Sleep No More
Doctor Who Logo 'Sleep No More'
(Story Code 9.09)

by Mark Gatiss
The Twelfth Doctor and Clara

“You must not watch this. I’m warning you. You can never un-see it.” – Gagan Rassmussen

A terrified scientist named Gagan Rassmussen records a video log that he has hastily assembled from different sources, to act as a warning to anyone who finds it; but the message itself comes with a caution: do not watch it

The Thirty-Eighth Century: a rescue mission has been sent from Triton to investigate why the Indo-Japanese laboratory Le Verrier in orbit around Neptune has gone silent. After the rescue ship docks with the station, Commander Nagata leads her team of Chopra, Deep-Ando, and the clone grunt named 474 through the dark, dusty corridors of Le Verrier; whilst they can find no sign of the crew they do find someone else: the Doctor and Clara, who are also exploring the seemingly-deserted station. Thanks to his psychic paper the Doctor convinces the soldiers that he and Clara are Engineering Stress Assessors; joining the soldiers, the two time travellers make their way further into the station and soon hear a strange roaring noise – and then come under attack from horrifying, lumpy, humanoid monsters. The Doctor orders everyone to run for their lives, but in the confusion Deep-Ando goes the wrong way and becomes separated from his team. The Doctor and the others reach the safety of a laboratory, but as they shut the door one of the creatures gets its arm through the gap; after a struggle the monster’s arm dissolves into sand, and the soldiers manage to close the door. The Doctor uses the station computer to analyse the sand, and learns that it is comprised of blood, skin cells and mucus. Meanwhile, Clara finds a number of large, box-like chambers, which the soldiers identify as Morpheus Pods. Clara gets pulled into one of the pods, which shuts her inside. A hologram of some singers appears above the pod, and they break into a rendition of ‘Mr Sandman’. The Doctor manages to open the chamber, and he wakes the sleeping Clara inside, helping her to remove the wires that have automatically attached themselves to her. Finding the last pod in the row also occupied, Clara persuades its resident to come out; hiding inside is Gagan Rassmussen, inventor of the Morpheus pods, machines that condense a whole night’s sleep into one five-minute burst, allowing users to carry on working all through the night. Chopra objects to the Morpheus machines changing brain chemistry, even though everyone on Triton us now using them. The Doctor congratulates Rassmussen on conquering nature and creating an abomination: thanks to the scientist’s meddling his new version of the Morpheus pods causes the sleep dust that people find in their eyes in the morning to evolve into a carnivorous life form, which has eaten the entire station crew… Elsewhere, Deep-Ando is alone, unable to contact his team over the radio, and on the run from the sleep-creatures. He tries to get inside a safe room, but the station’s computer has been reprogrammed after the last crew party, and now insists that he sing the Morpheus ‘Mr Sandman’ song before she will let him inside. Deep-Ando is forced to comply, but his singing attracts the attention of the sand creatures, who claim another victim… The Doctor, Clara and the other soldiers have their own problems: Le Verrier’s gravity shields have suddenly failed, and the station is now plummeting towards Neptune; then more sand-creatures burst into the lab, and kill Rassmussen. With the G-Forces increasing the sand monsters lose cohesion, and as they fall apart the Doctor uses Nakata’s helmet to access and bypass the station’s systems and re-route the grav-shields. As the space-station stabilises the Doctor, Clara and Commander Nagata escape to a nearby cold store, while Chopra and 474 race out the other exit. The two soldiers try to contact their commander, but when they get no response they resolve to return to their rescue ship and destroy the space-station. Sharing the cold room with a number of body bags suspended from the ceiling, the Doctor hacks the helmet-cams of the soldiers to watch footage of recent events. Ignoring Nagata’s comment that she doesn’t have a helmet-cam, the Doctor ponders that something odd is going on - why did the Sandmen directly attack Rassmussen? - but he then gets distracted by Clara naming the creatures as ‘Sandmen’. Then more of the creatures appear outside the room – and the Doctor decides to let them in…

(Rassmussen continues his message, noting that he is obviously not dead…)

Two Sandmen enter the cold room, unaware that the Doctor, Clara and Nagata are hiding inside the body bags; luckily the Doctor works out that the creatures cannot see, and so he, Clara and the commander are able to sneak past the Sandmen and lock them inside the store room. In another corridor, Chopra and 474 are stopped by an explosion that creates a wall of fire, caused when the station fell out of orbit. Obviously in love with Chopra, 474 knocks him out and carries him through the flames, badly burning herself in the process. When four Sandmen appear and begin walking through the flames towards them, the dying 474 tells Chopra to make for the ship while she holds off the creatures… Playing back the footage of events that is being recorded and saved, the Doctor points out to Clara and Nagata that there are no cameras in the station – each speck of dust is watching them, and the reason that the Sandmen cannot see is because something has hijacked their visual receptors. To her surprise Clara learns that she also has a visual feed, given to her by the Morpheus pod when its signal changed the chemical in her brain that altered the sleep dust in her eyes. The Doctor also notes that the grav-shields were deliberately powered down – but not by the Sandmen, and he has a nasty feeling who… Elsewhere, a Morpheus pod containing dangerous material glides through the space-station under computer control… Unable to contact his team, Chopra is forced to assume that everyone is dead, and that his only option now is to destroy Le Verrier; however, when Chopra enters the rescue ship he is attacked and killed by one of the Sandmen… The Doctor, Clara and Commander Nagata reach the rescue ship and find Rassmussen’s video log, which the Doctor describes as the scientist’s alibi for when he gets to Triton. Rassmussen emerges from hiding, seemingly still very much alive; explaining that the Sandmen speak to his mind, the scientist believes that the monsters are a better lifeform, and to save his life he has agreed to take them to Triton so that they can spread and wipe out all humanity. Rassmussen shows them that he has brought his original Morpheus pod into the rescue ship, which contains his very first client: a man who now hasn’t slept in five years, and who is full of sand spores. Nagara pulls a gun on Rassmussen, but the cowardly scientist opens the pod to unleash the Sandman inside, and then locks everyone inside the room. Distracting the creature with the Morpheus pod’s ‘Mr Sandman’ hologram, the Doctor directs Clara and Nagara past it and then locks the bulkhead door. Back with Rassmussen, the Doctor orders him to turn off the space-station’s engines – and when Rassmussen refuses, Nagara shoots him dead. With the Sandman breaking down the bulkhead, the Doctor contemplates how nothing makes sense – it all seems to be just for effect, like a story... The Doctor, Clara and the commander race back inside the space station, heading got the TARDIS so that they can reach Triton and destroy all the Morpheus machines; but when they reach the time-space ship they are surrounded by Sandmen. Setting Le Verrier’s grav-shields to self-destruct, the Doctor sends the space station falling towards Neptune; the increase in gravity causes the Sandmen to fall apart, allowing the Doctor, Clara and Nagara to escape in the TARDIS…

With the space-station falling to its doom, Rassmussen completes his video log so that he can transmit it to Triton. He confesses that there were no spores that turned people into Sandmen, it was just the Morpheus’ signal that triggered the change – and he has included it in his recording. Rassmussen deliberately orchestrated events to make his video log compulsive viewing, so that everyone would be compelled to watch it and thereby spread the contagion. But even Rassmussen is a lie: he is actually another Sandman that has taken his form. Before he can send his message the Sandman-Rassmussen crumbles away, as the gravity aboard Le Verrier increases. The space-station plummets to its destruction, taking the deadly recording with it…

Peter Capaldi (The Doctor), Jenna Coleman (Clara), Reece Shearsmith (Gagan Rassmussen), Elaine Tan (Commander Jagganth Dalkl-Nagata), Neet Mohan (Conscipt Osamu Alml-Chopra), Paul Courtenay Hyu (Conscript 2nd Class Haruka Deep-Ando), Bethany Black (Grunt 474), Paul Casey (King Sandman), Tim Wilton (Sandman), Mathew Doman (Sandman), Zina Badran (Morpheus Presenter), Natasha Patel (Hologram Singer), Elizabeth Chong (Hologram Singer), Nikkita Chadha (Hologram Singer), Gracie Lai (Hologram Singer)

Directed by Justin Molotnikov
Produced by Nikki Wilson
Executive Producers Steven Moffat and Brian Minchin
A BBC Wales production

TX (BBC 1 & BBC 1 HD):
14th November 2015 @ 8.15 pm

*Featuring the Twelfth Doctor and Clara

*This episode uses the medium of ‘found footage’ to tell the story

*For the first time ever in the show’s history there was no title sequence: after the first scene with Gagan Rassmussen the screen is filled with names, and the letters ‘DOCTOR WHO’ are highlighted amongst them

*The episode title ‘Sleep No More’ only appears at the start of the end credits, along with writer, producer and director credits