Doctor Who Review: Nightmare in Silver

Cybermen In A Theme Park.

Cast and Crew

Matt Smith as the Doctor
Jenna-Louise Coleman as Clara Oswald
Eve De Leon Allen as Angie
Kassius Carey Johnson as Artie
Jason Watkins as Webley
Warwick Davis as Porridge
Tamzin Outhwaite as Captain
Eloise Joseph as Beauty
Will Merrick as Brains
Calvin Dean as Ha-Ha
Zahra Ahmadi as Missy
Aidan Cook as Cyberman
Nicholas Briggs as the voice of the Cybermen

Written by Neil Gaiman

Produced by Denise Paul

Directed by Stephen Woolfenden


The Doctor takes Clara and her young charges to the biggest amusement park in the universe. Unfortunately it’s closed, and there are Cybermen there.

High Points

  • “Difficult to beat an enemy that uses your army as spare parts.”
  • “I’m not scared, if you’re wondering. I just think, I ought to turn the lights back on.”
  • “A mystery wrapped in an enigma squeezed into a skirt that’s just a little bit tight.”

Low Points

  • The Cybermen are more like the Borg every time they appear in the new series. I know you can argue that the Borg drew inspiration from the original Cybermen, but that doesn’t mean it has to feed back the other way, does it? Cybermen didn’t used to assimilate (sorry, ‘upgrade’) people.
  • Oh and now the Cybermen adapt as quickly as the Borg do too.

The Scores

Originality: Unlike any Cyberman story I’ve seen before, although I’ve not quite seen all of the original series stories yet, in that it includes humans who know about the Cybermen and know how to fight them, in theory at least. The overall structure isn’t particularly new, but the people involved keep it fresh within the Doctor Who universe. Four out of six.

Effects: Cyberman transmat effects again. Beautiful. Unfortunately some of the other effects weren’t quite so great. Four out of six.

Story: Pretty classic story structure. Make things bad, make things worse, mess up all your plans and then pull salvation out of… well, watch it and find out. I liked the pacing and the regular, if not entirely surprising, curveballs. Four out of six.

Acting: Some more good guest stars again. I liked Warwick Davis’ very matter of fact portrayal, and Coleman delivered us a magnificent dose of Stroppy General Clara. I can’t let this pass though without mention of Matt Smith having to have an argument with himself, and succeeding. Five out of six.

Emotional response: It was an enjoyable episode, but the things that mostly tugged the heartstrings for me weren’t the events of the story itself but Porridge’s recitation of the end of the Cyber Wars, and his last scene. The rest of the story didn’t really do that much for me, because although I found it interesting we see this kind of thing all the time. Four out of six.

Production: There were some good sets this week, and some fairly mediocre ones, but the atmosphere was suitably derelict amusement park, although maybe not quite derelict enough compared to the original impressions of it. Music this week pleased me because I didn’t really notice it, it was just there, adding to the mood. Five out of six.

Overall: It was a more entertaining episode than the individual scores might suggest. I particularly liked how they dealt with the consequences of the ending of the previous episode. Five out of six.

In total, Nightmare in Silver receives 31 out of 42.

14 replies on “Doctor Who Review: Nightmare in Silver”

  1. Some good acting by the regulars and Warwick Davis– especially, as you note, in his final scenes.

    I accept the Cybermen/Borg feedback loop, though it obviously affects the originality of the episode.

    I was okay with last week’s future people listening to classic rock, and I’ve long accepted that pop SF features futures where style looks surprisingly like the present. I had more of an issue with the occasionally derelict amusement park, set in a future where we’ve spread to multiple galaxies, looking exactly like a twentieth-century theme park. I know, Doctor Who does “the future is like the present but more space-zoomy” often, but the setting seemed off and not all that relevant to the plot.

    • Something that occurred to me this morning was that the supposed largest amusement park ever built didn’t actually appear to be very big. Like, probably no bigger than Alton Towers, not far from where I live.

      • That part isn’t something I’m worried about. The park map was much larger than what we saw. Compare that to DisneyWorld: we may be seeing only one segment of the park, and there could be a heck of a lot of segments.

  2. Just a heads up in case you have not already heard, but apparently some of the DVDs for Season 7 have shipped early and spoilers for the season finale are on the web. If you are spoiler-phobe, then be VERY wary around web forums etc., especially those directly relating to Doctor Who!

    • Nah, it was cute and in character. Poor guy’s stuck being all alone, and Clara /does/ seem nice. Royalty often have to make compromises/take shortcuts with regards to marriage, too.

        • Probably shouldn’t say this, but I was watching a show with my girlfriend that had Warwick Davis guest-hosting, and she didn’t know who he was, so I said “He was Willow,” and she said “Yeah Willow in what?” and I said “Uh… Willow.”

          She’d never seen it!

  3. I think I should point out that the Cybermen did “upgrade” people in the original series. It happened at least once. I can’t remember which story it was but my brain wants to come up with a Tom Baker story but that could be wrong.

    Even if they hadn’t, that and the “field upgrade adaptation” thing are both logical forward progressions of the cybermen, especially during a prolonged war.

    • In Tomb of the Cybermen with Patrick Troughton in 1967 they are getting assimilated (at least mentally, can’t remember if they got suited up).

      The borg-ish parts here was the cybermen assimilating by touch, and the field upgrades. However, the field upgrades do make some sense in context since the rapid ones we saw came after they had tapped into half of the doctor’s brain.

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