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Peter Capaldi
Sleep No More
Twelfth Doctor Logo


Synopsis


Rassmussen
Rassmussen
 From damaged footage taken in the Le Verrier Space Station, The Doctor and Clara are shown to be up against terrifying creatures made of sand.

 Who is Rassmussen and can he be trusted? Are the Morpheus sleep pods as harmless as they are claimed to be?

 Watch, if you dare, to find out as The Doctor and Clara find themselves in a situation which involves sleep and lots of death.



General Information

Season: Thirty Five (New Series 9)
Production Code: 9-9
Story Number: 259 (New Series: 103)
Episode Number:822 (New Series: 126)
Number of Episodes: 1
Percentage of Episodes Held:100%
Production Dates: July - August 2015
Broadcast Date: 14 November 2015
Colour Status: HD Colour
Studio: BBC Wales (Roath Lock Studios, Cardiff)
Location:
Writer:Mark Gatiss
Director:Justin Molotnikov
Producer:Nikki Wilson
Executive Producers:Brian Minchin and Steven Moffat
Assistant Directors:Chris Thomas and Gareth Jones
Script Executive:Lindsey Alford
Script Supervisor:Steve Walker
Script Editor:David P. Davis
Editors:Mike Jones, Becky Trotman (Assistant) and Robbie Gibbon (Assistant)
Head of Production:Gordon Ronald
Production Manager:Steffan Morris
Production Assistants:Jade Stepenson, Jamie Shaw, Sheryl Bradford and Sion Crowle
Post Production Supervisor:Samantha Price
Production Designer:Michael Pickwoad
Director of Photography:Mark Waters
Casting Director:Andy Pryor CDG
Line Producer:Tracie Simpson
Costume Designer:Ray Holman
Make-Up Designer:Barbara Southcott
Cameramen:Cai Thompson (Assistant), Matthew Lepper (Assistant), Scott Waller (Assistant) and Mark McQuoid (Operator)
Visual Effects:BBC Wales VFX and Milk
Special Effects:Real SFX
Prosthetics:Millennium FX
Special Creature Effects:Millennium FX
Stunt Co-ordinators:Andy Smart, Crispin Layfield and Dani Biernat
Incidental Music:Murray Gold
Special Sounds (SFX Editor):Harry Barnes
Sound Recordist:Deian Llyr Humphreys
Music Orchestrated By:Alastair King
Music Conducted By:Alastair King
Music Performed By:The BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Music Recorded By:Gerry O'Riordan
Music Mixed By:Jake Jackson
Title Sequence:Billy Hanshaw
Title Music:Ron Grainer and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Arranged by Murray Gold
Number of Doctors: 1
The Doctor: Peter Capaldi (The Twelfth Doctor)
Number of Companions: 1The Companion: Jenna-Louise Coleman (Clara Oswald) Additional Cast: Reece Shearsmith (Rassmussen), Elaine Tan (Nagata), Neet Mohan (Chopra), Bethany Black (474), Paul Courtenay Hyu (Deep-Ando), Paul Davis (King Sandman), Tom Wilton (Sandman), Matthew Doman (Sandman), Zina Badran (Morpheus Presenter), Natasha Patel (Hologram Singer), Elizabeth Chong (Hologram Singer), Nikkita Chadha (Hologram Singer), Gracie Lai (Hologram Singer)Setting: The Le Verrier Space Station (38th Century) Villains:Rassmussen and Sandmen

The Episodes

No. Episodes Broadcast
(UK)
Duration Viewers
(Millions)
In Archive
822Sleep No More14 November 201545'02"5.6Yes

Total Duration 45 Minutes


Audience Appreciation

Average Viewers (Millions) 5.6
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2016)60.50%  (Position = 9 out of 9)


Archives


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



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Notes


The plot for this story is notable for breaking away from the traditional filming style of the show by depicting events through a found-footage style of direction consisting of recordings recovered from the wreckage of the Le Verrier Space Station. All its scenes were featured in a manner that suggests they were being viewed through video recordings with a first person monologue, as told by Professor Rassmussen, rather than in third-person.

This is the only stand-alone single episode story of Season Thirty Five (New Series 9).

This story has been written by Mark Gatiss. It is his first television story to be set in the future rather than the past or present.

This story is directed by Justin Molotnikov who is also the director for the following story "Face the Raven".

The guest star for this story is Reece Shearsmith who is an award-winning actor and writer.

This is his first appearance in Doctor Who although he did play the actor who brought the Second Doctor to life - Patrick Troughton – in the 2013 BBC Two drama An Adventure in Space and Time about the creation of Doctor Who that was also written by Mark Gatiss.

Reece Shearsmith though is best known for his work as part of The League of Gentlemen along with Steve Pemberton, Mark Gatiss and Jeremy Dyson, and BBC Two's dark comedy Inside No. 9.

Reece Shearsmith has revealed ‘I am absolutely thrilled to be filming Doctor Who, as Mark Gatiss has written a fantastic role for me in a very scary episode. It has been so exciting to be part of a very singular episode - which, I can say with authority will be unlike any previous episode of Doctor Who. It's a joy to play a part in the show -certainly a badge of honour’.

This story’s writer Mark Gatiss added ‘I'm delighted to be writing again for Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman's brilliant TARDIS team, and I'm very excited about this particular story. It's been brewing in the dark recesses of my mind for a while now! I'm also chuffed to bits to finally welcome my old friend Reece Shearsmith onto the show. He's been badgering me for 10 years!

Also staring are: former EastEnders actress Elaine Tan, whose other television work includes Entourage and the Hand of God', Neet Mohan, who appeared recently in BBC Two's Line of Duty and Channel 4 drama No Offence; Bethany Black, who played the part of Helen in Russell T Davies' acclaimed dramas Cucumber and Banana; and Paul Courtenay Hyu, who appeared Dalziel and Pascoe, Happy Valley and Coronation Street.

Tom Wilton, who plays one of the Sandmen, played a Zygon in "The Zygon Invasion/The Zygon Inversion".

Though uncredited the voice of the computer is played by Nikki Wilson who also produced this story.

The read through for this story took place on the 23rd July 2015 and filming ran from the 27th July to the 12th August 2015.

This story is the first not to identify the story’s name during the opening titles. Unusually, the credits for the writer, producer and director are also missing from the beginning of this story. However, when Rassmussen's initial video footage ends the screen is filled with text and letters spelling out the words DOCTOR and WHO. All the characters' names as well as the space station's name also appear in the code. During this non-musical title sequence the words DOCTOR and WHO is slightly brighter than other text making it is more easily discernible.

The name of this story and the credits for the writer, producer and director all appear after the story’s action, directly preceding details of the cast. The Big Finish Productions audio story "LIVE 34" previously utilised a similar format of presentation, with no titles or credits whatsoever.

The only other time that a television story did not feature a title during the opening titles was the 2005 Children in Need Special, which did not display any discernible title at all.

At the start of this story it is revealed that the Le Verrier Space Station is in orbit around the planet Neptune. It is therefore plausible, even though it is not explicitly stated, that this space station is named after Urbain Le Verrier (1811 –1877), the French mathematician who deduced the existence and position of Neptune using mathematics alone.

Clara is heard to ask if the Morpheus Machine is actually named after Morpheus, the god of sleep. The Morpheus hologram also uses the term 'in the arms of Morpheus', a phrase meaning to be in a deep sleep. In Greek mythology, Morpheus was the god of dreams who could appear in mortals’ dreams in any form. He is often depicted as a winged deity.

The Morpheus machine theme song, Mr. Sandman, was popularised by the group The Chordettes in 1954. Mr. Sandman is a popular song that exemplifies the sound of the 1950s. Written by Pat Ballard and first recorded in May 1954 by Vaughn Monroe & His Orchestra. The Chordettes then released the best known version of this song five months later. Their single reached number one on the Billboard United States charts and number eleven in the UK charts and incidentally, The Chordettes were an all-female quartet, not entirely dissimilar to the holographic group we see singing the number in this story. This song has also been heard before in the 1987 Seventh Doctor story "Delta and the Bannermen".

Nagata is heard to mention ‘Space Pirates’ which to a Doctor Who fan instantly suggests the 1969 story "The Space Pirates". In that story, the pirates were commanded by Maurice Caven and his comrade in crime, Dervish and together they plundered aragonite - one of the most precious minerals in the galaxy.

Consider yourself... part of the furniture!’ When The Doctor finishes Nagata’s sentence he is quoting the song, Consider Yourself, from Oliver!, the musical based on the novel Oliver Twist, written by Charles Dickens.

When debating with Clara about naming the creatures, The Doctor mutters ‘It's like the Silurians all over again’, referencing a continuity controversy concerning their name. These Earth-based, reptilian species were discovered in the 1970 Third Doctor story "Doctor Who and the Silurians". The Doctor however, did not call them the Silurians, suggesting it was a human who gave them their accepted name. In actual fact, the species were not from the Silurian era meaning their name was misleading.

During this story the following dialogue (which includes this story’s eerie title), from Act II, Scene ii of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, are quoted by The Doctor:

MACBETH:
Me thought I heard a voice cry ‘Sleep no more!
Macbeth does murder sleep’, the innocent sleep,
Sleep that knits up the ravell’d sleeve of care,
The death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,
Chief nourisher in life’s feast, -

LADY MACBETH:
What do you mean?

MACBETH:
Still it cried ‘Sleep no more!’ to all the house:
‘Glamis hath murder’d sleep, and therefore Cawdor
Shall sleep no more; Macbeth shall sleep no more’.


According to writer Mark Gatiss, The Doctor's mention of ‘the Great Catastrophe’ that befell humankind is referrence to the collision between the Earth and the Sun described in the 1984 Fifth Doctor story "Frontios".

Rassmussen is heard to say that there will be no more ‘Rip Van Winkles’, referring to the syndrome of too long sleep, and there will be a new generation of Wide-Awakes. Those like Chopra, who refuse to compress their sleep via the Morpheus process, are referred to as 'Rips' - a reference to the short story Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving.

Rassmussen is heard to say that he would transmit his video to the whole Solar system. The Doctor said the same thing about the recording Clara made of the defeat of Odin and the Mire in "The Girl Who Died".

It is revealed that Grunts are artificially grown human soldiers.

The Doctor suggests the space station has very powerful anti-gravity shielding. The Doctor encountered such shields before (see "Horror of Fang Rock").

The Doctor suggests the space station is in night time setting. The Drum, that The Doctor and Clara visited, in "Under the Lake/Before the Flood", used day and night time setting.

The Doctor again is seen using his sonic sunglasses.

The Doctor again is seen to use his finger to tell the time (see "Under the Lake/Before the Flood").

The Doctor is heard to say ‘When I say run, run’ which the Second Doctor and Fifth Doctor often said (see "The Power of the Daleks", "The Tomb of the Cybermen", "Castrovalva" and "Warriors of the Deep").

This is not the first time The Doctor's adventure becomes the subject of a recording that, if played, would infect and kill its audience (see the BBC Audio's Tenth Doctor audio story "Dead Air").

The Radio Times programme listing was accompanied by a small colour head-and-shoulders shot of a helmeted Nagata, with the accompanying caption ‘Doctor Who / 8.15 p.m. / Found footage shows what fate befell the rescue mission led by Nagata (Elaine Tan).’

This story received mixed reviews and was watched by 5.61 million viewers making it the lowest of any Doctor Who story, made to-date, since the show was revived in 2005.



First and Last

The Firsts:

 The first television story written by Mark Gatiss to be set in the future rather than the past or present.

 The first Doctor Who story to be directed by Justin Molotnikov.

 The first Doctor Who story not to identify the story’s name during the opening titles.


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The Plot

WARNING: May Contain SpoilersHide Text
Rassmussen
Rassmussen

Professor Gagan Rassmussen, the lead researcher on the Le Verrier Space Station in orbit around Neptune sometime in the 38th century, addresses a camera to record a message. Rassmussen warns the viewer not to watch this but explaining how the video, assembled from various recordings made over the last few hours, will help put together events leading to this point. Rassmussen continues to narrate through the story as events are played out.

Hours earlier, a rescue ship from Triton arrives at the Le Verrier Space Station in response to a sudden absence of communications with the station, with four soldiers: Nagata, Chopra, Deep-Ando, and 474, a bio-enginered grunt with low intelligence though cares for Chopra. They find the space station empty with no signs of its crew.

They soon encounter The Doctor and Clara who have just arrived themselves. The Doctor uses his psychic paper to pass them off as Engineering Stress Assessors. After introductions the group find themselves being chased by creatures made of a congealed sand-like substance (later called ‘Sandmen’ by Clara) that are not harmed by any of their weapons. Deep-Ando though finds himself separated from the others as they take shelter. As the others try to contact him, Clara is inadvertently dragged into a coffin-like pod.

Engineering Stress Assessors
Engineering Stress Assessors

Nagata though identifies the pod as a harmless Morpheus sleep pod, which is claimed to compress a whole month worth of sleep into a five minute period, allowing people to work, like herself, around the clock, though Chopra insists that the technology is unnatural and has refused to use it himself.

After freeing Clara they find, hiding in another pod, Morpheus' inventor, Professor Gagan Rassmussen who explains that it works by sending out an electronic signal to the brain, changing it to enable this process. He reveals that they were testing the next generation of the Morpheus devices when the Sandmen first appeared. The Doctor fears that they are a side effect, that the Sandmen creatures are made up of the dust that collects in the eye and, after consuming the host and other crew on the space station, are now after them. They find that the song associated with Morpheus, ‘Mr. Sandman’, lures the creatures to them. Meanwhile, Deep-Ando is killed while trying to escape the Sandman.

Chopra
Chopra

The Doctor, Clara, Rassmussen and the remaining members of the rescue team are unable to come to Deep-Ando's aid as they have problems of their own when the Sandman attack them at the same time as the space station's gravity shields fail, threatening to drag the space station into Neptune. Though the increased gravity causes the Sandmen to start to disintegrate, they are able to kill Rassmussen in the chaos.

The Doctor manages to restore the gravity shields, and before the Sandmen can react, The Doctor, Clara, and Nagata take shelter in a kitchen freezer while Chopra and 474 attempt to make it back to the rescue ship. 474 sacrifices herself to carry Chopra through a wall of fire created by the gravity shield failure, while Chopra eventually makes it back but is also killed by a Sandman waiting in the rescue ship.

In the freezer, The Doctor observes the Sandmen appear to be blind, and the three of them escape. Finding a moment's respite, The Doctor discovers through his sonic sunglasses that a variety of video signals have been transmitted, and shows these to Clara and Nagata, all depicting views from their points of view, except that there are no cameras to have taken these, nor any from Chopra's point-of-view. Instead, this is a result of being subjected to Morpheus, that it infects the user and consumes them from the inside. The Sandmen are able to use these signals, generated by those subjected to Morpheus, to hunt down their prey despite their blindness. The Doctor promises he can reverse the process in Clara and Nagata once they are back to the TARDIS.

Nagata
Nagata

Despite apparently being killed by a Sandman, when they return to the rescue ship, they discover Rassmussen there, along with a Morpheus pod he claims contains the first patient of the Morpheus process from five years prior. Rassmussen admits that his goal is to aid the Sandmen to leave the space station and get to Triton, from which they can infect the rest of the solar system. He also reveals that the failure of the gravity shield was planned to allow him to send the pod to the rescue ship without attracting attention.

Rassmussen then attempts to lock The Doctor, Clara and Nagata in a part of the rescue ship with the patient, now a Sandman, but The Doctor engineers their escape, and Nagata shoots Rassmussen before he can launch the rescue ship. The Doctor leads them all to the TARDIS, realising that the events that have happened are too choreographed to seem like a real danger. As they are surrounded by Sandmen, The Doctor deactivates the gravity shields, causing the Sandmen to disintegrate, and the three escape into the TARDIS as the station plummets into Neptune.

As the TARDIS departs, Rassmussen reveals in his narration that he had been a Sandman all this time and that all the events of the past few hours were engineered to tell a story that would keep the viewer enticed to continue to watch the recordings in order to transmit the Morpheus signal (disguised as glitches in the video recording) to them, thus assuring that the Sandman would spread to anyone that watched it, hence his duplicitous warning at the start. Rassmussen then disintegrates into sand as the transmission ends.

 
Deep-Ando
Deep-Ando
474
474
The Doctor and Clara
The Doctor and Clara
Morpheus Sleep Pod
Morpheus Sleep Pod
 
Morpheus
Morpheus
The Sandmen Attack
The Sandmen Attack
Reduced to Dust
Reduced to Dust
Dust to Dust
Dust to Dust




Quote of the Story


 'Shakespeare. He really knew his stuff. They all did. The ancients, the poets. All those sad songs, all those lullabies. Sleep is essential to every sentient being in the universe. But to humans - greedy, filthy, stupid humans? It's an inconvenience... to be bartered away!'

The Doctor



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Release Information

FormatTitleRelease Date (UK)Code NumberCover ArtRemarks
Video
DVD
Doctor Who Series 9 Part 2 Box SetJanuary 2016BBCDVD 4084Photo-montageDVD boxed set containing 4 stories
Video
Blu-Ray
Doctor Who Series 9 Part 2 Box SetJanuary 2016BBCBD 0331Photo-montageBlu-Ray boxed set containing 4 stories
Video
DVD
The Complete Ninth Series Box SetMarch 2016BBCDVD 4066Photo-montageDVD boxed set containing 8 stories plus the 2014 & 2015 Christmas Specials
Video
Blu-Ray
The Complete Ninth Series Box SetMarch 2016BBCBD 0327Photo-montageBlu-Ray boxed set containing 8 stories plus the 2014 & 2015 Christmas Specials
Video
Blu-Ray
The Complete Ninth Series Box Set (Limited Edition Steelbook)March 2016BBCBD 0357Photo-montageLimited Edition Blu-Ray Steelbook boxed set containing 8 stories plus the 2014 & 2015 Christmas Specials
Audio
CD
Original Television Soundtrack - Series 9April 2018Photo-montageMusic by Murray Gold


In Print

No Book Release
Doctor Who Magazine - PreviewIssue 493 (Released: Winter 2015/16)
Doctor Who Magazine - ReviewIssue 494 (Released: January 2016)
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of FictionIssue 524 (Released: May 2018)

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Peter Capaldi
The Twelfth Doctor

   

 
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DVD Part 2 Box Set
DVD Part 2 Box Set

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VIDEO
Blu-Ray Part 2 Box Set
Blu-Ray Part 2 Box Set

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

BBC
VIDEO
Original Television Soundtrack Cover
Original Television Soundtrack Cover

BBC
AUDIO
   


Magazines

Doctor Who Magazine - Preview: Issue 493
Doctor Who Magazine - Preview: Issue 493

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - Review: Issue 494
Doctor Who Magazine - Review: Issue 494

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of Fiction: Issue 524
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of Fiction: Issue 524

Marvel Comics
   

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