Neil Gaiman is probably one of the most respected fantasy authors of our era, having created hits such as ‘Neverwhere’, ‘Good Omens‘, ‘Stardust’, and ‘American Gods’, just to name only a few. For science fiction, he is the man who penned one of the most beloved episodes of ‘Doctor Who’, “The Doctor’s Wife”, which features an anthropomorphized version of the TARDIS.
As such, there was a great deal of excitement when it was announced that he would be writing “A Nightmare in Silver,” but after its airing, it was clear that there was a fan favorite among the two, and it certainly wasn’t “A Nightmare in Silver.”
“My waiter in a restaurant recently came up to me and said, ‘Are you Neil Gaiman?’ I said yes. ‘I loved ‘The Doctor’s Wife’! ‘Nightmare in Silver,’ not so much, but ‘The Doctor’s Wife’ is so wonderful!’ and then I found myself being interrogated by a Japanese waiter in a sushi restaurant if I was writing for series nine! I think in a lifetime of writing things that people have liked, I’ve never done something quite so beloved as ‘The Doctor’s Wife.’ It’s funny now talking to Steven [Moffat] about it, because none of us knew it was going to be this beloved thing. I think Steven was dead-worried it was going to be too odd for ‘Doctor Who’ in a way… There were all these mis-steps we could’ve done just because there hadn’t been anything like it. But the only thing we were certain of was that, for it to work, it had to be the only time [the Tardis coming to life] ever happened. You couldn’t repeat it. And I think there is something in that that kind of powers it.”
Indeed, one only need search “Nightmare in Silver Review” in order to find just how mixed the reviews on the episode were. The episode had a charming concept, though, and it featured Clara and her two nanny charges, Angie and Artie, traveling to an extraterrestrial theme park, where they eventually stumble upon Cybermen. However, it’s clear from the majority of viewers, the plot fell flat. Or as the Radio Time’s put it, an “almighty Cyber flop”. Gaiman addresses this by saying:
“Nightmare in Silver is some people’s favorite but everybody, including me, thinks, ‘oh if we had another week, we could’ve changed this,’ and then you’re kind of stuck with it. I think there are things that could’ve been better, but I also think that the thing I wanted to do in ‘Nightmare in Silver’ I did: to show people that Matt Smith could act.
It was one of those things that fascinated me watching Matt, getting to know Matt a little bit: it was sensible people who should’ve known better assuming that the Eleventh Doctor was just Matt Smith, and I’m going, ‘No, that’s a part that he’s playing,’ and he’s an incredible, fantastic actor, who is, as the Doctor, capable of this enormous range, and yet there’ s a lot of stuff he’s not doing. So I thought, ‘wouldn’t it be amazing to have him go up against himself?’ Which is something that even though is a staple of sci-fi drama, is not something that’s ever happened in ‘Doctor Who.’ Even people who don’t like bits of ‘Nightmare in Silver’ love the ‘Matt Smith as [Cyber-Planner alter-ego] Mr Clever’ stuff.”
But what fans really want to know is whether or not Gaiman will be writing for the twelfth Doctor, Peter Capaldi. In a recent interview, he said that it won’t be for some time as he has a huge amount of work commitments. He did, however, leave a glimmer of hope, stating that “As long as Peter is Doctor Who, I will write for him”.
Source: Radio Times