Nightmare in Silver was the twelfth and penultimate episode of series 7 of Doctor Who.

This adventure introduced a dramatic evolution to the Cyberman race that replaced the previous design they had maintained since their return in Rise of the Cybermen, employing a multitude of new abilities, including that of being able to convert species other than humans, this effectively reintroduced the Cybermen of the Doctor's universe for the first time since the series started back in 2005, their first television appearance since Silver Nemesis 25 years prior. Likewise, the Cybermats evolved with their progenitors into a more compact form known as Cybermites. Additionally, the Cybermen utilised a Cyber-Planner for the first time onscreen in the revived series, last seen in The Invasion. The episode also saw the introduction of "Cyberiad", the collective consciousness of all Cybermen. It also saw the Cybermen become much more efficient and deadly, being able to almost instantly adapt to weaknesses; they also overcame their weakness to gold.

Unknown to the viewers at the time, the Doctor's threat to purge Mr Clever from his body through regeneration was a lie. Similar to the The Twin Dilemma with character Azmael, the Doctor had no regenerations left.

It also marks the second time on-screen that the Doctor has allowed children inside of the TARDIS, due to them being associated with one of his companions. He previously had done so in his previous incarnation with Sarah Jane's companions in The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith when they asked to take a look inside the time machine.

This episode also allowed actor Matt Smith to undertake a dual role as the Eleventh Doctor gained an evil Cyberman alter-ego, Mr Clever.

Synopsis Edit

The Eleventh Doctor takes his companion, Clara Oswald, and her wards, Angie and Artie, to the biggest amusement park, Hedgewick's World of Wonders. The theme park is empty, occupied by a "punishment platoon" and a lone impresario with empty Cyberman shells as exhibits. The Doctor decides to stay a while, however, to investigate strange insect creatures that are roaming the park. But these insects are really machines seeking to convert the life forms on Hedgewick's World into the newest generation of the ever-upgrading menace...

Plot Edit

The TARDIS lands and the Eleventh Doctor, Clara, Angie, and Artie Maitland step out. The Doctor welcomes them to Hedgewick's World of Wonders, the biggest and best amusement park ever. Angie points out that he messed up; it's pretty obvious they're on the moon. However, the Doctor tells them it's not the moon. Artie asserts again that it looks like it. Suddenly, a rock opens and a short man in a top hat peeks out. He asks if they are his ride from Dave's Interstellar Taxi Service. They deny it, prompting the man to note that the service was supposed to come months ago.

A shout goes up and the man disappears. A military platoon comes storming out and demands identification from the travellers. The Doctor flashes his Golden Ticket, and when that doesn't work, whips out the psychic paper. The captain recognises him as the Imperial Consul, and asks for news of the Emperor. The Doctor tells her that he hasn't heard anything more than she has; from this, the Doctor learns that the Emperor has vanished. The Doctor dismisses the platoon, and the top-hat man comes out again.

The man leads them into the desolate, formerly grand amusement park, and then into his attraction: Webley's World of Wonders.He introduces himself as Impresario Webley, and shows them his waxwork attractions of beings. He asks Artie for a game of chess, and leads him to a chess board, explaining that "we destroyed them 1000 years ago, and now he's back to destroy you. Behold the enemy!" Webly pulls a sheet of the other side of the table, revealing a Cyberman powering up. The Doctor yells for everyone to get down.

However, Webly smiles and assures them that it's completely harmless. He cites his display as "the six hundredth and ninety-ninth wonder of the universe", and a master at chess, despite the fact that it is an empty shell. He offers five Imperial shillings for a penny if Artie can beat the Cyberman at chess. Artie offers a sandwich, and Webley accepts. He shows that the shell is free of all devices. Webley offers a silver penny to Angie if she can figure out how it works. She guesses that it's done with mirrors. The Doctor deduces that it's being controlled by a man inside the box, named Porridge, and Webley gives Angie a silver penny.

Webley shows off the rest of his Cyberman collection, as well as a wax figure of Emperor Ludens Nimrod Kendrick Cord Longstaff XLI, Defender of Humanity and Imperator of Known Space. The adults lead the kids off to the Spacey-Zoomer ride. The Spacey-Zoomer ride turns out to be an anti-grav ride, letting the children fly and float around. Clara wants to get the kids home, but the Doctor doesn't want to leave. He finds "funny insects" that he wants to investigate, and forces everybody to stay longer. The kids crash on couches in Webley's house, and adults go off, with the Doctor warning the kids not to wander off. The terrified kids settle into the couches.

Webley resets his chess board while eating the sandwich he won off of Artie. Suddenly, the Cyberman grabs him and Cybermites begin upgrading Webley. Meanwhile, Angie declares the future to be stupid, complaining that there isn't even phone service. She leaves, despite protests from Artie, as the insects crawled over Clara's phone. Elsewhere, Porridge explains the Cybermen to Clara. He tells her of the Tiberian Spiral Galaxy, which had to be blown up to destroy the Cybermen. Porridge comments that he feels like a monster: instead of mourning a billion trillion deaths, he feels sorry for the person who had to press the button. The Doctor interrupts and asks Clara if she told Angie she could go to the barracks. Clara realises that Angie had wandered off. In the barracks, the platoon are trying to fix their systems, when Angie appears. The captain asks Angie where her sister was. Realising that she meant Clara, Angie denied that they were sisters, calling Clara stupid and saying she was talking to Porridge (the captain mistaking this as Clara talking to real porridge). The captain pulls Angie off for a talk.

Cyberman Nightmare

An improved Mondasian Cybermen.

Meanwhile, Artie wanders off, looking for a light switch. He finally finds the lights. Suddenly, one of the Cybermen suits abducts him. At the barracks, Angie is telling the captain about Porridge when Clara storms in. Without warning, an upgraded Cyberman appears in the doorway. The Cyberman, able to move faster than their eyes can follow, captures Angie and escapes. Clara tries to go after Angie, being stopped by the Doctor. He promises that he will get her back. The Doctor invokes his "power" as "Imperial Consul", stripping the captain of her rank and giving it to Clara. He tells Clara not to let them blow up the planet, to get to somewhere defensible, and to stay alive.

The Cyberman brings Angie to a room, where she finds her brother controlled by a Cyber earpiece. She attempts to get his attention; he responds in an electronic voice that she should wait to be Upgraded. Seeing Webley shushing her, Angie screams in terror.

Meanwhile, Clara, in her new role as commander, scrounges up all their resources to build an offence against the Cybermen. They decide to move to Natty Longshoe's Comical Castle for defence. The captain informs Clara that the platoon can deal with one Cyberman, but there are protocols that they must follow if they cannot find and destroy it: specifically to blow up the planet. Clara rejects this and orders the platoon to move to the castle. When asked if she trusts the Doctor, Clara confirms that she does; but when asked if she thinks the Doctor knows what he's doing, Clara retorts "Not sure I'd go that far."

The Doctor returns to where he left the children, finding them missing. He spots a cyber insect on a display. Regarding it, he informs whoever is watching the feed that the children are under his protection, and he is coming to get them. Then he informs the machine that "[it] is beautiful!", sonics it, and studies it. He uses the sonic to tune into the local transmat, bringing himself to the children. He realises what has happened to them and Webley. His brain fully converted, Webley speaks for the Cybermen. He informs the Doctor that they needed children, and declares him the "saviour of the Cybermen".

The platoon approaches the castle, and the captain tries to convince Clara to blow up the planet. Clara declares that the only reason she was alive is because she listened to the Doctor.

Webley tells the Doctor of the Cybermen. As the battle raged between humanity and the Cyberiad, they built a bunker to repair their damaged units. They needed children's brains to build a new Cyber-Planner, as a child's brain has infinite potential. However, now that the Doctor is there, they have no need of the children; a Time Lord has a brain filled with more potential than mere children. The Doctor scoffs, telling them that they can only convert humans. Webley tells him that that is no longer true; thanks to the Cyber-Wars, the Cybermen were forced to learn how to bypass their limitations of assimilating only humans into their fold..

Webley throws Cybermites on the Doctor, which incorporate him into the Cybernetwork. He becomes the Cyber-Planner, with non-human brain power to dream up ideas to strengthen the Cyberiad. He takes stock of his body, noting the unfamiliar systems and remarkable brain power. Finding the title "Cyber-Planner" dull, it inside calls itself "Mr. Clever." Inside the Doctor's mind, the two meet. Rather in a Jekyll and Hyde manner, the two wage war for control, the Cyber-Planner using his memories to torment the Doctor.

The Cyber-Planner finds delight in his cleverness, realising that there is information on the Time Lords available. The Doctor blocks it all but information on regeneration. He threatens to regenerate right then and there, to burn out the Cyber-Planner. He doesn't want to, unsure of what he'll end up with next, but acknowledges that he could do it. The Cyber-Planner declares a stalemate, concluding that they are too well balanced. One must take over. Each controls 49.881% of the brain, leaving .238% unclaimed. The Doctor challenges the Cyber-Planner to a game of chess; winner takes all. If the Cyber-Planner wins, he gets the Doctor's mind. If the Doctor wins, he gets his mind back, the children are freed, and nobody dies.

Missy takes guard of a corridor. She notices a shadow, and reports it as possibly a Cyberman. The Cyberman detaches its hand, which crawls over to Missy and drags her out of her hiding place. Back at base, the platoon realise that the Cyberman is on its way. Clara demands to be shown all weapons. There is only one anti-cyber gun. She is shown hand pulses, which are able to disable a Cyberman on contact. Finally she is shown the weapon which can implode the planet. Clara takes the remote control from the captain, but the captain informs her that the fallback voice-activation is set to respond to her voice only. Clara orders her to detonate the device only when she directly orders her to. The captain challenges Clara's command, but Clara asserts her authority with Porridge's help and signs for the remote control.

The Doctor and the Cyber-Planner begin their game. While they play, the Cyber-Planner asks the Doctor why the Cyberiad has no record of him. He then realises that the Doctor purposely erased himself from history, noting that he could be reconstructed from the holes he left. The Cyber-Planner rails against him, telling the Doctor that he cannot win against him. The Doctor counters with his knowledge of early Cybermen. Their codes can be scrambled by cleaning fluids and gold. The Cyber-Planner laughs: "That's your plan? Cleaning fluid?" The Doctor replies in negative, slapping his Golden Ticket on the the metallic growth on his face, temporarily scrambling the circuits. He comes back to himself, collects the chess board, and brings the children and Webley to another room.

The captain and Porridge are discussing a secret regarding Porridge. She talks about guarding the old Emperor, and how she knows. Clara interrupts, asking why it was necessary to blow up a whole planet just to get rid of one Cyberman. Porridge says there are ways to kill a Cyberman, but they don't always work. Blowing up the planet is the only surefire way to do it. The captain says that she was sent to the punishment platoon because she didn't follow orders, and that she can make up for it now. She declares that she will do what she was born to do: fight for the Empire. She begins to voice-activate the weapon but is shot by a Cyberman. Clara decides to go on the offensive, otherwise facing death. The platoon mobilises with hand pulses and the anti-cyber gun. The members of the platoon launch sneak attacks on the Cybermen, with limited success.

The Doctor approaches the castle with the children and Webley in tow. Clara comes out with the anti-cyber gun and the Doctor greets her. The Doctor rattles off his news: he kidnapped the Cyber-Planner, which is in his head. The kids are in a walking coma, which he may or may not be able to correct. There are more Cybermen active, and the Cyber-Planner is installing a gold patch. He asks for a table and for somebody to immobilise him.

Once tied up, the Doctor removes the gold sheet from his face; either of his own will, or because Mr. Clever managed to bypass gold weakness. The Cyber-Planner reemerges, taunting Clara. As the Cyber-Planner continues to rattle on threats, the Doctor moves his hand, writing "HIT ME!" on the notepad beside the chess board. Clara obliges, smacking him; the Doctor explains that a sudden shock to his nerves is what he needed to get back control. Clara demands to know the stakes.

The Doctor explains, going on to state that being evil, the Cyber-Planner will probably break his promise if the Doctor wins the chess match. Clara begs the Doctor to fix Angie and Artie. He says that they're just in standby mode. When Clara protests, the Doctor says the children have more a chance getting out this situation alive than she does. Taken aback, Clara asks which of the two personalities said that. With a smirk, Mr. Clever states it was him. He threatens her immediate death, and she leaves to prepare the platoon for the coming onslaught.

Clara discusses their weapons, which are minimal at that point. Spotting a cable, she cleverly devises a plan to electrify the water in the moat. They drop the cable into the water, turn on the power, and raise the drawbridge to force the Cybermen to cross the water.

The Doctor's game continues. Inside his mind, the Cyber-Planner awakes the legions of Cybermen hidden in the barracks. Inside the citadel, the platoon prepares their defence. The Doctor calls for Clara, and she goes to check on him. The Doctor cheerfully asks her for a rundown on their weapons, with keen interest in the planet-imploding bomb. She shows him the remote trigger, which he tries to take possession of. She snatches it away from him, suspicious of who really is in control. The Doctor says the Cyber-Planner is hibernating, but Clara doesn't buy it. She tells him to tell her something only the Doctor knows. Looking rather sincere, the Doctor begins to tell her that he is falling in love with her. He moves to kiss her, but Clara slaps him again.

The Doctor comes to himself, asking Clara how she knew. Clara that's even if what Mr. Clever said was true about the Doctor; the Doctor himself would never say those things. Clara tells him to finish the game, and the Cyber-Planner grabs her hand, wresting the remote control from her and destroying it. The Doctor is grim, but is overtaken once more; Mr. Clever states that without the threat of the planet blowing up to deter them, he can now order the Cybermen to attack.

Clara and the platoon ready their attack with the five hand pulses and the nearly empty anti-cyber gun. The Cyber-Planner declares endgame and moves to finish the Doctor. The Cyberarmy begins to assault the castle. One steps into the moat and is apparently electrocuted. The platoon celebrates, but then the Cyberman upgrades itself. The patch is spread through the ranks, and the Cybermen continue onward. Clara gives orders to defend the castle, and tells Porridge to keep himself safe. Two soldiers shoot down the first Cyberman, but balk as more come through. Porridge grabs the bomb, muttering that he should have destroyed the planet when he had the chance.

The Cyberplanner taunts the Doctor, offering him one more deal. If the Doctor sacrifices his queen, the Cyberplanner will release the children but win the game in five moves and take the Doctor's mind. The Doctor accepts the deal and Angie and Artie are released. The Doctor appears to have lost, but the children are free. The Cyberplanner taunts him once more, telling him how foolish he was to have pointlessly sacrificed himself for two human children. He mockingly asks the Doctor if he thinks that the death of the children will affect his relationship with Clara. Webley moves to kill the children, but Porridge slaps a hand pulse onto his leg and kills him. Angie awakes and the Doctor tells her to look after Artie.

The platoon are losing the battle. They are out of weapons, and the Cybermen's continual upgrades are proving to be more than a match for the ragtag soldiers. The Doctor taunts the Cyber-Planner, telling him that sacrificing his queen was the best move he could have made. The Time Lords invented chess, and the Doctor has cleverly set up a trap that will give him checkmate in three moves. The Cybermen appear to be overwhelming the platoon, but as they are about to deliver the killing blows, the Cyber-Planner pulls in their resources, giving him extra processing power to figure out and counter the Doctor's strategy. It saves the lives of Clara and the rest of the platoon, but puts the Doctor at a serious disadvantage.

As the platoon makes their last stand, the Doctor initiates his endgame. Move One: Turn on sonic screwdriver. Move Two: Activate pulse. Move Three: Apply pulse. With some resistance from the Cyber-Planner, the Doctor slaps himself with the hand pulse and destroys the Cybercircuitry in his body. "That's cheating!" Mr. Clever yells. Once free, the Doctor states that he was just pulling the resources like Mr. Clever was.

Clara rushes in to find the Doctor completely back to himself and unties him; the Doctor explains that when expelled from his body, Mr. Clever is now in every Cyberman. The Doctor decides that they need to blow up the planet to destroy the Cybermen. This seems impossible since the captain is dead, but Angie deduces that Porridge can voice activate it, since he is the Emperor. The statue was made taller than he actually was but his face matches that of it and on the coin. Porridge reluctantly admits that Angie is right, but states that he hates his job and if he activates the Desolator, its all over. Confronted with the reality of the situation, Porridge reluctantly activates the Desolator which will blow in about 80 seconds. However, the activation by Porridge has signaled the Imperial Flagship which transmats everyone and at the Doctor's request, the TARDIS, aboard. As the group watches, the Desolator destroys Hedgwick's World of Wonders and presumably all of the Cybermen.

Porridge remarks that he liked being normal: not an emperor of a thousand galaxies, not lonely. Clara says that he doesn't have to be lonely, and he agrees, proposing to her on the spot. The Doctor attempts to interrupt, but is shushed by Clara, who prompts the Emperor to continue. Porridge makes a convincing argument, to which Clara declines gently. Angie calls her stupid for not saying yes, loudly declaring that one day, she'll be queen of the universe. Porridge pretends to threaten them with execution, before mirthfully telling them to leave.

The Doctor returns the children and Clara to their home, pondering Clara's identity once more. Back on the imperial ship, the Emperor asks if there was any Cybertech remaining. With the answer being no, the Emperor then flies his ship home — with a floating Cybermite blinking in the darkness of space.

Cast Edit

Crew Edit

General production staff

Script department

Camera and lighting department

Art department

Costume department

Make-up and prosthetics



General post-production staff

Special and visual effects


Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.

Uncredited crew Edit

Stargate Studios Edit

BBC Wales VFX Edit

References Edit

Alien species Edit

Cybermen Edit

  • The Cyber-Wars ended 1,000 years ago. The planet where Hedgewick's World is situated was used to hide 3 million Cybermen and repair them.
  • The "Cyberiad" refers to the collective consciousness of the Cybermen.

The Doctor Edit

  • Whilst under possession by the Cyber-Planner, the Doctor mimics the Ninth Doctor's accent and catchphrase of "Fantastic", as well as the Tenth Doctor's of "Allons-y".
  • In addition to his binary vascular system, the Doctor has a hyper-conductive nervous system and "remarkable brain processing power", according to Mr Clever. He also notices that the Doctor has had "ten complete re-jigs" (regenerations). In actual fact the Doctor has had twelve.

Clara Edit

  • The Doctor and Clara meet on Wednesdays for their adventures.

Games Edit

  • The Doctor claims that the game of chess was invented by the Time Lords.
  • Artie Maitland plays chess versus the "Cyberman" (Porridge) and accidentally commits a Fool's mate.

Story notes Edit

  • Clara asks "Can Cybermen fly?", with the answer being no. However, they eventually gain the ability to in Death in Heaven, where Missy's Cybermen are able to fly.
  • The working title for this episode was The Last Cyberman.[3]
  • Though not stated in the episode, writer Neil Gaiman revealed that he set Nightmare in Silver as taking place "a quarter of a million years into the future."[4]
  • The ending of the story, in which a lone Cybermite is seen drifting into space, having escaped the destruction of the planet, is reminiscent of the end of The Tomb of the Cybermen, in which a single Cybermat escapes from the tombs just before they are sealed.
  • Subsequently, the Cybermen exiting their tombs mirrors the cliffhanger of Earthshock Part 3 when three rows of Cybermen march towards the camera. It's also very similar to the scene where the Cybermen come out of their tombs in The Tomb of the Cybermen.
  • The Doctor also had a conversation with himself in another Cybermen-story. (TV: The Moonbase)
  • The Doctor threatens to regenerate to eliminate all traces of Mr Clever from his body, though it's later revealed that this was actually a bluff. (TV: The Time of the Doctor) However the Doctor could have been threatening to commit suicide, like Azmael. (TV: The Twin Dilemma)
  • The scene where Porridge operates a Cyberman exoskeleton in a game of chess is a homage to the Turk, an animatronic man that was purported to be a chess-playing automaton (an animatronic capable of completely independent motion). In reality, the Turk was operated from within by a human chessmaster, not unlike Hedgewick's "Cyberman." The Turk previously served as an inspiration for the television The Girl in the Fireplace and audio stories The Silver Turk.
  • This is the eleventh time the actor playing the Doctor has portrayed a different character in the same story - although in this case only, the Doctor and the other character physically inhabit the same body. Other doppelgangers previously were seen with:
  • When the Doctor lets Mr Clever access his memories on regeneration, the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth and Tenth Doctor are seen. Each image is taken from photograph stills used as promotional material during the respective actors' tenures.
  • According to "Behind the scenes...", the Cybermen were redesigned for this episode and got a variety of new abilities and features. These new Cybermen share several similarities with the Borg of Star Trek franchise - which were in turn originally based somewhat upon the Cybermen. The Cybermen's ability to adapt to attacks is reminiscent of the Borg from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Additionally, the Borg used nanoprobes to convert individuals, similar to the cybermites, and Webley's cyber-appearance is reminiscent of the Borg's "half machine, half human" face. And as of "Star Trek: First Contact" they, like these Cybermen, assimilated new members by use of something coming out of their wrists. Voice notifications for individuals to convert were also typical for the Borg and the Cybermen, both new and old.
  • The Cyber-Doctor says "Fantastic" like the Ninth Doctor, and says "Allons-y" like the Tenth Doctor.
  • The converted Webley tells the Doctor that the Cybermen had turned children into Cyber-Planners in the past because of a child's imagination. This mirrors the reasoning behind the Renegade Daleks' use of a young girl as their Battle computer in Remembrance of the Daleks.
  • This episode uses a camera technique known as "Bullet Time", popularised in the science fiction film The Matrix to frame out the high-speed movements of the new Cybermen, as shown in the "Behind the Scenes" featurette for Nightmare in Silver.
  • The Cyber-Planner makes its first appearance within the revived series. However, this is not the first time it has been incorporated into the elements of the revived timeline. Cyber-Planners previously appeared in GAME: The Eternity Clock.
  • This is the fourth time that an actor playing the Doctor portrays the primary antagonist of a story alongside their incarnation of the Doctor. The earlier instances occur in The Enemy of the World, Meglos, and Arc of Infinity (although the latter only included this development in the final episode).
  • This is the third consecutive series' penultimate episode where the Cybermen have been featured, after The Pandorica Opens and Closing Time.

Ratings Edit

Overnight viewing figures estimate that the episode was watched by 4.7 million viewers, rising to 6.64 million after calculating the final ratings, making it the ninth most-watched programme of the week on BBC One.[5]

Filming locations Edit

to be added

Production errors Edit

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.
  • When the Doctor was running to the castle, the gold ticket he used to shut down the Cyber-Planner is missing from his face. However, when he encounters Clara and the Platoon, the ticket is on his face again.
  • One of the Cybermen's chestplates is pushed up, most likely due to it being too short for the actor wearing it.

Continuity Edit

Home video releases Edit

Series 7b UK DVD Cover

Series 7, Part 2 DVD cover.

DVD Releases Edit

Nightmare in Silver was released as part of Doctor Who Series 7 Part 2 on May 22, 2013, and as part of The Complete Seventh Series on September 24, 2013.

Blu Ray releases Edit

to be added

External links Edit

Footnotes Edit

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