Review: Doctor Who – 6×9 – Night Terrors

Fear Him

In the UK: Saturday 3rd September, 7.10pm, BBC1/BBC1 HD. Available on the iPlayer
In the US: Saturday 3rd September, 9pm/8c ET/PT, BBC America

I would review this, but basically I’ve already reviewed it when it was called Fear Her. Okay, it was a lot better. The direction was better. The writing was better. There were some great lines of dialogue, including Rory’s "We’re dead – again." And Matt Smith was very, very good.

But it was still Fear Her in plot, Macguffin and more or less everything else (Doctor investigates alien cuckoo child in suburban estate who can shape reality with its mind, gets trapped by alien and relies on outside help to get saved). And it still wasn’t that good, although I imagine very young kids might have wet themselves.

Essentially, a big set of things that seem scary on paper (and in the case of the life-size dolls, scary on TV) or that were scary when they were last seen in Sapphire and Steel when they were done well, it failed to connect emotionally or hang together properly. With most adults, at least, it failed to scare or engage. The trite ending – "dad must rescue son by telling him he loves him unconditionally" – was as poor as the attempts to add social realism, which were largely thrown away. And above all, It failed to make sense – kid fears getting rejected by parents so distorts reality, causing his parents to think about rejecting him.

It was a lot better than Gatiss’s last effort, Victory of the Daleks, but still a bit of a wasted chance for the plot of Fear Her to redeem itself. Not awful, not bad in places, but still an also-ran episode.


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.