BBC Doctor Who - The Stories BBC
QuickNav to a Season: 
QuickNav to a Story: 
 
The Previous Story
In the Forest of the Night
 The Previous Story
The Previous Story
(Flatline)
 The Next Story
(Dark Water/Death in Heaven)
Season
Details
SynopsisGeneral
Information
The
Episodes
Audience
Appreciation
ArchivesNotesFirst and LastThe PlotQuote of
the Story
Release
Information
In PrintPhoto
Gallery
 

Peter Capaldi
In the Forest of the Night
Twelfth Doctor Logo


Synopsis


A Green and Pleasant London
A Green and Pleasant London
 One morning in every city and town in the world, the human race wakes up to face the most surprising invasion yet.

 Everywhere, in every land, a forest has grown overnight and taken back the Earth.

 It doesn't take The Doctor long to discover that the final days of humanity have arrived.

Source: BBC Website


General Information

Season: Thirty Four (New Series 8)
Production Code: 8-10
Story Number: 251 (New Series: 95)
Episode Number:810 (New Series: 114)
Number of Episodes: 1
Percentage of Episodes Held:100%
Production Dates: July - August 2014
Broadcast Date: 25 October 2014
Colour Status: HD Colour
Studio: BBC Wales (Roath Lock Studios, Cardiff)
Location: National Museum (Cardiff), Forest Fawr Woods, Heythorp Zoological Gardens (Chipping Norton) and various residential areas in Cardiff
Writer:Frank Cottrell-Boyce
Director:Sheree Folkson
Producer:Paul Frift
Executive Producers:Brian Minchin and Steven Moffat
Assistant Directors:Chris Thomas and Gareth Jones
Script Supervisor:Steve Walker
Script Editor:David P Davis
Editors:Lucien Clayton, Katrina Aust (Assistant) and Will Burgess (Assistant)
Production Executive:Julie Scott
Production Assistants:Katie Player and Matthew Jones
Post Production Supervisor:Nerys Davies
Production Designer:Michael Pickwoad
Director of Photography:Mark Garrett
Casting Director:Andy Pryor CDG
Line Producer:Tracie Simpson
Costume Designer:Howard Burden
Make-Up Designer:Claire Pritchard-Jones
Cameramen:Cai Thompson (Assistant), Katy Kardasz (Assistant), Tom Rowe (Assistant) and Mark McQuoid (Operator)
Incidental Music:Murray Gold
Special Sounds (SFX Editor):Harry Barnes
Sound Recordist:Deian Llyr Humphreys
Visual Effects:BBC Wales VFX and Milk
Special Effects:Real SFX
Stunt Co-ordinator:Dani Biernat
Title Sequence:Billy Hanshaw
Title Music:Ron Grainer and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Arranged by Murray Gold
Music Performed By: The BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Music Conducted and Orchestrated By: Ben Foster
Music Mixed By: Jake Jackson
Music Recorded By: Gerry O'Riordan
Number of Doctors: 1
The Doctor: Peter Capaldi (The Twelfth Doctor)
Number of Companions: 1The Companion: Jenna-Louise Coleman (Clara Oswald) Number of Acquaintances: 1The Acquaintance: Samuel Anderson (Danny Pink) Guest Cast: Michelle Gomez (Missy) Additional Cast: Abigail Eames (Maebh), Jaydon Harris-Wallace (Samson), Ashley Foster (Bradley), Harley Bird (Ruby), Siwan Morris (Maebh's Mum), Harry Dickman (George), James Weber Brown (Minister), Michelle Asante (Neighbour), Curtis Flowers (Emergency Service Officer), Jenny Hill (Herself), Kate Tydman (Paris Reporter), Nana Amoo-Gottfried (Accra Reporter), Eloise Barnes (Annabel)Setting: London (2016) Villain:None

The Episodes

No. Episodes Broadcast
(UK)
Duration Viewers
(Millions)
In Archive
810In the Forest of the Night25 October 201445'13"6.9Yes

Total Duration 45 Minutes


Audience Appreciation

Average Viewers (Millions) 6.9
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2015)52.40%  (Position = 12 out of 12)


Archives


 This story exists and is held in the BBC's Film and Videotape Library.



Return to the top of this page
 


Notes


"In the Forest of the Night" is the tenth story of Season Thirty Four (New Series 8). It has been written by Frank Cottrell Boyce and directed by Sheree Folkson.

This story features a cast of child actors: BAFTA-winning Harley Bird is best known as the voice of Peppa Pig; Abigail Eames has had roles in The Crimson Field and Casualty; Ashley Foster has appeared in The Woman in Black and Standings; and Jaydon Harris-Wallace danced in CITV Text Santa, and for the Spirit of London Awards.

The title of this story is a quote from William Blake's poem The Tyger.

This is the first Doctor Who story written by Frank Cottrell Boyce. He is best known as an award-winning author of children’s books including Millions, Framed, and a series of sequels to Ian Fleming's Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: The Magical Car. His film scripts include 24 Hour Party People and Butterfly Kiss. He also wrote the script for the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony. It has been revealed that when he was asked to write for Doctor Who, the only question he asked was ‘Do I get to take my kids in the TARDIS?’.

Frank Cottrell Boyce has revealed that he was 'flabbergasted to be asked to write an episode' and that 'of all the thrills that pen and paper have brought into my life, there’s nothing that quite compares to the buzz of unlimited possibility that rushes through your fingers and into your brain when you write the words: "Interior … TARDIS"’.

Steven Moffatt has revealed that 'Frank's script is pure magic and everything I could have hoped for from the genius behind the Olympics Opening Ceremony. Doctor Who is born anew in the mind of a genius!'.

This story is directed by Sheree Folkson, whose credits include Russell T Davies' Casanova, BBC One's Truckers and ABC's Ugly Betty. This is her first work for Doctor Who.

This story is produced by another newcomer, Paul Frift, whose credits include ITV's Primeval and BBC Four's Room at the Top as well as Escape Artist, Best Possible Taste and Restless.

The read through for this story took place on the 18th July 2014 and recording began on the 22nd July and continued each day until the 8th August 2014. An additional two days filming involving the animals took place in Chipping Norton beginning on the 13th August 2014.

Locations for this story include the National Museum in Cardiff, the Forest Fawr Woods, the Heythorp Zoological Gardens in Chipping Norton as well several residential areas in Cardiff.

This was the last story to be recorded for Season Thirty Four (New Series 8).

The bus that is seen in the background of the forest is actually a cardboard cut-out. This is due to difficulties that would be faced in order to manoeuvre a real bus into the forest that was used for the location recording for this scene.

The TARDIS uses a female GPS-like voice to indicate that they have reached their destination. This is the first time such an announcement is heard.

One of the children is heard to ask what the 'round bits' in the TARDIS are (see "The Day of The Doctor").

Maebh is heard to say to The Doctor, to prove to him that he is in London, ‘Nelson’s Column… Do you like it?’. In the 1972 Third Doctor story "The Sea Devils", The Doctor is heard to mention that Horatio Nelson was ‘a close personal friend’. He has also visited Trafalgar Square on several occasions, most recently in "The Day of The Doctor". The famous London landmark also featured in the 1964 First Doctor story "The Dalek Invasion of Earth", the 1965 First Doctor story "The Chase" and the 2005 Ninth Doctor story "Rose". It also featured in The Adventure Game "City of the Daleks".

Darkness-phobic’ that is mentioned in this story is not a completely made up concept… The syndrome, when acute, is known as nyctophobia (from the Greek for night and phobos, meaning fear). In the 2008 Tenth Doctor story "Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead", The Doctor is heard to state ‘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!’.

The Doctor compares the solar flare to the one that hit the Bank of Karabraxos in "Time Heist".

In the future, massive solar flares would lead to the exodus of human race from Earth. (see the 1966 First Doctor story "The Ark", the 1975 Fourth Doctor story "The Ark in Space" and the 2010 Eleventh Doctor story "The Beast Below"). Earth would also undergo a solar flare when it was relocated by the Time Lords (see the 1986 The Trial of a Time Lord story "The Mysterious Planet").

The Doctor explains that the Tunguska and Curuçá events are evidence of the protection of Earth by trees.

When The Doctor mentions Tunguska he’s referring to the so-called ‘Tunguska Event’ - a huge, mysterious blast that occurred on the 30th June 1908 in the Siberian region of Russia. Many different theories exist as to the nature of the blast, ranging from an asteroid hitting Earth’s atmosphere to a black hole passing through our planet.

When The Doctor mentions Curuçá he is referring to an event generally assumed to be fragments of an asteroid impacting on an area of Brazil on the 13th August 1930. Due to the nature of the event it’s often called ‘The Brazilian Tunguska’.

Mention is made of the UK government's emergency committee, COBR. This acronym stands for Cabinet Office Briefing Rooms and is a committee set up to coordinate the actions of bodies within the UK government’s powers in response to national, regional and occasionally international crises.

When Clara insists that The Doctor escape Earth's coming destruction, she repeats his own words as the War Doctor to 'make it worthwhile' (see "The Day of The Doctor"). The Doctor responds with ‘I walk your Earth. I breathe your air’, echoing words spoken to him during "Kill the Moon". At the close of that story Clara furiously tells The Doctor ‘You walk our Earth, Doctor, you breathe our air’.

When Clara asks how the ‘Forest of the Night’ will be explained, The Doctor replies ‘You’ll all forget it ever happened’. The idea of humanity not registering such epic events is well-established in Doctor Who. For instance, in the 1988 Seventh Doctor story "Remembrance of the Daleks", The Doctor is heard saying to Ace: ‘Do you remember the Zygon gambit with the Loch Ness Monster? Or the Yeti in the Underground? Your species has an amazing capacity for self-deception’.

The Doctor reminds Clara that the future can be changed despite her having witnessed it alongside him (see "Kill the Moon").

Danny discovers that Clara wasn't telling him the truth about her relationship with The Doctor (see "Flatline").

When The Doctor and Clara speak over the phone about the forest, The Doctor describes the forest as the New Forest, only newer.

When Danny asks The Doctor how a forest can grow during one night, The Doctor responds with 'Exactly what they said about the ice age'.

The Doctor again is heard calling Danny 'PE' (see "The Caretaker" and "Flatline").

Clara is heard telling The Doctor that her 'gifted and talented' students have traits she says are 'all super-powers if you use them properly'. The Doctor tells young Rupert Pink a similar thing in "Listen" when he says 'fear is a super-power, it's your super-power'.

Danny Pink and the children can be heard singing Everywhere We Go by Dave Benson Phillips.

One of the Coal Hill children is heard to say 'Timey Wimey' while they are planning the speech to stop the destruction of the trees. This is an expression used by the Tenth Doctor and the Eleventh Doctor.

The sonic screwdriver is ineffective where wood is concerned as it was in "Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead". Its ineffectiveness against wood is long established and in the 2011 Eleventh Doctor story "Night Terrors", The Doctor admitted ‘I’ve got to invent a setting for wood… It’s embarrassing!’.

Maebh is heard to say that the trees can communicate between one another, if only just a little. A bit sarcastically, The Doctor asks Maebh if she thinks the trees communicate by some form of tree-Facebook.

A human is once again in telepathic contact with tree-based intelligent life forms. (see the 2011 Christmas Special "The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe").

The Forest of Cheem was an example of an intelligent race of trees who evolved on Earth (see the 2005 Ninth Doctor story "The End of the World").

Various character’s names are linked with the narrative in this story. For instance, the little girl who notices the red ring is called Ruby and Maebh, the child who has the connection with the trees, has the surname Arden, which brings to mind the Forest of Arden, the setting for William Shakespeare’s As You Like It.

This story also contains many elements of fairy tales. For example, Maebh in a red coat being chased by wolves is very reminiscent of the fairytale Little Red Riding Hood.

The fairytales Sleeping Beauty and Hansel and Gretel are also mentioned. Clara asks Danny whether a forest really can grow during one night or if they have been sleeping for years, like the character of this Sleeping Beauty. She later alludes to the gingerbread house from Hansel and Gretel while looking for Maebh with The Doctor.

This story is an example of Doctor Who (as a television show) being referenced in the show itself, with a bus in one shot advertising Series 8 of Doctor Who. This advertisement though is only visible for a brief second. A previous example occurred in "Remembrance of the Daleks", which was set on the same day that Doctor Who premiered, with an announcer on a television in the background saying 'And now for a new science fiction adventure, Doc-" before cutting out.

This story contains a number of errors. Namely: When Clara picks up Maebh's pink phone with her right hand, she is also holding her own white phone in her left hand. However, in the next shot, the pink phone is in her left hand and the white phone is in her right hand. They later return back to normal in the following shots.



First and Last

The Firsts:

 The first Doctor Who story to be written by Frank Cottrell Boyce.

 The first Doctor Who story to be directed by Sheree Folkson.

 Paul Frift's first involvement in the show as a Producer.


The Lasts (Subject to Future Stories):

 The last story to be recorded for Season Thirty Four (New Series 8).


Return to the top of this page
 


The Plot

WARNING: May Contain SpoilersHide Text
In the Forest of the Night

Maebh
Maebh

Clara Oswald and Danny Pink are chaperoning a small number of children from Coal Hill School on a overnight stay at London's National History Museum. However, when they awake the following morning they discover that London, as well as the rest of Earth, has suddenly been taken over by forests of trees in a matter of hours.

The Doctor also learns of this when one of the children, Maebh, finds his TARDIS in a forest-covered Trafalgar Square. When Clara phones The Doctor, to inform him of what has happened, she is initially saddened to find that he is already aware. The Doctor then reveals to her that it was one of the children that she and Danny are responsible for is with The Doctor instead of in the museum. This causes Clara to rush back to the museum to inform Danny that they have 'lost' one of the children. But when Danny discovers that Clara contacted The Doctor, before the children's parents, he reacts resentfully upon finding out Clara is still secretly keeping in contact with The Doctor.

Clara and Danny then lead the group to Trafalgar Square to be reunited with Maebh and The Doctor. There they talk about the trees and The Doctor suspects that the only way the trees could have grown so fast is due to the influence of time. They all enter the TARDIS and as The Doctor works with the controls Danny finds Maebh's notebook which Clara had accidentally left aboard during her last trip in the TARDIS. The notebook is filled with pictures of an angry sun striking down trees. Clara explains that Maebh's sister Annebel had disappeared a year prior leaving Maebh traumatised, and has been on special medication to silence the voices in her head. The Doctor realises that Maebh is central to the appearance of the forest, the condition allowing her to tune to some other communication frequency. When they realise that Maebh is not with the rest of the children The Doctor and Clara race out to find her.

The Doctor
The Doctor

They find that Maebh has dropped personal items along the path to allow her to be followed. They encounter a government service team, under COBR orders, trying to burn a path through the forest but the trees are able to control the oxygen nearby to prevent them from being burnt. As they continue following Maebh, The Doctor explains to Clara that Maebh's drawings show a giant solar flare, similar to the one that destroyed the Bank of Karabraxos (see "Time Heist"), that he confirmed is occurring presently and is due to strike the Earth that day. The Doctor though is curious as to how Maebh could predict this in her drawings.

As they continue after Maebh, they hear sounds of wild animals, which The Doctor believes have escaped from London Zoo - its cages torn asunder by the trees' growth. They manage to reach Maebh just in time to rescue her from several wolves that have been chasing her. But they realise too late that the wolves themselves were being chased by a tiger which then starts to threaten The Doctor, Clara and Maebh.

Clara
Clara

Danny though arrives with the rest of the children and scare off the tiger with their torches. As they regroup Maebh runs off again, waving her hands wildly, which the other children say is a tic that she has had since her sister died. Catching up with her, Maebh explains that she thinks she created the forest from a dream she had after her sister's death. The Doctor is able to interpret her ranting and motions and adjusts the local gravity near her with his sonic screwdriver, revealing a number of glowing bug-like creatures that circle Maebh. They speak through Maebh, explaining they have persisted throughout time and were called to the present by Maebh. They cryptically describe how they created the forest as they had done before. When the beings express pain, while under the field of higher gravity, The Doctor lets them go and Maebh collapses.

Learning all this The Doctor reveals to the others that the Earth is truly doomed by the solar flare, and Clara suggests they return to the TARDIS so that they can at least save the group of children. However, when they get to the TARDIS, Clara insists The Doctor leave on his own, refusing to abandon Danny and unwilling to be the last human left alive, and that for all the times The Doctor has saved the Earth, it is time for Earth to allow The Doctor to escape.

After some persuading The Doctor regretfully takes off in the TARDIS. But as he monitors the solar flare leave the sun inspiration hits him and he quickly returns to Earth and catches up with Clara and the others. He explains that he has interpreted the cryptic message from the beings, and has determined that the trees have actually saved the Earth before - That they were responsible for protecting the Earth from disaster during the Tunguska Event and the Curuçá impact by rapidly growing trees across the planet to buffer the effects of these impacts that should have otherwise extinguished all life on Earth. The sudden appearance of the forest now is to prevent damage to the planet from the solar flare that is heading towards the Earth. However, Danny reveals that they saw news that the government plans to use defoliating agents to strip the leaves from the trees to allow them to be burnt, which would affect their ability to stop the solar flare.

The School Trip
The School Trip

They return to the TARDIS where The Doctor uses his time machine to hack into the world's cellular network, and Maebh reads off a messages prepared by her and the rest of the children warning them not to harm the trees; she also asks for her sister Annabel to return. Outside the TARDIS Maebh is greeted by her mother, who has been searching for her. The Doctor offers the remaining group the chance to watch the solar flare's impact in space from the safety of the TARDIS but Danny turns down his offer saying that he will take the children back home. Clara joins him for part of the way during which Danny reveals he has figured Clara lied to him about travelling with The Doctor, but is willing to take her apology for it and continue their relationship. She and Danny then share a kiss, which the children laugh at because the rumours they heard have now been proven to be true.

Later, The Doctor and Clara watch the Earth from the open TARDIS doorway, as the solar flare harmlessly hits the Earth and the trees burn away. Elsewhere, Missy also watches the event on her tablet, calling the result a 'surprise.

On returning to Earth The Doctor and Clara watch, from in Clara's flat, the remains of the trees crumble away. Clara wonders what will be told about the trees in the future and The Doctor tells her that the entire event will have been forgotten, just as they did after the previous events, as it is human nature to forget about impossible things.

Maebh and her mother return to their home and as one of the bushes disperse they find Annebel waiting for them there, and the family has a tearful reunion.

 
Clara and The Doctor
Clara and The Doctor
The Hunter
The Hunter
Maebh and The Doctor
Maebh and The Doctor
Maebh
Maebh
 
Clara and Danny
Clara and Danny
Science Lesson
Science Lesson
Watching the Solar Flare
Watching the Solar Flare
Missy
Missy




Quote of the Story


 'Stars implode. Planets grow cold. Catastrophe is the metabolism of the universe. I can fight monsters. I can't fight physics.'

The Doctor



Return to the top of this page
 


Release Information

FormatTitleRelease Date (UK)Code NumberCover ArtRemarks
Video
DVD
The Complete Eighth Series Box SetNovember 2014BBCDVD 3935Photo-montageDVD boxed set containing 11 stories
Video
Blu-Ray
The Complete Eighth Series Box SetNovember 2014BBCBD 0272Photo-montageBlu-Ray boxed set containing 11 stories
Video
DVD
The Complete Eighth Series Box Set (BBC Shop Exclusive)November 2014BBCDVD 4003Photo-montageDVD boxed set containing 11 stories
Video
Blu-Ray
The Complete Eighth Series Box Set (BBC Shop Exclusive)November 2014BBCBD 0289Photo-montageBlu-Ray boxed set containing 11 stories
Audio
CD
Original Television Soundtrack - Series 8May 2015Photo-montageMusic by Murray Gold
Video
Blu-Ray
The Complete Eighth Series Box Set (Limited Edition Steelbook)April 2021BBCBD 0525Photo-montageLimited Edition Blu-Ray Steelbook boxed set containing 11 stories


In Print

No Book Release
Doctor Who Magazine - PreviewIssue 479 (Released: December 2014)
Doctor Who Magazine - ReviewIssue 480 (Released: December 2014)

Return to the top of this page
 


Photo Gallery


The Doctor and Companion/Acquaintance

 
Peter Capaldi
The Twelfth Doctor

   

Jenna-Louise Coleman
Clara Oswald
 
Samuel Anderson
Danny Pink
   




On Release

Complete Series DVD Box Set
Complete Series DVD Box Set

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

BBC
VIDEO
Complete Series DVD Box Set (BBC Shop Exclusive)
Complete Series DVD Box Set (BBC Shop Exclusive)

BBC
VIDEO
   
Complete Series Blu-Ray Box Set (BBC Shop Exclusive)
Complete Series Blu-Ray Box Set (BBC Shop Exclusive)

BBC
VIDEO
Original Television Soundtrack Cover
Original Television Soundtrack Cover

BBC
AUDIO
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 479
Doctor Who Magazine - Preview: Issue 479

Marvel Comics
 
Doctor Who Magazine - Review: Issue 480
Doctor Who Magazine - Review: Issue 480

Marvel Comics
   

Return to the top of this page
 
 
Who's Who
KJ Software
Who Me
Episodes of the
Twelfth Doctor


Season 34 (New Series 8) Press to go back to the previous visited page References
 
 
Doctor Who is the copyright of the British Broadcasting Corporation. No infringements intended. This site is not endorsed by the BBC or any representatives thereof.