In Review: Doctor Who – Sleep No More

Video recovered from a wrecked space station hides a horrifying secret.

Synopsis: Video recovered from a wrecked space station hides a horrifying secret.

Review: Mark Gatiss brings us this edge of your seat horror episode in which Professor Rassmussen played by Reece Shearsmith has come up with a machine that allows humanity’s workforce to carry on working with absolutely no need for sleep.

The machine however has a horrifying side effect, which four members of a rescue party learn to their horror and before The Doctor is able to solve the unsolvable problem at hand.

The episode opens with the rescue party making their way to the space station while their leader narrates the chain of events for us. We don’t see The Doctor or Clara until around 5 or 10 minutes into the episode when they tell the rescue team that they are structural engineers.

The episode felt a little like how you’d think a modern hammer horror movie set in space would be. With the rescue team, The Doctor and Clara running about trying to avoid the dreaded sandman while trying to figure out the cause of them.

Professor Rassmussen is every bit the classic horror villain and then some and very nearly the equal of Capaldi’s Doctor.

Gatiss who has written a fair few of the better Doctor Who stories since the series returned in 2005 pulls another rabbit out of his hat with this story and even has Capaldi’s Doctor quoting from Macbeth when he argues against Rassmussen’s machine saying that sleep is part of what makes us human. Remove it and you remove a vital part of the soul.

One aspect I didn’t like about this story was the lack of opening credits. I know that they were doing this in order to punctuate the found footage style in how the episode was shot, which was really cool. But for me removing the opening credits regardless of the over synthed new theme tune from Murray Gold is removing something very important to the ‘Doctor Who’ experience.

This is probably one of the scariest episodes of modern ‘Doctor Who’ and this is to its detriment in the sense that this kind of episode excludes a rather large part of the ‘Doctor Who’ audience in as far as the children under the age of 12. I can’t imagine my late parents letting me watch this story when I was 7 or 8.

Other than that its a really well crafted and written episode with some brilliant acting performances and the Sandman creature with giant Maw has to be among the most horrific images to appear in an episode of ‘Doctor Who’


Doctor Who - Sleep No More
  • Lots of tension and scares
  • Lack of opening titles and the fact that the story alienates a part of the younger audience.
  • Story
  • Acting
  • Incidental Music
  • CGI

Ian Cullen is the founder of and has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy from birth. In the past few years he has written for 'Star Trek' Magazine as well as interviewed numerous comics writers, television producers and actors for the SFP-NOW podcast at: When he is not writing for Ian enjoys playing his guitar, studying music, watching movies and reading his comics. Ian is both the founder and owner of You can contact ian at: [email protected]
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