9.9. Sleep No More

Series 9 - 2015 - 2016

Writer: Mark Gatiss
Produced by: Nikki Wilson
Director: Justin Molotnikov
Music: Murray Gold


Video footage has been found of events on the 38th century Le Verrier lab in orbit around Neptune. The footage has been compiled by Gagan Rassmussen, and he warns whoever finds it not to watch it. It cannot be unseen.

A small rescue crew has been sent from Triton to find out what happened in the lab, and to find Rassmussen, lead by Commander Jagganath Daikl-Nagata. They find the lab deserted and running on emergency power. Only red emergency lighting is available. The crew did find some strangers: the Doctor and Clara. The Doctor shows his psychic paper to Nagata and she thinks they are engineering stress assessors. Nagata tells the the Doctor that 24 hours earlier the station fell silent, and they were sent to find out why.

As they move through the dead station Clara has the feeling they are being watched. From a distance they hear groaning, and see a humanoid creature heading towards them. They manage to shut themselves into a laboratory, but the creature gets an arm inside. 474 barges the door and the arm is severed. But instead of just falling to the group it dissolves into a pile of sand.

During the rush Deep-Ando is separated from the group and starts moving through corridors to find them. As Nagata comes up with a rescue plan for Deep-Ando Clara looks at some of the equipment in the lab. She finds some Morpheus pods. Clara activates one of the pods and she is dragged inside. It only takes the Doctor a few moments to release her. Examining the other pods they find one that is not empty. Inside is Rassmussen.

When the Doctor asks Rassmussen about Morpheus he is shown a hologram presentation about Morpheus. The presenter explains that Morpheus condenses the whole nocturnal experience into a five minute burst. Using this a person could go months without having to sleep and continue working the whole time. Chopra and Clara are against the idea of Morpheus, calling it disgusting, but Nagata supports it, and tells the Doctor that everyone on Triton uses it.

The Doctor is curious about Clara and Nagata, who have both used Morpheus, and says they need to find Deep-Ando. He has a theory that the creature they encountered is actually made of sleep dust. The more Morpheus is used the more the sleep dust build up. This could explain what happened to the rest of the crew.

Trying to find his way through the station Deep-Ando has trouble getting through a door. After a party the crew reprogrammed the computer so anyone wanting to open door needs to sing the Morpheus Song. (Hey, Mr Sandman). With the creature gaining on him he whispers the song and the computer lets him into a room - and also one of the creatures. The others hear the screams, but they have other problems. The anti-gravity shields of the station fail, and the station starts to get pulled towards Neptune.

Using Nagata's helmet the Doctor projects a schematic of the anti-gravity system as more Sandmen appear. One attacks Rassmussen, but with G-forces increasing the Sandmen struggle to move. When the Doctor restores the gravity they quickly run to a cold-store. The Doctor, Clara, and Nagata, make it safely. Chopra and 474 run back into the station.

The Doctor, using his sonic glasses, hacks into the troops' helmet cams (Nagata tells him they don't have helmet cams) to review footage and to see what it is he is missing. It takes the Doctor a couple of minutes to realise what Nagata said about not having helmet cams.

The Doctor, Clara, and Nagata, manage to get past the Sandmen by letting them into the cold store. When he realises the can't see they manage to divert the Sandmen and escape from the room. Outside the Doctor show Clara and Nagata footage and tells them that in all the footage there is one thing missing: cameras. The dust is observing them, and the sandmen are blind because the "seeing" dust is being hijacked. Some of the footage is from Clara. She has the dust in her after using Morpheus. There is footage from everyone's viewpoint except the Doctor and Chopra - who refuses to use Morpheus.

Clara notices that the power situation is odd. There is emergency power, but some systems are still working, including the engines. The Doctor then sees that the gravity shields were deliberately turned off, and finds a space where a Morpheus pod had been keeping someone alive. On the rescue ship they find a Morpheus pod - and Rassmussen.

Rassmussen tells them the Sandmen have made him understand that the Sandmen are the future, and humans are to be their food. All he needs is a way to get them off the station - in the rescue ship. Rassmussen shows them another Morpheus pod which contains Patient Zero - the remains of a man who has not sept for five years. When the pod is opened a Sandman emerges.

With the rescue ship compromised the Doctor takes Clara and Nagata back to the TARDIS. There are more Sandmen waiting, and the Doctor causes the gravity shields to self-destruct. As he G-force increases the Sandmen dissolve allowing the Doctor, Clara, and Nagata, to escape in the TARDIS.

After they have left the video footage continues with Rassmussen explaining that there is no infection and are no spores. Morpheus is a signal that infects the brain. The signal is encoded in the footage that will be transmitted to the entire solar system.

Regular Cast

  • Clara Oswald: Jenna Coleman

Guest Cast

  • Rassmussen: Reece Shearsmith
  • Nagata: Elaine Tan
  • Chopra: Neet Mohan
  • 474: Bethany Black
  • Deep-Ando: Paul Courtenay Hyu
  • King Sandman: Paul Davis
  • Sandmen: Tom Wilton, Matthew Doman
  • Morpheus Presenter: Zina Badran
  • Hologram Singers: Natasha Patel, Elizabeth Chong, Nikita Chadha Gracie Lai

Original broadcast on the BBC

Channel Title Date Viewers Rating
BBC 1 (HD) 8. Sleep No More Saturday, November 14, 2015 8:15 PM - 9:00 PM 5.61M 78

Click here to show repeat broadcasts on the BBC


This episode does not have a title sequence. There is a scene close to the beginning showing a computer screen with different names - including Clara Oswald - which spell out DOCTOR WHO.

This episode is presented as found video footage shown from the perspective of different people.