In a remote Scottish mansion, five bickering academics are
being haunted. Reluctantly they offer shelter to the Doctor
and his companions. Hex, already troubled by a nightmare,
is further disturbed by a whistling, hooded apparition. Meanwhile,
Ace tries to befriend the young housemaid, Sue, who prefers
to communicate through her disturbing toy rabbit. Then the
Promotional trailers are funny things, aren't they? Or maybe
it's just my reaction to them. I always know on a conscious
level that they are teasers edited together from only the
tastiest snippets of the production they are designed to publicise,
and yet I still allow them to get me all excited. I found
the trailer to this particular story very creepy and surreal-sounding
indeed, and was further unnerved by the cover illustration
of a battered-looking stuffed toy, Happy the Rabbit, which
brought to mind that larger-scale member of the family Leporidae,
the freaky Frank in Donnie Darko.
inevitably, Night Thoughts is not as weird or as spooky
as I had anticipated. During the first two (of four) episodes,
the only really unsettling thing is the guttural voice with
which the traumatised Sue (Lizzie Hopley) speaks while communicating
through Happy. However, things pick up considerably during
the second half of the story, which involves a macabre matter
with a long-dead corpse and some complex business regarding
changing the course of history (though possibly too many epilogues).
(Sophie Aldred), who attempts to befriend Sue, seems unusually
upbeat and free from emotional baggage (or refreshingly so,
depending on how you regard the development of this character
over the years). This is particularly remarkable when you
consider that Edward Young's script for this story was originally
submitted to the Doctor Who production office back
in 1989, when the old series was still on the air and Aldred
and Sylvester McCoy were the current TARDIS crew. Ace's relationship
with Hex (Philip Olivier) is developing nicely, though, like
a brother/sister thing involving lots of playful bickering.
is a good story for the still relatively new companion - second
only to the marvellous The
Harvest. Hex's medical expertise comes in handy
on a number of occasions.
From the new recruit to an old hand, Night Thoughts
also features the measured tones of Bernard Kay, who chalked
up several Who appearances back in the '60s and '70s,
Crusade and The
Dalek Invasion of Earth. Kay adds his usual
gravitas (what you might call "that Bernard Kay thing") to
his role as the dictatorial Major Dickens.
are my thoughts. 'Night.
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