You must not watch this week’s episode of Doctor Who – but let’s see if you can resist. Titled "Sleep No More," the episode is a found-footage horror tale that warns viewers not to watch, and is the Doctor’s first standalone adventure in a season of two-parters.
And it might also be the scariest Doctor Who story yet.
Written by actor, comedian, writer, and professional Whovian Mark Gatiss, “Sleep No More” revolves around footage discovered on the wreckage of the Le Verrier Space Station in orbit around Neptune. The Indo-Japanese crew of the station has discovered a way to eliminate sleep, but meddling with nature has its consequences, and those arrive in the form of a new monster.
While it is his first space-set episode, Gatiss is no stranger to horror. A fan of the genre (who will soon be heard as the vampire count in a Big Finish radio play of Dracula), Gatiss has leaned into horror for five of his eight Who installments.
For "Sleep No More," Gatiss told me this week that he approached the story as a straight-on horror flick, instead of as a Doctor Who episode. His intention was to rein in the scares later on, but that never quite happened. And what was meant to be another two-part story was streamlined into one hour of Time Lord terror where he said he “tried to tap into primal fears.”
In the following video, Gatiss talks to me about the episode and weighs in on the Doctor Who topic of sonic sunglasses vs. screwdriver.