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David Tennant
Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead
Tenth Doctor Logo


Synopsis


Dr. Moon
Dr. Moon
 The Doctor and Donna enter a world of terror inside an abandoned library. They’re given only one warning: “Count the shadows”.

 As the shadows rise, The Doctor forges an alliance with the mysterious River Song.

 But can anyone stop the Vashta Nerada?

Source: BBC DVD


General Information

Season: Thirty (New Series 4)
Production Code: 4-9/4-10
Story Number: 195 (New Series: 39)
Episode Numbers:746 - 747 (New Series: 50 - 51)
Number of Episodes: 2
Percentage of Episodes Held:100%
Working Titles:"The Doctor Runs", "Forest of the Night", "River's Run" and "Return of the Dead" (episode 2)
Production Dates: January - February 2008
Broadcast Started: 31 May 2008
Broadcast Finished: 07 June 2008
Colour Status: Colour
Studio: BBC Wales (Upper Boat, Pontypridd)
Location: Hensol Castle and Dyffryn Gardens (Vale of Glamorgan), Cardiff, Brangwyn Hall (Swansea), Swansea Library and other locations in Swansea.
Writer:Steven Moffat
Director:Euros Lyn
Producer:Phil Collinson
Executive Producers:Julie Gardner and Russell T Davies
Script Editor:Helen Raynor
Editor:Crispin Green
Production Executive:Julie Scott
Production Manager:Debbi Slater
Production Designer:Edward Thomas
Director of Photography:Rory Taylor
Casting Director:Andy Pryor CDG
Costume Designer:Louise Page
Make-Up Designer:Barbara Southcott
Cameraman:Joe Russell (Operator)
Incidental Music:Murray Gold
Special Sounds (SFX Editor):Paul Jefferies
Sound Recordist:Julian Howarth
Sound Supervisor:Paul McFadden
Sound Editor:Doug Sinclair
Visual Effects:The Mill
Special Effects:Any Effects
Prosthetics:Millennium FX
Stunt Co-ordinator:Tom Lucy
Title Music:Ron Grainer and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Arranged by Murray Gold
Music Performed By: The BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Number of Doctors: 1
The Doctor: David Tennant (The Tenth Doctor)
Number of Companions: 1The Companion: Catherine Tate (Donna Noble) Number of Acquaintances: 1The Acquaintance: Alex Kingston (River Song) (Joins and Departs) Additional Cast: Colin Salmon (Dr Moon), Eve Newton (The Girl), Mark Dexter (Dad), Sarah Niles (Node 1), Joshua Dallas (Node 2), Jessika Williams (Anita), Steve Pemberton (Strackman Lux), Talulah Riley (Miss Evangelista), O-T Fagbenle (Other Dave), Harry Peacock (Proper Dave), Jason Pitt (Lee), Eloise Rakic-Platt (Ella), Alex Midwood (Joshua), Jonathan Reuben (Man)Setting: The Library (51st century) Villain: Vashta Nerada

The Episodes

No. Episodes Broadcast
(UK)
Duration Viewers
(Millions)
In Archive
746Silence in the Library31 May 200842'59"6.3Yes
747Forest of the Dead07 June 200845'16"7.8Yes

Total Duration 1 Hour 28 Minutes


Audience Appreciation

Average Viewers (Millions) 7.0
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2008)85.68%  (Position = 3 out of 11)
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2009)83.12% Lower (Position = 24 out of 200)
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2014)83.23% Higher (Position = 31 out of 241)


Archives


 Both episodes exist and are held in the BBC's Film and Videotape Library.



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Notes


Excluding the two Children in Need specials, the first episode, of this two part story, is the 50th episode of Doctor Who since the show returned in 2005. Also depending on how you count the stories it is also the 200th story of the whole show since it started in 1963 This is assuming you include the unbroadcast "Shada", treat the 1986 The Trial of a Time Lord season as four separate stories and treat "Utopia" as a separate story to "The Sound of Drums/Last of the Time Lords".

Very late in production episode 2, "Forest of the Dead", was due too be called "River's Run". However Executive Producer Julie Gardner was not happy with this name and so Steven Moffat had to think up a new name. For a short while it was known as “Return of the Dead” before Steven Moffat - who still preferred “Forest of the Night” - decided to merge the two titles and christened the episode "Forest of the Dead".

Just before this story’s broadcast it was announced that writer Steven Moffat was to take over from Russell T Davies, as Doctor Who's Show Runner and Head Writer. By the time this story was broadcast, Steven Moffat was already in the midst of planning his first season with Executive Producer Julie Gardner's successor, Piers Wenger. Interstingly Steven Moffat has won both Hugo and BAFTA awards for his previous Doctor Who scripts and he is the only writer, other than Russell T Davies, to have contributed scripts to all four seasons of the revived show.

Steve Pemberton, who plays the part of Strackman Lux, is the second member of The League of Gentlemen to guest star in Doctor Who. Last year Mark Gatiss (who has also written for Doctor Who) guest starred in "The Lazarus Experiment". Steve Pemberton also previously co-starred alongside David Tennant in an episode of the revival of Randall And Hopkirk (Deceased).

Alex Kingston, who plays the part of Professor River Song, is best know for playing Dr. Elizabeth Corday in 158 episodes of US medical drama ER.

River Song is not the only archaeologist to have shared adventures with The Doctor. Back in the 1990s, Paul Cornell created Professor Bernice Summerfield as a companion for the Seventh Doctor in the Virgin Books' The New Adventures novel "Human Nature". Bernice Summerfield (aka Benny) appeared in dozens of books before getting her own spin-off series of books and audio adventures, in which she is played by Lisa Bowerman.

The main library scenes for this story were filmed at Swansea Library and Brangwyn Hall, Swansea. The current holder of the record for being the World's Largest Library is the Library of Congress in America, which holds approximately 29 million books.

As shown on the page to accompany this story in the BBC Doctor Who website, there are a number of books in the library that reference previous stories. Those seen are the operating manual for the TARDIS, Origins of the Universe ("Destiny of the Daleks"), The French Revolution ("An Unearthly Child"), the Journal of Impossible Things ("Human Nature/The Family of Blood"), The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy (written by Douglas Adams, former Doctor Who writer and script editor), Everest in Easy Stages ("The Creature from the Pit") and Black Orchid (a book first seen in the Fifth Doctor story of the same name).

Several scenes were filmed at Swansea's Brangwyn Hall. These include the library reception area where the TARDIS arrives, and the staircase where The Doctor and Donna Noble look out over the empty library. The climactic scenes of this story (in the library core) were filmed in an electrical substation of a disused Alcoa factory in Waunarlwydd, Swansea.

The 'squareness gun' used by River Song to help the party escape from the impending Vashta Nerada is the same one that was used and left in the TARDIS by Captain Jack Harkness in the story "The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances". Writer Steven Moffat has suggested that it was most likely taken from the TARDIS by her in The Doctor's future. The name 'squareness gun' was coined by Rose Tyler in the earlier story.

It's probably a coincidence, but CAL was also the name of the computer graphics company that created the title sequence used between 1987 and 1989 for the Seventh Doctor's adventures. A result of this work was the creation of the first photo-realistic CGI TARDIS, featured in 1987's "Time and The Rani".

The cartoon that can be seen on the girl's television is Pedro & Frankensheep. Charlotte also has a toy 'Robbie the Robot', from the film Forbidden Planet. And if you look closely at the wall in Charlotte's house you will see two of her drawings are of a blonde girl and a wolf....

The wedding dress Catherine Tate wears in episode 2 is the same dress she wore in "The Runaway Bride".

The phrase 'Not one line!' in reference to rewriting history has been used before in Doctor Who, specifically by the First Doctor in the 1964 story"The Aztecs".

At the end of the story "Planet of the Ood", Ood Sigma announces that the ‘Doctor's Song’ may soon end.

The Doctor states several times, while questioning River Song about the origins of her sonic screwdriver, that he never gives them away. While technically true, he did give Sarah Jane Smith a sonic lipstick, a lipstick-shaped item with a similar range of functions, as a parting gift along with K9 at the start of The Sarah Jane Adventures television series.

Professor River Song uses The Doctor's name (not heard by the viewer) in order to gain his trust. The secret behind The Doctor's true name was first explored in "The Girl in the Fireplace" (also by Steven Moffat), and later referred to in "The Shakespeare Code" and "The Fires of Pompeii".

Josh and Ella, Donna's two children in the computer-generated world, were named after Steven Moffat's son and his son's friend.

This is not the first time that the Tenth Doctor has brought someone close to him back to 'life'. In the 2007 Christmas Special, "Voyage of the Damned", he managed to retrieve the data from Astrid Peth's teleport pattern, allowing her to enjoy a 'life' after death, floating through the stars.

Viewers had to wait an extra week from the end of the previous story "The Unicorn and the Wasp" before watching the first episode of this story due to the broadcast of the The Eurovision Song Contest on the 24th May.

Like the previous double episode story in this season the first episode of this story does not include the usual title card reading "To be continued...". Instead there is just, after the credits, a trailer for episode two. The ending of the second episode of this story includes a trailer for the next story - This being "Midnight".

Before the title sequence in episode two there is a brief recap of the main events that took place in the first episode.

Following on immediately after each episode of this story, on BBC3, were the eighth and ninth chapters of the fourth series of Doctor Who Confidential. These being "Shadow Play" and "River Runs Deep". Both were presented by Anthony Head.



First and Last

The Firsts:

 Alex Kingston's first involvement in the show playing the part of Professor River Song.


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The Plot

WARNING: May Contain SpoilersHide Text
In The Library
In The Library

An enigmatic message, on The Doctor’s psychic paper, sends The Doctor and Donna Noble to a planet-sized library in the 51st century - simply called 'The Library'. They arrive to find the world completely devoid of humanoid life, though the Library's computers claim over 'a million, million lifeforms' exist.

As they investigate they find a Node, an information drone with a donated human face attached for communication, which warns them to count the shadows. As they try to search for answers, they are joined by a team of explorers, led by archaeologist Professor River Song, who have come to ascertain why The Library was sealed off a century earlier and the meaning of The Library's final communication, which states that 4,022 people were saved yet none survived.

Professor River Song seems to already know The Doctor – despite The Doctor having no knowledge about her. Even more strangely is she has a diary with a cover matching the TARDIS, and even possesses a sonic screwdriver. When questioned by The Doctor she will only admit that she will know him in his relative future, refusing to admit more for fear of 'spoilers'.

Professor River Song
Professor River Song

Joining forces The Doctor, and the mysterious Professor River Song, investigate the mystery of The Library. But the shadows are alive with a flesh-consuming intelligence... and somewhere, a little girl believes that all of these events are playing out in her mind.

The Doctor soon deduces that the shadows are occupied by the Vashta Nerada, microscopic carnivorous creatures that use shadows to hunt and latch onto their prey. Then one-by-one the team of explorers are stripped to the bone inside their space suites and are turned into short-lived 'Data Ghosts' of that person's consciousness.

The Exploration Team
The Exploration Team

Fearing for Donna’s life The Doctor attempts to teleport his companion back to the TARDIS so that he can concentrate on trying to lead Professor River Song and the rest of her team to safety, but something goes wrong in the teleport and Donna fails to materialise properly. As they race away from the possessed suit of Pilot Dave, The Doctor is horrified to find a Node with Donna's face on it, which claims that Donna has left the Library and has been 'saved'...

The Doctor is about to face secrets from his own future. What or who is CAL? Will The Doctor and Donna be reunited and can the library’s population be saved? Will The Doctor find a way to stop the Vashta Nerada and rescue his companion?

Curiously, the Library's operations seem to be tied to the imagination of a young girl in the 21st century; she sees The Doctor and Donna through the eyes of a security camera when they first break into central room, the exploration team appear on her television as The Doctor attempts to hack the Library computers, and books fly from the shelves when she fiddles with the television's remote. The girl is under the observation of Dr. Moon, a child psychologist, at the request of her dad, but Dr. Moon insists to the girl that what she imagines is the real world, not her so-called home, even revealing knowledge of The Doctor and Donna.

Professor River Song and The Doctor
Professor River Song and The Doctor

Unknown to The Doctor, Donna finds herself in an alternate reality being treated by Dr Moon and with a husband and two children. Donna’s world, living in a home named 'CAL' is an idyllic one, despite time jumping ahead at each thought in her mind – that is until a strange cloaked figure in black makes Donna realise that things are not as idyllic as she first thought, especially when she discovers that the cloaked figure is in fact the member of Professor River Song’s exploration team who she tried to help before she was attacked by the Vashta Nerada. Meanwhile, the little girl watches both The Doctor and Donna by switching channels on her television.

The Doctor then learns that The library is the Vashta Nerada’s "forest"; the paper of countless books in the library were made from trees filled with Vashta Nerada spores, from which they hatched. The Doctor also discovers the meaning of The Library's final communication – the '4,022 saved' did not mean they were rescued, but that their teleport patterns were saved to The Library's hard drive to protect them when the Vashta Nerada started to swarm. He also learns that CAL is an acronym for the name Charlotte Abigail Lux – the name of the little girl and who is a familiy member of Strackman Lux - who is funding Professor River Song’s exploration team.

Charlotte, it seams, was uploaded into the computer as a child because she was dying so that she could live forever with the sum total of human knowledge to pass the time. However, storing the patterns of 4022 unique people has filled her computer core, and is preventing normal operations. The Doctor deduces that the only way to set things right is to reintegrate them back into the library. As CAL cannot do this alone, The Doctor prepares to wire his own mind into the system as extra memory, even though it will surely kill him. Professor River Song, realising the danger The Doctor is putting himself in and unwilling to let him die - which would rewrite history and erase their time together, knocks him out and takes his place, rescuing those trapped in the computer at the cost of her life instead of his.

As the rescued humans are teleported home, Donna is reunited with The Doctor and the both of them return to the TARDIS, but before they depart The Doctor suddenly realises the reason why his future self gave Professor River Song a sonic screwdriver - it holds a communication device with a Data Ghost – thus enabling him to bring her back to life inside the computer.

 
CAL?
CAL?
Dr. Moon
Dr. Moon
The First Death
The First Death
Donna is Saved
Donna is Saved
 
Another Victim of the Vashta Nerada
Another Victim of the Vashta Nerada
Data Corruption
Data Corruption
Professor Song Lives
Professor Song Lives
The Doctor and Donna
The Doctor and Donna




Quote of the Story


 'Almost every species in the universe has an irrational fear of the dark, but they're wrong, because it's not irrational. It's Vashta Nerada. It's what's in the dark. It's what's always in the dark.'

The Doctor



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Release Information

FormatTitleRelease Date (UK)Code NumberCover ArtRemarks
Video
DVD
Silence in the Library - Forest of the Dead - MidnightAugust 2008BBCDVD 2607Photo-montage
Video
DVD
The Complete Fourth SeriesNovember 2008BBCDVD 2609Photo-montageBoxed set containing all 11 stories
Audio
CD
Original Television Soundtrack - Series 4October 2008SILCD1275Photo-montageMusic by Murray Gold
Video
DVD
Series 1 - 4 Box SetOctober 2009BBCDVD 3058Boxed set containing all 43 stories on 23 Discs
Video
Blu-Ray
The Complete Series 1-7 Box Set (Limited Edition)December 2013BBCBD 0242Photo-montageLimited Edition Blu-Ray boxed set containing all Series 1-7 stories at full 1080p high definition
Video
DVD
The Complete Fourth Series (2014 Re-release)August 2014BBCDVD 3968Photo-montageBoxed set containing all 11 stories
Video
DVD
The Complete David Tennant Years Box SetNovember 2014BBCDVD 4000Photo-montageBoxed set containing all 37 stories on 26 Discs
Video
Blu-Ray
The Complete Fourth Series Box SetAugust 2015BBCBD 0264Photo-montageBlu-Ray boxed set containing 11 stories
Video
Blu-Ray
The Complete Fourth Series Box Set (Limited Edition Steelbook)August 2019Photo-montageLimited Edition Blu-Ray Steelbook boxed set containing 11 stories


In Print

No Book Release
Doctor Who Magazine - PreviewIssue 395 (Released: May 2008)
Doctor Who Magazine - ReviewIssue 399 (Released: September 2008)
Doctor Who Magazine - Time TeamIssue 476 (Released: September 2014)
Doctor Who DVD FilesVolume 25 (Released: December 2009)
Doctor Who DVD FilesVolume 26 (Released: December 2009)

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Photo Gallery


The Doctor and Companion/Acquaintance

 
David Tennant
The Tenth Doctor

   

Catherine Tate
Donna Noble
 
Alex Kingston
River Song
   




On Release

DVD Cover
DVD Cover

BBC
VIDEO
Complete Series DVD Box Set
Complete Series DVD Box Set

BBC
VIDEO
Original Television Soundtrack Cover
Original Television Soundtrack Cover

BBC
AUDIO
   
Series 1-4 DVD Box Set
Series 1-4 DVD Box Set

BBC
VIDEO
Complete Series 1-7 Ltd Edition Blu-Ray Box Set
Complete Series 1-7 Ltd Edition Blu-Ray Box Set

BBC
VIDEO
Complete Series DVD Box Set<BR>(2014 Re-release)
Complete Series DVD Box Set
(2014 Re-release)

BBC
VIDEO
   
Complete David Tennant Years DVD Box Set
Complete David Tennant Years DVD Box Set

BBC
VIDEO
Complete Series Blu-Ray Box Set
Complete Series Blu-Ray Box Set

BBC
VIDEO
Complete Series Blu-Ray Limited Edition Steelbook Box Set
Complete Series Blu-Ray Limited Edition Steelbook Box Set

BBC
VIDEO
   


Magazines

Doctor Who Magazine - Preview: Issue 395
Doctor Who Magazine - Preview: Issue 395

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - Review: Issue 399
Doctor Who Magazine - Review: Issue 399

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - Time Team: Issue 476
Doctor Who Magazine - Time Team: Issue 476

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who DVD Files: Volume 25
Doctor Who DVD Files: Volume 25

GE Fabbri
   
Doctor Who DVD Files: Volume 26
Doctor Who DVD Files: Volume 26

GE Fabbri


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