Doctor Who: Neil Gaiman sets the scene for Nightmare in Silver

An amusement park from hell and a chess-playing Cyberman feature in the latest adventure, with guest stars Warwick Davis and Tamzin Outhwaite...

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Doctor Who: Neil Gaiman sets the scene for Nightmare in Silver
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RT met Neil Gaiman, the writer of Nightmare in Silver, back in March at the BBC’s New Broadcasting House in London. Here’s an extract of that interview…

Neil, could you give us a non-spoilery encapsulation of the story?

Easily! It just stops at about minute three. The Doctor has been talked by Clara into taking the two kids she looks after, Artie and Angie, for an excursion, a day out, and he decides to take them to Hedgewick’s World, the biggest, best and most wonderful amusement park in the galaxy, a quarter of a million years in the future, because he has a golden ticket and it gets four people in for free, gets you free ice creams and it gets you to the front of any line, which is great because the lines for the Spacey Zoomer can go on for weeks. And that’s where it starts.

Unfortunately, it also starts with them discovering that Hedgewick’s World has been closed for several years and there’s almost nobody on it now except for a small army troop on manoeuvres and a mad old showman named Mr Webley who landed his spaceship there after it closed and is now there with a Cyberman that plays chess. That’s where it begins. This is also 1,000 years after the end of the big human/Cyberman war – where we won.

There are some well-known actors in the episode. Can you tell us about the characters they’re playing?

Jason Watkins plays Mr Webley, this wonderful, slightly alcoholic old showman touring the universe with a waxworks and a chess-playing Cyberman. Warwick Davis is his henchman, who is called Porridge. He’s affable, sweet and helps Webley and cannot wait to get off this planet.

Tamzin Outhwaite is a captain named Alice Ferren who’s in charge of the platoon doing troop exercises on an abandoned amusement park planet and as we discover, as the story goes on, it’s actually a punishment platoon. They’re all people who’ve got into trouble. She was sent there for disobeying orders. They’re not the kind of crack troop you’d want if it so happened that a Cyberman moves in – a new model Cyberman that we haven’t seen, who is absolutely lethal and hyper-intelligent.

• Read our interview with Neil Gaiman in this week’s Radio Times (published Tuesday 7 May).

• An extended version of the interview will be online at RadioTimes.com after Nightmare in Silver has aired on Saturday 11 May.