesting idea of monsters invading the world from a two-dimensional universe. This results in a number of interesting looking visuals, including the horrifying image of PC Forrest being sucked into floor to her doom.

The Silence, The Impossible Astronaut

And finally we have a creature that is the stuff of nightmares not strictly because of the visual (although it is creepy), but because of the concept: an alien species you simply cannot remember when you are not looking at it. And of course, not a friendly alien species, but a highly malevolent one fully capable of delivering hypnotic suggestions and blowing up their victims with fierce electrical discharges. They are not the most popular Steven Moffat-invented monster (as our recent tournament showed here and here) but they are my personal favorite.

3 thoughts on “Doctor Who A to Z: N is for Nightmare

  1. I do. In fact I’m working on my Ninth Doctor crossover now, and have ideas for all Thirteen “main” Doctors. But they take me a long time to get through, unfortunately.

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