Writer: Mark Gatiss
Director: Richard Clark
Producer: Sanne Wohlberg
Companions: Amy Pond (Karen Gillan), Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill)
Series: 6, ep. 9
Summary: The Doctor receives a psychic paper message from a little boy who’s afraid of monsters luring in his closet.
Review: This is an episode that I don’t understand people not liking. I’ve not heard it get the same level of hate as “Love and Monsters”, but I’ve still heard very little positive insight on this episode.
One of the things I love about the Doctor that’s a constant throughout many of the regenerations is his soft spot for children and teenagers. Hartnell started it with Susan and Vicki, and it continues even through New Who with Rose (who was technically supposed to be 19 when she was with the Ninth Doctor). Probably the most famous example of a kid companion the Doctor had was Adric during both Tom Baker and Peter Davison’s eras. Moffatt brought that into his stories often, and he wasn’t the only writer who was known for emphasizing this characteristic. As Amy Pond puts it wonderfully in “The Beast Below”, the Doctor only intervenes when children are crying. This is true here.
This story is legitimately creepy. I love the giant-headed dolls and their child-like voices. I don’t know why nursery rhymes can be so creepy when recited by children, but it’s a trope that will never die (nor should it), even if the nursery rhyme is invented for the story like the one in this story.
Mark Gatiss truly is one of Doctor Who’s best writers. Not every story he’s written is genius, but there are few I was disappointed in. And this is no exception.
Continuity: Rory thinks he’s died again. The Doctor asks for a jammy dodger, which he did in “Victory of the Daleks”. We’re once again reminded that the sonic screwdriver doesn’t work on wood. Rory suspects that the message might be junk mail, which the TARDIS has received before in “Greatest Show in the Galaxy.” The Doctor actually asks for a jelly baby in a New Who episode.